It's all about planning when it comes to setting goals for 2023

How you can help your clients with their financial plans for the year ahead

Our 2022 Fidelity Financial Independence Survey* found that one in six women surveyed felt that they are struggling with their financial situation. 

Now more than ever, many women are feeling the crunch. In a time with huge pressure on living costs, Australian women are still on average earning 14.6% less than their male counterparts1

“If I think to my own financial situation, as a mum of two boys, I am constantly looking through our budget on a week-to-week basis and seeing if we’re doing OK,” says Lauren Jackson, sales director at Fidelity. 

The good news? The Survey found that seven in 10 women are highly motivated to achieve their financial independence and furthermore, two in three say that they would like to take more control of their financial future but are not sure what to do from here.

So, given the array of resources available to help women feel confident in financial literacy, why are so many still unsure of where to start? As we head into a new year, now is the time to turn your clients’ uncertainty into action with the tools to start planning.

“If I didn’t plan, I would feel completely in trouble,” said Lauren. Here are our top planning tips to share with clients.

1. Create SMART goals

Planning doesn’t mean living frugally…all of the time. The beauty of planning means that just because you may have a large long-term goal, such as saving for a home deposit, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your other short-term goals, such as a holiday next year, for it to happen. 

In fact, it makes sense to create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) goals which will help you focus on precise short-terms goals, rather than starting out the new year with a stretch goal like ‘save more money’. Creating and implementing SMART goals will provide the clarity and focus required to get the most out of your efforts.

One of the best ways to create and manage SMART goals is through utilising tools and apps. The Ladies Finance Club has a free dedicated page with the best resources to cater to a multitude of savings goals including building a budgeting template, paying off debt, saving for your super, travelling, and even meal prep planning.

2. Plan within your means, not someone else’s 

Remind yourself that everyone is unique. If you earn $80,000 a year, it’s not realistic to set a goal of saving $70,000 a year. Before you can establish your SMART goals, take into consideration life’s necessities: food, water, electricity, gas, internet, housing, car etc. Perhaps that $70,000 you want to save is a 5-year goal.  If you currently have debt, aim to work at easing this in the first instance. Consider outstanding payments on a credit card and allocate repayments here rather than to that new appliance you might have your eyes on.

Be realistic when planning for the new year. Planning won’t help to immediate alleviate all potential financial concerns, but it will help you feel more in control of your finances which in the long-term, will help you feel more financially independent.  

“If I didn’t plan, I would feel completely in trouble.”

3. Set aside time to keep on track and don’t lose sight of the big picture

It’s easy to feel motivated when goals are set in December, but come February, you may lose sight of your good intentions because let’s be real, budgeting may not be the most riveting task. 

Keeping on track is crucial so find a small amount of time each month to review your goals and track progress. Check-ins will not only remind you of your goals but will also give you the chance to reassess any changes you may need to make. 

For instance, in these times of uncertainty, the $150 per week they budgeted to groceries might in fact be more like $200. There is no point in focussing on the feeling of disappointment when things don’t go exactly to plan, but it’s key that they realign and keep on track overall. 

“It’s important to let go of the things that aren’t working,” said Lauren. “If you are reviewing your goals often, you should have scope to modify where needed to make sure that overall, you are achieving what you set out.”

4. Set up a regular savings plan - every little bit counts! 

Finally, creating a regular savings plan is a great way to start building your wealth. Putting aside consistent amounts every month helps take the guess work out of savings and puts you on the path to long-term financial stability.

Learn more about setting up a regular savings plan

*The Survey sampled 2,017 men and women aged between 18-80 with varying financial and lifestyle circumstances.


1: Women + Money | Women & Money: Building Financial Futures (