SET GOA LS
While budgeting establishes the foundation of your financial health, setting goals sets the direction. Learning about money, debt, wealth management, and investing is good, but without goal setting, you may lack the motivation to make it in the long run. Goal setting provides you with vision. You determine what you have and want to do in your life, and strict money management helps create the catalyst for shaping your future.
Here are a few ways to set lasting goals:
SEEK INSPIRATION.Your goals have to reflect more than merely your wants. You have to know why you want to set a particular goal. Attaching reasons to your goals can motivate you. An example is the goal of saving money for a family vacation. But where do you plan to go? How will you get there? Do you need to create an emergency fund in case you lose your job? How much money do you want to have in your emergency account? Another goal may be to eliminate your credit card debt. Why? This can be a very important goal for enabling you to make more money available for travel or for building your retirement fund. Dig into the details, and put them on paper.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK.You may not know where to start or how to prioritize your goals. Start by looking at your immediate future. What about next week? Or next month? Then, consider next year. Look at how much you make, your taxes, and your net worth. Don’t forget that all-important part—your budget.
BRACE FOR EMERGENCIES.Set aside enough money to cover 3-6 months of expenses.
CONTRIBUTE TO RETIREMENT. Some financial professionals suggest setting aside 15% of your gross income per year for retirement. If you’re 50 or over, you may be able to contribute additional money into certain retirement accounts.
ELIMINATE DEBT. Target the debt with the highest interest rates first, such as credit cards.
REWARD YOURSELF. Setting goals is a discipline and can be challenging. To keep yourself on track, reward yourself after reaching benchmarks and milestones to provide an incentive to keep moving forward.
BE “SMART.” Include all the elements in your goal setting. Being “SMART” means setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
MAKE IT WRITE. After you've hashed out your goals, put them down on paper, a worksheet, a spreadsheet, or another computer document or application. Monitor your progress periodically. Go into detail. Dig deep. Exactly how much money do you want to have set aside for each goal at each particular benchmark? It’s never too late to chart your course to financial wellness.
Contact our office to learn more about achieving your financial goals and download the complete guide Unlocking the Treasures of Financial Wellness here.