Setting Financial Goals
The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to revisit your financial goals. Goals, financial or otherwise, set a road map for your future. Of course, working towards your financial goals is sometimes challenging and often takes momentary sacrifice. By definition, however, goals are motivating, spurring you on in your efforts.
5 Tips for Setting Financial Goals
1. Visualize Your Future
Goals take future-forward thinking. Additionally, the ‘why’ behind your goals is pivotal. Ask yourself how you define success — is it simply financial security? Or is it a life of luxury? Would you like to leave a legacy for your children? Or live free of student loans? Finally, picture your life in the future, and assign more profound meaning to each goal you set. For example, saving for retirement so that you can travel abroad with your spouse adds meaning to the bigger picture.
2. Assess Your Current Situation
It is much easier to plan for the future with a clear perspective of the present. Take a close look at your current expenses, budget, and savings. Where are you spending too much money? Where are you already succeeding? Understanding your current financial health adds weight and structure to otherwise vague dreams. It will help you prioritize your goals. (Reality tends to do that.)
3. Categorize and Prioritize
Typically, you can categorize your goals into three different arenas.
Short-Term Goals: These goals have a future focus of six months to five years and may include items such as creating a budget, paying off credit card debt, or building an emergency fund. They also may be geared towards larger immediate purchases — such as a family vacation or home appliances.
Mid-Term Goals: These goals have a future focus of five to ten years. They might include investing in life insurance, paying off a loan, purchasing a new vehicle, or even building a new family home.
Long-Term Goals: Long-term goals have a future focus on anything beyond ten years. For example, planning and saving for retirement is considered a long-term goal. Paying off a mortgage or your children’s college tuition may also be included in long-term plans.
Part of categorizing your goals is also prioritizing them. Certainly, strive towards more than one financial goal at a time, but prioritize your goals into critical needs and wants. Your primary short-term goals (creating a budget, paying off debt, and building an emergency fund) should be considered essential and at least well underway before you devote aggressive attention to mid-term or long-term goals.
The beauty of financial goals is that they are not cookie-cutters. Everyone’s goals, timelines, and priorities differ! So find what works for you and set your goals accordingly.
If you don’t ‘own’ your goals, you will be less likely to follow the process!
4. Be SMART
When setting your goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T.
Being SMART gives you a structure for the goal itself, keeps you from being overwhelmed by self-imposed impossibility, and helps you stay accountable.
5. Write Them Down (And Revisit them)
Write your goals — and the steps you are taking to get there — in a place where you will see them often. Not only does the process of writing things down help you accomplish them (it’s a brain-psychology thing), but revisiting and rereading them keeps them in the forefront of your thinking.
At The Robert Joseph Group, we work with only the best. Whether you are looking for new talent to add to your team or taking a further step in your career, we’re here to help you find your match! So contact us today, and let’s get started.