Blog | Personal development

New Year’s Resolution or Financial Freedom Goal?

Are you making a New Year's resolution for 2024?

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Summary

  • Without a solid plan, New Year's resolutions are destined to fall short

  • Set goals focused on financial freedom versus “resolutions”

  • The Triple-A Triangle is the framework you need to get your goals in order - and reach them


Are you making a New Year's resolution for 2024? Did you keep the one you made last year? If not, you are not alone. According to a study by driveresearch, conducted earlier this year, 38% of people in the U.S. surveyed stated that they made resolutions each year, while only 9% stick to them all year long. By February, 80% of resolutions are completely forgotten.

With these results, you may wonder whether or not it's worth it to make resolutions at all.

Holidays put finances into perspective

While many of you are happy to begin a fresh, new year full of possibilities, others of you are losing sleep over your shocking credit card bills from holiday spending. In fact, according to LendingTree, about a third of Americans just racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt between credit card purchases, personal loans and succumbing to “buy now, pay later” financing options. The findings also state that 65% of those with holiday debt never intended to go into the hole, while 57% are already going into the new year stressed about their holiday debt.

If you are part of this group, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, do what it takes to pay off your bills and figure out a plan so that you stop acquiring bad debt the rest of the year.

What’s the difference between good and bad debt?

Yes, as some of you new to Rich Dad may not know, there is such a thing as good debt (debt is not always a four-letter-word that can make your life miserable!). While the credit card debt you may have now from holiday spending is bad debt, good debt will most likely be part of your plan to reach financial freedom. And it’s easy to tell the difference depending on what the debt is for.

  • Bad debt is when you borrow money to purchase clothes, shoes, a car, and other things you consume.

    Once you purchase an item, that’s it. You may get instant gratification and enjoy your new purse, truck, big-screen television, etc., but your purchase does increase your cash flow. You must pay the debt yourself. This type of debt takes money out of your pocket (that’s why it’s known as a liability).

  • Good debt is when someone else pays it for you.

    This is when you use other people’s money (OPM) to purchase assets. For example, if you get a loan to start a business, you use the positive cash-flow from the business to pay off the loan. Or, when you purchase a rental property with a loan, your tenants’ rent covers your loan payments.

    Unlike liabilities, these purchases are assets because they put money in your pocket — when the loan payments are made and there is money left over from your investments, you create positive cash-flow.

But overall, when it comes to money, it’s better to:

Make financial freedom goals instead of resolutions

Every year at this time, successful investors sit down and decide what they are going to accomplish in the year ahead. But instead of creating New Year's resolutions, they develop solid goals for the upcoming months.

These include business goals, fitness goals, goals for their relationships, and other personal goals. Rather than just say they’re going to do something, they make actual plans and take action. This is one of the secrets to their success.

Make good debt a priority

If you are tired of struggling with bad debt, it’s a new year and the perfect time to make changes in your life. Remember, as written in the book, “It’s Rising Time!,” not all borrowed money is bad debt.

“It is what you do with the money that you borrow that makes all the difference.”

And if you have no idea how to obtain good debt, then it’s time to start your financial education. Acquiring good debt is just a matter of learning how to do it and taking action. Begin with the Triple A Triangle™ of Aspire, Acquire, and Apply. Set goals for this year and the future, get the knowledge you need and take action on what you learn. Then, next year at this time, maybe you won’t be paying off liabilities but cashing checks related to your assets!

So what is the Triple-A Triangle™? In short, it’s the framework you need for a successful resolution, broken into three stages. You start by having a vision, and creating a clear picture of the future. Then, the Triple-A Triangle ™ provides the direction to follow the actionable steps to reach your goals.

The Triple-A Triangle™

Aspire

This is the dream, the very clear vision of what you want. And it's much more than saying, "I want to be a millionaire."

It's what you will have once you reach your goal such as, "I will have the freedom to pursue my love of travel," "I will be able to contribute more to my favorite charity," "I will be able to spend valuable time with my children," etc.

Acquire

This is the education part of doing where you gather the information you need to take action. What do you need to study to reach your financial goals, and how are you going to get that information?

Whether it's reading a book, watching a finance video or television program, listening to an investment radio-show, or conducting some research online, set aside some time each day to increase your financial education and learn about money.

Apply

This is the stage where most people stop due to fear. But in order to reach goals and be successful, it is necessary to apply the knowledge you acquire and take action.

It's Rising Time!

The stages of the Triple-A Triangle are in constant motion. It's a lifelong journey of aspiring to do more, acquiring more information and applying more of what you've learned. And there is no better time to start than now.

After all, how many times have you or others said things like:

  • "I'll start my diet tomorrow."

  • "I'll stop smoking on Monday."

  • "I'll stick to a new budget after the holidays."

Well, instead of waiting for midnight to strike on December 31st, why not begin working on your goals right now?

What do you aspire to be and have?

How are you going to acquire the knowledge you need and apply what you've learned in order to reach your goals?

Success and financial freedom are waiting for you - no matter what your current situation is . It's time to take action and make your goals for the New Year a reality!

To access free, financial-education resources right now, check out the Rich Dad Community here.

Original publish date: December 15, 2011

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