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This year, resolve to think small

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Every year, we make resolutions. We dream of all the goals we want to achieve and the objectives we want to accomplish. And every year, life gets in the way. We resolve this will be the year we get in shape, but our resolve freezes in the January cold. We pledge that this will be the year we get organized, but our goal gets lost among the clutter. We swear that this will be the year we start saving for retirement, but our budget runs short as bills loom large.

Soon, our resolutions fall aside as we try to keep up with the day to day. Our problems seem so big and our time so small. There is so much to do, so many problems to solve. What can we do? Where should we start? How can we even get started? Every year, our resolutions crumble and our problems remain.

This year, don’t try to solve the big problems.

This year, resolve to think small.

Yes, small. Small is beautiful. Small is doable. Small is possible.

If you want to save money, don’t think “I want to save for retirement.” Saving for retirement is a lifelong goal, not something you can do in a year.  Instead, start small. First, ask yourself if you have an emergency fund. Everyone should save at least 3-6 months’ worth of income for emergencies.  If you do not have any savings, 3-6 months of income can seem like a lot. Don’t try to save it all at once. Ask yourself what you can do.

Can you save 10 percent of January’s pay? Or maybe just $100 dollars?

Find an amount that you believe you can save. Every payday, take half of that goal amount and put it in a Savings account. Then, in February, ask yourself if you can increase how much you save. If you saved $100 in January, can you save $120 in February? That’s only $10 more per paycheck, $5 per week. It’s only one less fast food meal, one less trip to Starbucks. Think about the small expenses. Every time you cut back a little more, you can save that much more. Keep it up and soon you’ll have an emergency fund saved.

No matter what your goals are for 2014, know that every small step counts toward accomplishing your goal.


John R. Moreau is a product manager for Consumer Loans and Deposits at UMB Financial Corporation. He joined UMB in 2008. Moreau earned a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University and a Master’s in Economics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.