One stock you may not have heard about that was swept up in the stock-buying frenzy was Express, a mall retailer that perfectly profiled the small-cap stock that the Reddit forum, WallStreetBets, favored. This stock took off like a track star leaping off running blocks. Its 400% leap, startled Wall Street’s elite billionaire investors, causing them to appeal in desperation to the SEC to stop the Reddit-based retail investors from seizing the day with their unorthodox but perfectly legitimate crowdsource-like tactics.
If you wish you could have got in on the action when it was unfolding, then you should prepare yourself for something as spectacular happening again in the future by paying down your debt to a zero balance and setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. financial goals.
Paying Down Your Debt to Zero Balance
It may seem absurd to talk about paying your debts down to zero when you consider yourself lucky just to pay off even a small portion of your credit card balance every month. If you’re in this dicey situation, there is a way out that you may not have considered: Getting a consolidated loan. This is an unsecured loan that is substantial enough to pay off all your credit cards at once.
Repaying a consolidated loan is easier than paying off each credit card one at a time because you will pay a lower interest rate and only pay an amount that works with your budget.
Consumers can also use installment loans to build credit and reduce debt. These are short-term loans that can be repaid in small installments. You can receive up to $2,000 to pay off credit cards with the highest interest rates and pay the loan off in a more practical and affordable way.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goals
As you’ve probably guessed, S.M.A.R.T. does not refer to a more ingenious way of setting goals — although it is more multilayered than most goal-setting methods — but is an acronym. Briefly, S stands for “specific,” M stands for “measurable,” A stands for “actionable,” R stands for “relevant,” and T stands for “time-bound.”
While this goal-setting framework is often used by corporations to improve their bottom line, you can borrow it to improve your own personal finances. The reason it’s more effective than most goal-setting methods is that it forces you to clearly outline your aspirations, which, of course, increases your likelihood of achieving them.
Let’s take a closer look at how this goal-setting method can be used for financial goals:
- Specific: A specific goal is one that clearly states amounts, dates, and actions. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to plan what actions to take to achieve your goals. An example of a specific financial goal might be: “I will have $10,000 in my savings account by January 1st, 2022.”
- Measurable: You need to set a benchmark and decide on milestones on your way to achieving goals.
- Actionable: Decide on a course of action that will help you achieve your goal. For instance, if your goal is to save $10,000 in a year, an action step you could take would be to save $27.40 every day.
- Relevant: A relevant goal is realistic, measuring realism by past performance. For instance, you’re unlikely to make six figures within a year if you are currently only making $25,000 a year. A more realistic goal would be to make $50,000 a year, perhaps $25,000 from your current job and the other $25,000 from a passive income stream.
- Time-bound: A goal should have a deadline, otherwise it’s just a wish. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit your deadline, but trying to reach it will cause you to try harder and make more progress; and, if you don’t meet your deadline, simply said another one.
In summary, position yourself to have the money you need to jump in on promising future stock market investments by paying off all your debt and setting S.M.A.R.T. financial goals for the year.