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Master Your Money Like an Olympian

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The Winter Olympics are still going strong. We’ve seen moments of pure exhilaration and crushing disappointment. As a viewer, it’s what we love about the Olympics! What we can often forget sitting on the edge of our seat is that, to get to this level, the athletes have already achieved so much. It’s amazing to watch it unfold.

How do they do it? How are elite athletes, with so much on the line, able to focus and perform with the whole world watching? It’s all in the plan! These amazing humans have been working toward their goal for most of their lives.

When it comes to debt (and getting out of it), we could all benefit from applying strategies utilized by Olympians. Below, Mountain America Credit Union has taken the steps top-level athletes follow to succeed and applied them to mastering our finances. You’ll be amazed at how simple getting results can be!

  1. Set big goals. Look at the big picture and set your long-term goal. Is it becoming debt-free? Becoming a home-owner? Whatever it is, aim high!

  2. Small wins lead to big goals. It’s important to outline all the steps it will take to reach this main goal. These steps become your short-term goals and should be obtainable in a matter of days or a week. This strategy sets you up for success by keeping you motivated through instant wins.

  3. No one does it alone. Olympians understand the power of a team in working toward a common goal. Family, friends and professionals (like a financial advisor) can guide you and keep you accountable. Encouragement from this team can go a long way in keeping you focused.

  4. Don’t forget to have fun. Turning your work into fun can give you a positive boost. Showcase your progress by moving jelly beans or M&Ms from one glass jar to another each time you save money. Dance around the living room or indulge in a spa day at home every time you pay more than the minimum payment on your mortgage or credit card. Make this tip part of your money management plan to keep the excitement alive.

  5. Set measurable goals. Setting quantifiable goals clearly shows you what you are shooting for, and it also lets you know how close you are. Be specific. Attach deadlines. Go for the gold!

  6. Focus. Be purposeful in your actions. Take the time to consciously perform each step to align your focus on your end goals.

  7. Set goals slightly out of your reach. Olympians, of course, always want to win gold. No one strives for the bronze. But if you don’t quite make it to your significantly lofty goal, getting close can still be incredible and will keep you reaching higher.

  8. Visualize. Whether it’s in your mind or a physical representation of achieving your goal, visualizing the positive effects of reaching your goal can sometimes help to clear a roadblock or smooth out the process.

  9. Be consistent. Work toward your long-term goal EVERY day—even when you don’t feel motivated or inspired.

  10. Practice habits. For Olympians, practice is the core of achieving their goals. Putting in the time and working hard is the only way to be the best. Plus, you’ll have a better chance of turning your short-term goals into long-term habits.

  11. Plan for the unexpected. Every good long-term goal has a Plan B. After you lay out the process, identify the areas that may pose a problem and develop a contingency plan. Try mind mapping to get out your ideas. This graphical representation of your process uses a different part of your brain which may allow you to identify challenges you didn’t see before.

  12. Review your goals regularly. Life happens. Plans change. Just because you made a complete plan initially doesn’t mean it will all work out that way. Check in with your progress and make adjustments if things aren’t working or you come across a better way.

  13. Identify your fears. Overcome barriers by being truthful with yourself. Facing your fears takes away their power to hold you back.

  14. Welcome failure along the path to victory. No goal is ever achieved without failure. Don’t fear it—look at it as an opportunity and then seize it!

We can’t all be Olympians, but we can sure learn from them! Goal-setting is an art we can do successfully.

If your goal is to get out of debt this year, try a balance transfer. Save money and pay off your debt faster by transferring your high-interest balance to a lower-interest Mountain America Visa® card. It’s fast, easy and worry-free. You can even track the progress of your transfer from beginning to end.


*Limit of two transfers from the same external account or financial institution. Total cash bonus cannot exceed 3% of the credit limit on your Mountain America credit card during the 2018 calendar year. Not available on business accounts or balances transferred from an existing Mountain America loan. Cash bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT. Offer expires 2/28/18.

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