New Year, New Decade and New Strategy

Glenn Williams

Everyone loves a fresh start. We welcome the chance to review the successes of the past and make a plan to repeat them, while identifying mistakes to avoid in the future. That's one of the reasons we enjoy celebrating a new year.

And as 2020 begins, we have even more reason to celebrate: It's a new decade!

Think you can accomplish a lot in a year? As an investor, you can do so much more in 10 years. By planning far ahead, you can make real progress toward your financial goals.

[See: 7 of the Most Common Investing Mistakes.]

Here are three steps for making the most of the 2020s:

-- Start with a big vision.

-- Take action right away.

-- Use small wins to motivate you to big success.

Start With a Big Vision

A lot will happen to you and your family in the next 10 years. New children may arrive. You may purchase a new home. College educations may start and finish.

You may even retire.

To create a solid investing game plan for the next decade, expand your vision to include these potential life events and consider the financial impact they would have in the future. Then, make a list of your top financial goals for the next 10 years.

A long list of financial responsibilities can be intimidating. But remember: You've got a long time to make progress. Think about these opportunities as you set your goals:

-- Even small amounts you have in investments today could grow significantly by 2030.

-- Ten years allows you plenty of time to add to your investments and for your returns to compound.

-- If your income grows in the coming years, you'll have more money to invest for the future.

Take Action Right Away

If the opportunity ahead and your vision of your financial future excite you, allow them to motivate you to action. Don't think you've got unlimited time -- every minute counts. As soon as the celebrations are over -- and you've recovered -- start making progress.

One way to get going is to open an account for each of your financial goals. Think about a Roth IRA for retirement, a 529 plan for education and a money market account for emergencies and other short-term needs. Even starting with as little as $25 a month toward each of these areas will make a difference over a decade.

[See: 5 Reasons a Market Crash Is the Perfect Time to Buy.]

You can always increase your regular investments as your income increases, and you can add additional amounts as they become available.

At the same time, look for ways to reduce low-priority expenses and put that money to work for your future.

Let's be honest, we all have costs that add very little to our lives. Are your cable or satellite TV packages really worth what you pay? What about the movie and music streaming subscriptions you pay monthly? Gym memberships? How many skinny latte coffees do you really need each month? Could you have a nice meal at home instead of going out?

It's likely you have $25 to $100 per month of expenses you'd hardly miss. Investing those amounts each month for 10 years could be life-changing.

Use Small Wins to Motivate You to Big Success

Reaching your financial goals is never easy and may not always be fun. But you can do it. The best way to stay motivated is to start small and build success over time.

For example, start several small investment accounts with automatic monthly deposits. You'll see almost immediate success as your account balances grow over the first few months.

Achieving early growth may spur you to ask yourself, "How can I have more success faster?" And then you may find yourself increasing your monthly investments and looking for extra money to add as well.

You'll also be motivated to look for better investments. Savings accounts, certificates of deposit and even money market funds at record low interest rates are not your friends when you have a 10-year time horizon. Look for professionally managed investments like mutual funds for savings goals that are more than three to five years away.

Remember, 10 years is enough time for things to go wrong. So, be sure to protect yourself and your family by insuring your most valuable assets: your home, your car and, most of all, your income. Find the right amount of term life insurance to provide your family with money in the event of the loss of a breadwinner.

While becoming properly protected with life insurance is an expense, it's a small price to pay to make sure your financial game plan is not permanently disrupted by loss.

A new year is a great opportunity to improve your life. A new decade can change the course of history for your family. Take advantage of it.

[See: Stop Believing These 7 Investing Myths.]

Disclosures: Primerica is not responsible for, and does not endorse or otherwise adopt, any third-party content hyperlinked or advertised from this article, which may include information about products and services that are not relevant or applicable to or offered by Primerica or its financial representatives. In the U.S., Primerica offers securities and advisory services through PFS Investments Inc., 1 Primerica Parkway, Duluth, Georgia 30099-0001, member FINRA.