CLEVELAND, Ohio — The financial experts at Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People —or “ESOP” for short — say when it comes to your financial future, keep the resolutions in your rearview, and look ahead instead, by creating goals.

  • Financial experts at a Cleveland non-profit agency say focus on creating achievable goals instead of New Year's resolutions
  • ESOP says to start off with just a small goal —something you can accomplish
  • ESOP’s personal financial coaching sessions are free

“New Year's resolutions are usually broken, they don't set deadlines when it comes to New Year’s resolutions,” said Rachel Slomovitz, financial empowerment coach.  

ESOP provides individuals with the knowledge and tools they need to achieve financial wellness. The organization’s financial empowerment coaches work with their clients to develop  “SMART” goals.

“It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound,” said Slomovitz. 

They say in order to have “SMART” goals, people must take a good look at their finances first.

“They need to assess their situation… they need to know what income is coming in and what is going out,“ said Cynthia Walker, ESOP benefits specialist.

Keep track of every purchase, big or small. 

“People don't consider the small spending as spending, like an individual who may stop at one of the coffee shops every day on their way to work to buy a $5 cup of coffee, well that adds up over 30-day period,” said Walker. 

Using smart phone apps can help with that.

“It’s almost impossible to remember everywhere your money is going every day of a 30- or 40- or 60-day window. So, we usually support them, but we also challenge them to learn more about their own spending habits, if we're going to really work on some serious goals that are realistic,” said Robert King, financial empowerment coach.

Financial empowerment coach Keith Davis says don’t overwhelm yourself.  

“Start off with just a small goal —something that they can accomplish, because when they accomplish that goal, what that does is that it builds up that type of momentum moving into the next month and allows them to see that, hey listen, I can make these financial changes, I can reach my financial goals.” Davis said. 

Walker says if you want to see a surge in your savings, pay yourself first. 

“Pay yourself just like you pay your mortgage, like to pay your utility bills and any other expense, and that's how you can build your savings.  Your savings should be a part of your budget,” Walker said. 

Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.

ESOP’s personal financial coaching sessions are free. For more information, you can visit their website.