Tips, tools for keeping New Year’s resolutions - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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Tips, tools for keeping New Year’s resolutions

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Posted: Friday, January 10, 2014 4:45 am

There’s something about the beginning of a new year that makes us feel like we have a new lease on life. Although many joke about the making and breaking of New Year’s resolutions, the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology released a study at the end of last year that showed those who made New Year’s resolutions were 10 times more likely to reach their goals than those who did not.

So what are the top New Year’s resolutions? According to the same study the top three New Year’s resolutions made are: losing weight, getting organized, and spending less/saving more. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the mortgage business is being able to help people reach their financial goals. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some “tips” on how to keep your New Year’s resolutions:

1. Nobody likes to lose so make your resolutions manageable. Even if one or two of your resolutions are going to be a challenge to achieve, by setting at least a couple smaller, more attainable goals you’ll gain confidence after a win or two that may carry over to your more difficult resolutions.

2. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Most people set too many goals and they’re facing a long list of daunting tasks. By choosing the most important goals and breaking big goals into smaller parts, you’ll feel less pressure. For example, if you know that saving $3,000 means setting aside $250/month, you’ll feel accomplished and motivated when you meet that goal in January rather than focusing on the $2,750 left to save.

3. Make a plan. It’s easy to set a goal, not as easy to make a plan. Yet, without scheduling in gym time, it’ll be hard to get there. Without analyzing your budget, it’ll be hard to see where you can save more. Make a plan and set times throughout the year to analyze what’s working, what’s not and make adjustments accordingly so that you can realistically achieve your goal.

Financial goals

I also want to share with you a few great tools that might help you as you’re considering your financial outlook for 2014.

1. Mint.com. This free, online tool created by Intuit also has a handy mobile app. It allows you to track your spending, savings goals and much more in an easy-to-use program. You can see your spending trends and more. If you’re comfortable sharing your online banking data with the program, it will download your transaction information directly from your bank account(s) and credit card(s) and do its best to auto-categorize spending patterns so you can track your spending with very minimal effort. See where you’re money goes, where you can cut back, and its goal setting tools are great for keeping you on track.

2. ReadyforZero.com. This is another online tool that helps you calculate the amount you’ll have to pay per month to reach a certain payoff date. Unlike a traditional loan calculator that tells you your monthly payments based on interest rates and loan term, Ready for Zero lets you set the date you’d like to pay off the debt and will calculate your monthly payments based on that. It also uses visual tools to help keep you motivated and focused on the end result.

3. CNN’s Money Tools found at money.cnn.com/tools. This site has some great calculators that can help you plan for retirement, anticipate college funds, purchase a first or move-up home and more.

4. Investopedia and Stocktouch. Two mobile apps for learning and managing the stock market for those newer to investing or just looking to expand or manage their portfolio.

5. Creditcards.com. From 0 percent balance transfers to 5 percent cashback bonuses, this site will let you search through hundreds of different cards that fit your credit profile to find out who’s making the best offer for your specific needs. Banks are always working to compete for your business. Although you may find that your current card(s) is the best there is, you may also find that you could be saving hundreds in interest with a balance transfer or accumulating cash back just for buying gas and groceries.

I hope that these tips and tools help you in preparing for a fantastic 2014.

• Brandon Moore is a senior mortgage banker (NMLS 258524) who resides in Ahwatukee with his wife and two boys. Reach him at (480) 222-8893 or BrandonM@ASmartLoan.com.

  • Discuss

Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing laura@keystonemontessori.com.

For more information, visit keystonemontessori.com.

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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