I just set some goals for the year. Career goals, health goals, relationship goals, and of course financial goals.
When it comes to setting financial goals, often giving is an afterthought.
Set a goal for giving
I believe giving should be focused on throughout one’s life, not just at the end. Instead of giving when we have a little extra laying around, shouldn’t it be a priority that we plan for?
Saving 10%-15% for retirement is often a stated goal. Why not have a similar giving goal?
What is your goal for giving? Examples may include:
Give ____% of my income.
Give $____ away every week.
Help ______________ charity by volunteering _____ hours per month.
Notice this can be a monetary goal or a time goal. Just like every goal, keeping track of it is important. You can monitor yourself and measure whether you are actually achieving the standards that you set for yourself.
Incremental Growth is your Friend
Some would love to give 10% of their income away every month. But that may be difficult because of their current financial challenges. Don’t let that stop you from improving your current giving situation.
It is okay to start slow. The key is to start! Maybe 1-2% of your income is a realistic goal. Then you can work to increase it every year.
With our clients who are not saving enough we try to help them set a mindset of incremental growth. For example, they may only be saving 3% in their retirement plan now, but if they increase it by 1-2% each year they can get to their goal of 15% in less than 10 years. Many times this can be implemented when they get a raise in income so that the pain is minimized and the success rate increases. This type of plan is better than going 10 years of not changing things because they never get to the point where they feel they can afford to save more.
Why not take this idea and implement it with your giving?
Steps to implement
Step 1: Find out what you are currently giving. Try and figure out a percent of your income. If you don’t have good records, promise yourself to keep track from now on and go onto the next step.
Step 2: Set a giving goal. (i.e. “10% of our income”)
Step 3: Put together a realistic plan to get from where you are at and to your goal. Use incremental growth of at least 1% increase per year, if needed.
Step 4: Create a system to track your progress. Then monitor that progress over time.
Some say the best way to understand a person’s priorities in life is to look at how they spend their time and money. Most of us want to help others more. Create a goal for yourself today!