Have you ever been working hard on a goal – only to fail? I’m sure you’ve experienced this at least once in your life. But, I’d venture to guess that more often than not, these failures are tied to not having enough accountability to help you stay on track.

Truthfully, accountability is the single biggest factor that separates success from failure. This is true for all types of goals, including health and weight loss, as well as financial success.

If you’re not exactly sure what accountability is, that’s ok! The simplest way to explain accountability is to be responsible for all of your actions, good and bad. Successes and failures. It also means being honest with yourself and others instead of making excuses for your actions.

Where to Find Accountability

There are lots of ways you can start being accountable for your goals and finances. For me, I started a blog so that I could be honest about my experiences and financial goals.

Some people also hire a financial coach or planner. This person is usually paid to help you create a plan with actionable steps to reach your goals. The coach will review progress with you at each appointment and assess what worked and what didn’t. A good coach will also provide you with tough love when you need it to help you get back on track, because, let’s face it: we all get off track sometimes.

Finally, you might decide to enlist an accountability buddy to work with you on improving your finances. For many people, this is the easiest and most affordable accountability option.

Why Having an Accountability Buddy is Awesome

No matter if you’re single, co-habiting, or married, having an accountability buddy who isn’t in your immediate family can be helpful. In my case, my accountability buddy helped me make big progress at paying off my debt.

For those of you who are single like me, an accountability buddy can help eliminate the “It’s my money and I’ll use it how I want” mentality.

If you’re married, you may think turning to your spouse for accountability is the best option. Yet, I recommend choosing another accountability buddy who can provide an unbiased opinion. This way it doesn’t always turn into a he said, she said argument.

What to Look for in an Accountability Buddy

Once you’ve decided to find an accountability buddy to help you with your financial goals, make sure you’ve put some thought into your goals and who can best help you achieve them. An ideal accountability buddy is someone who is on the same path as you, even if the two of you aren’t at the exact same point in your journeys.

For example, my accountability buddy and I are both working to pay off debt. But, we don’t have the exact same amount of debt left to pay off. If my accountability buddy had never been in debt and was working on other goals, like investing, she may not be so effective in understanding me and offering up ideas for my debt payoff journey.

Secondly, it works well to find an accountability buddy who perhaps has some different life goals than you. If your lives are too similar, for example, you may end up in an echo chamber. With a new perspective, however, your accountability buddy can help you come up with different ideas that can help you with your money matters.

In my case, I live on my own and I’m in my 20’s. My accountability buddy is married and in her 40’s. She can give me advice since she’s already experienced her 20’s and has lived to tell the tale. Meanwhile, I can help her by providing new ideas that she may not have heard of yet as I tend to keep up better with modern banking features, tools, and more.

Keep in mind that regardless of who you choose, having a financial accountability buddy should be beneficial for both parties. Once you find the right buddy to help you with your goals, you can then work on achieving success. Are you ready to buddy up?

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Kayla Sloan

Kayla Sloan is a freelance writer who covers business and personal finance. She has been featured in The Huffington Post, Time, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Kayla is passionate about helping people improve their finances so they can pursue their dreams with her blog at KaylaSloan.com.