One thing that everyone can agree on is the value of financial security. In an uncertain economy, it is important to do all that you can to help solidify your financial future. This begins with goal-setting strategies towards that end.
Why Set Goals?
Just like with any other area of your life, goals give you a focus for your efforts. Without them, it is hard to plan for anything. In financial situations, lack of goals can lead to short-sightedness and inadequate funds for important things like college, retirement and vacations.
Now that you know why you need to set goals, let’s think about this some more. What are the goals you have in your life? Think not just about this day or next month but in the long term; what do you want your money to do for you? It’s a good place to start.
Financial Goal Setting
* Write it down – When the details are just in your mind, they can get sketchy from time to time and that leaves you nowhere. Use a pencil so that you can change and modify them as needed. List them in no particular order but just get them down so you can keep on to the next step.
* Make your goals specific – What have you written down? If you wrote something like “I want to buy a new car,” this is way too vague. We all would like a new car. How can you turn that into a strategy that you can actually implement in a timeline? Instead say, “I would like to save $3,000 towards a new car by December.” Now, you have a timeline and a specific money goal. To that end, you can watch and see how you can set aside that money.
* Break them down – The above goal can even be dissected into a smaller goal that is more manageable. If you are having trouble making ends meet now, saving $3,000 might as well be like saving a million bucks. But, if you set a short, medium and long-term goal to reach the ultimate financial goal, you can get your head around it. So, here goes: “I want to save $500 every two months. I also want to meet a goal of $1,500 by mid-year. At the end of the year, I project that I will have saved $3,000 towards my new Lexus coupe.” This is just an example.
* Read and research – Now that you have financial goals, read money magazines. Talking to a financial advisor can help you learn the right way to implement your goals with maximum gains and minimum effort.
* Evaluate and re-evaluate – Every couple of months, take another look at your goals. Have they changed? Are you still on track to meet them by your set deadlines? If not, you can readjust the timeline to account for changes in the economy and your life.
Work smarter not harder to achieve your financial dreams. With a little strategy you can enjoy a life full of endless possibilities.