Budgeting · March 04, 2021

5 Ways to Get Clarity in an Unclear Time

Here's an essential truth: banking isn't really about money. It's about people—their lives, ambitions and hopes for the future. Money is always a means to an end, never an end on its own.

That means your financial plan is really part of your life plan. Your financial plan is the vehicle that gets you where you want to go. But when times are uncertain, it's easy to wonder whether your plans—and you—are still headed down the right road.


Whether you're experiencing uncertainty in your own life or due to larger trends in your world, here are five things to keep in mind when reassessing your financial plans for the future.

1 Focus on things you can control

Don't spend your planning time worrying about big-picture issues you can't change. Instead, invest your energy in considering productive ways to make positive changes that will position you for success, despite any larger issues outside your control.

2 Set fewer goals

Tackling too many priorities at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive, which can make you feel guilty or even give up. Concentrating your energy—both mental and physical—increases the odds you will achieve your goals. So, prioritize your financial goals and focus on the most important ones first.

3 Make your goals achievable

Starting a business, reducing your debt, buying a home or retiring to your dream destination are major goals you can work toward, but they have to be broken down into actionable steps first. Create smaller goals that are specific and concrete to help you progress toward the larger ones.

4 Understand how you fit in

Your behavior, values and choice of goals all influence how you succeed. Give some serious thought to your unique interests and strengths and how they can help you be more successful in accomplishing your goals. Not only will this make your goals more achievable, but they'll feel more personal to you as well.

5 Don't think too far ahead—yet

Goals are rarely reached in one giant leap. Usually, we need to chart a course that leads us where we want to go. Think about what you can realistically achieve this year, next year and five years from now. Keeping your goals grounded and specific in the near-term will help you build a solid foundation for the long-term.

Where to go from here

Planning your future can seem overwhelming, but you don't have to do it alone. When you're ready to turn your life plan into a financial plan, talk to a trusted financial advisor who can help you get where you want to go.

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This information is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. First Citizens Bank (or its affiliates) neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.