How to Set and Achieve Your Financial Goals
Now that the resolutions are done, it’s time to talk about setting some financial goals. Everyone needs to have a financial goal. Even if that goal is “Set a better financial goal for this year.”
Whether it’s saving up for a new car, paying off your credit cards, or becoming financially free, we all need something to shoot for. Something that makes us get up in the morning, and gives purpose to what we do (or refraining from doing).
If you are looking for some new financial goals, or you just want to add another goal in your life (way to go!), here are all the financial goals I could come up with. Simply pick one and use the worksheets to get started on it. You can do it!
Financial Goals Quick Link Index
Financial Goals for Saving Money
- Start saving for your retirement:
- Start saving for next years birthday gifts
- Save up for a down payment on a car (or the whole car)
- Save up to buy a home downpayment
- Start saving for kids college
- Start saving for your next car
- Start a saving for car repairs
- Start saving for your next trip
- Start saving for your emergency fund
- Start saving for Christmas
Ultimate Money Saving Goal: Have enough money saved up to only do the things you want to do, when you want to do them.
Tips and Tricks to Reach your Financial Money Saving Goals
Don’t say “I want to have enough money saved up for Christmas” that just won’t work. Instead make sure to be specific and have a date. We will get to that at the end.
Tip#2: Work backwards
Whatever the goal amount you need to hit, the best way to start is by looking at how much you need and working backwards. A great example is our Disney trip, apparently to go to Disney it’s best to have $10,000 saved up. Talk about expensive!
Once you find that goal work backwards on it. So if you need $10,000 and you are going to save $1,000 a month, then you will need 10 months. Once you have your goal you can play with the time frame and amounts. Hint: the sooner you start planning the less you need to put away on a regular basis.
Tip#3: Make it automatic
The next part of the equation and by far the most important is to automate. You will need to make this saving amount automatic.
Relying on yourself to put that money away every month can get cumbersome. You are a busy person!
So go into your bank app and set up a specific account for this gaol. Next, set everything up for you to transfer things automatically. The hardest part to reach a savings goal is to remember to put the money away every month. When you automate your savings it takes out all of the guesswork and remembering.
Financial Goals for Debt Payoff or Reduction
If you have debt, then making debt freedom a priority is a great goal to set for yourself. Pick one of these goals and set a course for getting that debt paid off. This will start your journey towards debt freedom. This is no short process usually. So make sure that you pick one and stick to it until it’s completed. When the first one is done move on to the next one.
- Establish an early payment plan to pay off your credit cards
- Establish an early payment plan to pay off your student loans
- Establish an early payment plan to pay off your lines of credit
- Establish an early payment plan to pay off your mortgage
- Establish an early payment plan to pay off your car loan
- Pay off your credit cards
- Pay off your student loans
- Pay off your lines of credit
- Pay off your mortgage
- Pay off your car loan
- Pay off your second mortgage
- Become debt free
Ultimate Debt Payoff Goal: Become debt free and never need to finance. Anything. Ever.
How to Get Started Paying off your Debt
First things first, make a list of all your debts with interest rates and payment amounts. Then get all of these amounts in front of you and make a plan.
There are a lot of ways to go after paying down your debt. From the debt snowball to the debt avalanche each one has it’s pros and cons. I like the idea of going after your highest interest rate first, but that can also make for a long haul depending on the size of the debt..
Others prefer to get in a quick win by paying off their smallest debt and building on that momentum. Whatever works for you is the route you should consider.
Otherwise trying to do it in a way that doesn’t feel good to you will just make for a difficult debt freedom journey.
Financial Goals for Spending Money
Wait is this a thing? You bet! Having a financial goal category of spending money may sound a little weird at first but it makes sense. Some times we have a hard time saving, so if that’s not working setting a goal of a spending limit might be the way that works for you. Other than that there are ways you can be a smart shopper. Spending money is a part of life, but if you make it a goal to spend your money wisely you will reap the benefits along the way.
- Never Spend more than ___% of my pay check
- Cut your grocery bills
- Cut your transportation costs
- Start using coupons
- Start using a shopping list and stick to it
- Get life insurance
- Get a second quote on your car insurance
- Review your insurance (life, health, disability, critical illness)
- Start shopping when there are deals to be found (Think winter coats in spring)
- Start asking for a better price
- Look to cut your smart phone data plan
- Cut your long distance costs
- Look to sell your unused stuff
- Cut your electricity spending
- Cut your utilities spending
- Eliminate bank fees
- Cut other spending
Ultimate Spending Money Goal: Be able to buy what you want when you want it without it impacting your finances.
Any goals related to spending are going to be a challenge. Make sure to go over all of your expenses and see what you can cut down on, or cut out completely. There are often a lot of little costs that add up to big savings, so get hunting for those savings!
Financial Goals For Investing
Once you are spending smart, earning more and saving like the amazing person you are it’s time to set some investing goals. Investing is a scary term that conjures up a lot of bad thoughts. It’s something that you can easily overcome and improve on. First thing you should do is start educating yourself on investing.
- Learn about investing
- Learn about stocks
- Learn about ETF (Here’s $50 to Get Started)
- Learn about options
- Learn about real estate
- Learn about robo-advisors
- Start investing
- Buy your first investment
- Start an automated investing program
- Put your investments on autopilot
Ultimate Investing Goal: Have enough investments to retire, or do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Financial Goals for Earning Money
Once you have the spending and saving goals sorted out you should really start to think about more ways to earn money. This is a goal that most of us should set every year.
- Increase your income
- Earn more money this year
- Ask for a raise
- Start a side job
- Increase your passive income
- Start earning multiple streams of income
- Start making money in your free time with surveys
- Find work you enjoy doing
- Look for new ways to earn money
- Start selling your goods on Craigslist or other sites
- Start charging people for things you are good at (you are worth it!)
Ultimate Earning Money Goal: Create enough income from passive sources so you no longer need a job.
Other Financial Goals
Here are some other ones that you can set for yourself. Some of these you can start right away others you may need to make a plan and get to it.
- Start being money conscious
- Start tracking my net worth
- Automate your savings
- Start a budget
- Set up automatic transfers for your budget
- Start contributing to a retirement account
- Open a separate savings account for all your goals
- Talk about money with your spouse
- Start tracking your spending
- Start giving your money a purpose
- Start an Emergency fund
- Check your credit report
Use The S.M.A.R.T. Goal System
The next step is to write out he details on each goal. Sure you could set a million goals, but let’s build up our goal setting and achieving strength and knock the first one out of the park. Start with a short term goal and get to work on making it a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.)
For each of goal answer the following questions.
Goal I am Working On:__________________________________
What is the goal I want to accomplish?
Why is this goal important to me?
How will I measure my progress and success with this goal?
Is this goal attainable? (Remember you over estimate 1 year and underestimate 3-5 years)
Who is involved in achieving this goal (will you need help from others).
Which obstacles will I need to overcome to accomplish this goal?
What obstacles could come up that would prevent me from achieving this goal?
Am I being realistic with this goal?
When will I have this goal one by?
What will I need to do to make this goal a reality?
Put It All Together
I will (do, be achieve)_________ by (date)________, I will accomplish this by (taking what action)_________ on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.
Carry this around with you, read once out loud to yourself when you wake up and right before bed.
When you are done write it out:
“I will (do, be, achieve)_________ by (date)________. I will accomplish this by (taking what action)_________ on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.”
Repeat it everyday to yourself when you wake up and go to bed. Live the goal!