Make your dreams come true in 2010
Despite the doom and gloom predicted by analysts and the belt-tightening that's to become a matter of course this year, many Jamaicans still harbour hopes of achieving great things. For those who have dreams of buying a house, starting a business or just being able to afford the finer things in life, don't be deterred by the naysayers.
According to the possibility thinkers at the Jamaica Money Market Brokers, JMMB, 2010 is as good a year as any to begin that road to success. Client relations officer at JMMB Montego Bay Sheryl Brown cautions, however, that while dreaming is a good place to start, it's no substitute for sound planning. After all, no one ever achieved anything by just imagining success.
Pointing to the difference between dreaming and planning, Brown says they work together but seldom work one without the other. "Planning is an activity that requires careful thought and organisation. A plan should have clearly defined goals to be achieved within a set time."
She contends that on the other hand, dreams often require interpretation to make sense, and they have no timetable and no structure. Brown adds that an effective plan ought also to have alternatives to ensure success; and it must be achievable. "You can't say you want to buy a 2008 Mercedes Benz but you're only earning $50,000 per month," she asserts. Brown is quick to add that people should be encouraged to dream big, but insists that if those dreams are to become a reality, then one needs to plan carefully.
Drawing on her experience at the JMMB, Brown says people who are serious about success usually have specific goals that are realistic. More importantly however, she notes, that those goals are almost always backed by a sound budget and good old-fashioned discipline. "What we realise is that many people come in to us and they say they want a house, a car or any number of other things, but few have stopped to work out how they're going to achieve it," she says.
Brown notes that a budget sets the stage for the success of your plan. In itemising your income and expenses, you will begin to see more clearly how and when you will be able to achieve the goals you have set. Brown insists though, that doing a budget is more than just writing down how much you make and what you spend it on. "It's strategic and it will require sacrifice," asserts Brown.
So how do you create this all important budget? The JMMB client relations officer says it's best to get a professional to help you craft one that will match your short-term as well as long-term goals. Sheryl Brown stresses the fact that budgets need to be tailor-made, but highlights what she describes as one very significant element. "On the expense side you must ensure you have an amount set for savings and investments or as they say, the amount you plan to pay yourself."
According to her that figure should be between five and ten percent of your income. Brown also emphasises the need to include all one's expenses, including often overlooked items such as phone cards and trips to the nail salon.
"For us at JMMB, budgeting and financial planning are critical to achieving one's goals because it's going to motivate, it's going to drive your behaviour, and determine your attitude. But even more than that, it will allow you to make smart choices."
For more on how to create an effective financial plan for your success in 2010, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and the team at JMMB will answer online, in print and on air.
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