Setting Financial Goals
The first step in personal financial planning is learning to control
your day-to-day financial affairs to enable you to do the things
that bring you satisfaction and enjoyment. This is achieved by
planning and following a budget.
The second step in personal financial planning, and the topic of
this section, is choosing and following a course toward achieving
your long-term financial goals.
As with anything else in life, without financial goals and specific
plans for meeting them, you will just drift along and leave our
future to chance. A wise man once said: “Most people don’t plan to
fail; they just fail to plan.”
The end result is the same and it is a failure to reach financial
The third step in personal financial planning is learning how to
build a financial safety net, which is like to having a retirement
fund for when you are no longer generating any income.
FOUR SIMPLE STEPS FOR SETTING FINANCIAL GOALS
Identify and write down your financial goals, whether they are
saving to send your kids to college or University, buying a new car,
saving for a down payment on a house, going on vacation, paying off
credit card debt, or planning for you and your spouse’s retirement.
Break each financial goal down into several short-term (less than 1
year), medium-term (1 to 3 years) and long-term (5 years or more)
goals; which will make this process easier.
Educate yourself and do your research. Read Money magazine or a book
about investing, or surf the Internet’s investment web sites. Do not
be afraid of the stock market.
Yes, there is a potential for loss, but if you do your research and
get a trustworthy broker, you can ensure your financial future. Just
remember not to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Diversify your portfolio. With a little effort you can learn enough
to make educated decisions that will increase your net worth many
times over. Then identify small, measurable steps you can take to
achieve these goals, and put this action plan to work.
Evaluate your progress as often as needed. Review your progress
monthly, quarterly, or at any other interval you feel comfortable
with, but at least semi-annually, to determine if your program is
If you’re not making a satisfactory amount of progress on a
particular goal, re-evaluate your approach and make changes as
There are no hard and fast rules for implementing a financial plan.
The important thing is to at least do something as opposed to
nothing, and to start NOW.
Sometimes when people write down their goals, they discover that
some of the goals are too broad in meaning and nearly impossible to
reach, while others may seem smaller in scope and easier to achieve.
It is okay to dare to dream about riches, but be realistic about
what you can actually do. A good idea is to break your goals down
into three separate categories of time.
One more thing to remember: by placing a time frame on your goals
you are motivating yourself to get started and helping to allow you
the chance to succeed. Just remember that you can adjust the time
frame whenever you want to.
Long-term goals (over 5 years) are those things that won’t happen
overnight, no matter how hard you work to achieve them.
They make take a long time to accomplish (hence the reason they are
called long term goals), so give yourself a reasonable amount of
time, that are based on your best estimates of what it will take to
Examples of long-term goals might include college education for a
child, retirement plan or purchasing a home. Whatever the case,
these goals generally require longer commitments and often more
money in the end.
Intermediate-term goals (1-5 years) are the type of goals
that can’t be executed overnight but might not take many years to
accomplish. Examples might include purchasing or replacing a
car, getting an education or certification, or paying off your debts
like credit cards etc. (depending on the amount).
Short-term goals (within one year) generally take one year or
less to achieve, based on the date the task is needed, the total
estimated cost, and the required savings.
What are your goals? To find out, you need to make up a list, decide
which timeline your goal fits into, detail the steps necessary to
achieve your goals, then take action toward reaching those goals.
It’s that simple.
You might be wondering where to start when deciding how to go about
to start your financial goals. These are some basic tips to help you
in making the best choices for you.
After looking at these tips, it is best for you to go out and do
some research to find the method(s) that suit you best.
- Begin by taking 5%-10% out of each pay check and put it
in a savings account.
- Look into different investment strategies such as IRA’s,
stocks, RRSP’s, mutual Funds, personal investments etc. There are
many more and all can assist you in short and long term goals.
- Start making a budget for yourself that leaves you with some
extra money and follow it.
- Use your coupons that is why they are there. It seems like
small savings, but add together you could save 20-30 dollars at
each trip to the market.
- Shop around for bargains.
- Do not live outside of your means.
- Work with a credit counselor to get help in lowering your
monthly expenses and get rid of your debt.
These are just some of the things that you can do when beginning
to realize your financial goals. Of course, you also have to follow
the steps in the above sections on how to successfully set goals.
The steps to setting goals successfully don’t change, only the
methods that you use to go about it. By that I mean; when it is
career wise, work to get noticed; for relationships, work on
maintaining your intimacy or getting it back; in financial matters,
work to save and invest money etc. It really is that easy.
To your Success, may you reach your goals.
Copyright © Gary Killops.
All rights reserved.