Don’t quit on me now.

Last Friday was Quitter’s Day. Two weeks into the year, people are already quitting on their New Year’s resolutions.

Most give up by the end of the month.

At the beginning of the year, I shared three easy resolutions to help you meet your financial goals:

  • Save more of your income

  • Invest in quality companies

  • Learn something new every week

If you want a stress-free retirement, it’s more important than ever to build up a reliable income from investments.

You can’t rely on the government. At the rate Social Security is handing out money, it will run out and have to reduce benefits within a decade.

That’s why you need to save and invest more. The earlier you start, the easier it will be. Because your money will have more time to grow.

So today I’d like to share three tips to help you stick to your resolutions and meet your financial goals.

Three Tips to Help You Meet Your Financial Goals

1. Start small

It’s hard to make big changes to your lifestyle all at once. That’s one of the main reasons people quit.

So instead, start small.

One of my best investments ever hangs on the wall of my office. It’s a single share of Starbucks that I bought for just $15 in 2006.

Today it’s worth more than $180. And the dividends from that one share are enough to buy me a coffee every year.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to get started investing.

I like to get a Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks on my way to the office. It costs about $5.

That’s about $100 a month. Or $1200 a year. It doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up over time.

If I had invested my coffee money into Starbucks stock, that $100-a-month habit would now be worth over $25,000 since 2012 – the year Starbucks started paying a dividend. And it would be paying me over $600 a year in dividends.

2. Automate

Another reason people give up on their goals is that it takes too much effort. You can get worn out by having to think about doing something all the time.

But with modern technology, it’s easy to automate saving and investing.

You can use the tools your bank provides or your favorite financial app to set aside money for investing.

Then forget about it.

A 2014 study by Fidelity Investments found that their customers with the best returns were the ones who were dead. The second-best were the ones who had forgotten about their investments.

It doesn’t take a genius to grow your money. Time in the market is what will compound your wealth.

3.Track your progress

People often quit their resolutions when they feel like they’re not getting anywhere. Why put in the effort if it isn’t making a difference?

To keep yourself motivated, keep track of your progress.

Fortunately, with financial goals it’s easy to see how well you’re doing.

One word of advice though – don’t just look at the value of your investment portfolio. It’s easy to lose track of your progress that way as the market will go up and down.

Instead, keep a log of your income from investments. If you’re building a portfolio of high quality dividend paying companies, your dividend income should only go in one direction – up.

It may be small at first. When you start out, your dividends might only pay for a coffee once a year.

But after several months of investing, your dividend income might be enough for a nice dinner.

And after a couple years, your dividends might be enough to pay for all of your groceries.

Pretty soon, your dividends will cover all your regular expenses and give you financial freedom.

One quick way to get started investing with multiple high-quality dividend payers is through the Schwab U.S. Dividend ETF (SCHD).

This exchange-traded fund yields 3.5% and invests in companies that have better fundamental strength than their competitors.

And for subscribers to the Intelligent Income Investor, we just released a report on how to position your portfolio for 2024 and beyond. In it, we provide our analysis and expectations for the best income investments the market has to offer. If you’re a paid-up subscriber to Intelligent Income Investor, you can read it here.

So don’t quit. Start slow. And let that momentum build up on its own.

Slow and steady progress can build a fortune and meet your financial goals.

Happy SWAN (sleep well at night) investing,

Brad Thomas
Editor, Intelligent Income Daily