Carl Guzman

Greenback Capital Mortgage Corporation
201 837 6400

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September Newsletter

Finances - S.M.A.R.T.

What is a financial goal and how many of us actually sit down to create one for ourselves? While you take this time to think of ways to organize and clean out your home, mind and body, also take a minute to reflect on how you would like your finances to work for you. When creating a financial goal and thinking of what you want your financial future to look like, a good start is to understand the SMART goal technique.

SMART goals are goals that embody five distinct traits:

- Specific: Your financial goals should be as specific as possible in order to successfully achieve exactly what you want. Always include as much detail as possible. What am I striving for? How will I achieve it? Who does it involve? Why is it important to me? If getting out of debt is important to you, think about what debt you want to tackle. Is it credit card debt or student loans? Pick one and focus on that for your goal.

- Measurable: For a goal to be effective, it must be measurable. Define how much you will achieve by accomplishing this goal. A goal to "make a lot of money" is not helpful because you can't measure "a lot." Let's look at getting out of credit card debt. What does that mean to you and what does it look like? Saying "I want to reduce my credit card debt by $3,000" is a start to being measurable. How will you accomplish paying down that debt? Do you just "put a little extra in every month when I have that money?" Unfortunately, that may not work very well. You need to be specific and you need to be able to measure it. Figure out exactly how much extra you can pay every month towards your debt. Now you have a concrete figure. You know you need this amount every month. You can now work on ways to make sure you have this much to pay off your debt. This also breaks down your goal of paying your credit card debt into smaller goals that you can attain on a measurable frame. Now, you aren't focused on paying off all your credit card debt, which can feel overwhelming. You are viewing it as paying off a specific, measurable amount each month.

- Attainable: A big mistake we often make with goals, and one of the main reasons why we may fail to meet goals, is because we shoot for the moon with a goal we can't reasonable achieve. As you are creating your financial goal, ask yourself, "Can I actually do this? Is it really possible?" If you have made your goal specific and measurable, it should help in determining if your goal is attainable. It's also okay if your goal may seem slightly out of reach. That's the great thing with goals. We can always adjust them if we need. The point is that you are working toward something. Making a goal too easy to achieve means you aren't growing and changing something about yourself. Sometimes, we have to stretch and struggle to reach that goal. It can help you to be more of who you want to be rather than who you have been. If your goal is to pay down credit card debt, challenge yourself to rework your budget to be able to put that money toward your goal.

- Realistic: Setting realistic goals involves the methods we intend to use to achieve our goals. An example of a realistic goal might be, "I want to pay off my credit card debt of $3,000 by paying $300 a month for the next ten months." Is the $300 something you can work into your budget for putting toward that goal? A realistic goal must be in the realm of possibility for you.

- Time-Bound: This last element of SMART financial goals is really important. Effective goals are time-bound or timely. What does that mean? It means your goal will have a starting point, an end point and measurable time or milestones in between. Making your goal time-bound provides a framework for you to work within.
Time makes your goal more SPECIFIC: "I'll eliminate my credit card debt in ten months."
Time makes your goal more MEASURABLE: "I'll put X dollars away every Sunday and then pay N dollars on the 15th of the month toward my credit card bill."
Time makes your goal ATTAINABLE: "I can't pay $3,000 in 2 months toward my credit card debt, but I can afford $300 a month to put toward it."
Time makes your goal REALISTIC: "Is the time needed to attain this goal really the best use of time for me?"

This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

Your Home - Back into Habits

Now that school is back in Session, the kids are finally out of the house for hours a day, five days a week. Along with that, you may find yourself (as many others have) needing to get back into the workflow, after the summer's "life of leisure." So to bring that bounce back into your step, and bring out your already pre-existing work qualities, we have devised three ways that can help polish up those "good habits," whatever they may be.

1. Schedule your habits into your life: Give your habits a specific space in your life. There are two main options for making this happen:
- Put it on your calendar: Give yourself a time and place that it needs to happen.
- Tie it to your current behavior: Not all of your habits will fit a specific time frame, but they all should have a trigger that acts as a reminder to do them. The bottom line to this is: it might be nice to tell yourself that you're going to change, but getting specific makes it real, and gives you a reason and a reminder to get back on track whenever you slip up.

2. Stick to your schedule, even in small ways: it's critical to stick to your schedule, even if it's only in a very small way.
- It's not the individual impact of missing your schedule that's a big deal. It's the cumulative impact of never getting back on track. If you miss one workout, you don't suddenly feel more out of shape than you were before.
- The changes of these things makes a difference. It results in the impact of always sticking to your schedule and will carry you to long-term success.

3. Focus on what you can work with: Don't waste so much time focusing on what is withheld from you. This is especially true after you slip up and get off track from your goals.
- It's not easy, but I promise you that your life will be better if you choose to feel uncomfortable and make progress, rather than complain and make excuses. Shift your focus from what is withheld from you to what is available to you.
- It's rare that your circumstances prevent you from making any progress. You might not like where you have to start. Your progress might be slow and unsexy. But you can work with this.

Federal Reserve Board approves action by the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
Federal Reserve Board approves action by the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

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Don't forget

Important Dates:

September 2 - Labor Day
September 11 - Patriot Day
September 17 - Constitution Day & Citizenship Day

Words to live by
Live up to your potential instead of imitating someone else's.
- Martha Burgess

Thank you and have a great month!

Carl E Guzman, CPA, President, NMLS #65291
Greenback Capital Mortgage Corp., NMLS #5668
P: 201-837-6400
F: 201-837-8842

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