Do you have financial goals? If you don’t then you absolutely should because they’re going to help you achieve the bigger goals that you have in your life. Setting up a financial plan will help you to achieve anything and everything that you want in your life. And you’ll be able to feel more confident about the things that you’re doing in your life as well.
The best way to go is to work with a financial advisor to help you create a plan, but you’re first going to need to know more about what your financial plan is and why you even need one, right?
Why You Need Financial Goals?
Let’s start with why you need financial goals and it’s actually a super simple thing to work through. You need financial goals because you want to be able to enjoy your life and you want to be able to pay off debts, save for retirement and start doing the things that you love.
When you set goals you’re going to have the opportunity to set up a plan and create a more realistic outline of how you’re going to get there. You’re also going to be able to measure your progress toward those goals and toward the things that you want most in your life. Finally, you’re going to decrease your chance of failing because you’re going to have a set idea of what you want to accomplish and that’s the first step to achieving it.
Keep in mind that you get to set the financial goals that you want and the earlier you start the better off you’re going to be because you don’t need to worry about actually saving as much. You can capitalize on compound interest and use that free money to get you there faster.
Figuring Out Your Goals
The first thing you’re going to need to do is create the goals that you want and you’re going to need short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. Some people like to save for a vacation home, college, retirement, emergency funds, a new house or a special vacation. You get to decide what things are the most important to you and then you have to figure out how much they’re going to cost.
Take into consideration how much you’re willing to spend and what a realistic figure is for whatever the special goal is. You want to make sure that you have a plan for what you’re going to do in the long run. If you’re saving for retirement how much will you need? It’s going to depend on just how you want to live when you get there. If you’re saving for a vacation house what kind of house do you want and where? That’s going to affect the amount of money you need.
You may have several different financial goals and that’s okay. In fact, that’s going to be totally normal. And the next set up is to determine how long you want to take in order to get to that goal.
Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
Short-term goals are great because they give you a quick win when you achieve them. After all, they’re things that aren’t going to take you as long to achieve. You’ll be able to get a few steps in and you’ll actually get there. But you can achieve your long-term goals by working toward short-term goals. You just need to make sure you have a plan and set up a budget.
If you’re not quite sure about the short-term goals that you want to set here are a few ideas that might get you started or help you along your way.
Pay off Your Debt
Paying off debt is going to be a short-term goal, even if you find yourself saddled with large amounts of debt. You’ll be able to make those payments and keep paying it down and by the time you do pay it down you’re going to have a much better handle on preparing for some of your long-term goals. You’ll have extra money in your budget and the motivation to keep working.
Saving for an Emergency Fund
If you have an emergency what do you do about it? Do you have a way of paying for it that doesn’t include using a credit card? You’re definitely going to want a small fund to help you in case of emergency, but you definitely want to get up to at least a 6 month buffer if at all possible. This will help you in case of a major emergency.
Saving for Retirement
We all have to retire at some point and the best way to go about saving is to start with an idea of just how much money you actually want. Then, work your way backward to figure out how much you need to save each year.
Saving for a Down Payment
If you’re hoping to buy a house you need to make sure that you save up as much as you can for a down payment. This is going to cut down on how much it’s actually going to cost you over time because you’ll have lower interest costs.
How to Stick to Your Goals
Once you’ve set your goals you need to figure out the best way that you can stick to them. So, here’s a few things that you could be doing to help yourself along the way.
Figure Out When
First, figure out just how long it’s going to take you to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself. You’ll need to look at which are short-term, which are long-term and which fall somewhere in the middle.
If you set a short-term goal it means that you should be able to achieve it within the next three years at the most. This might be a down payment or a vacation. If you’re going to invest for these goals you want something that you can pull the money out of quickly.
If you set a long-term goal it means that it’s going to take at least seven years or more to achieve. This could be things like retirement or saving for a child to go to college. These types of goals could be invested in longer term investment vehicles that could take longer for you to be able to cash out.
Write it Down
Writing things down actually helps you to achieve your goals even faster and more easily. There’s something about committing things to paper (or your computer) that really helps you solidify them and start working toward making them come true.
Budget it Out
You can budget using different types of technology and different apps or programs that will help you keep track of your expenses and your spending categories. These will make it easier for you to stay on top of what you’re doing.
Keep Track of Things
Keep track of just how well you’re doing over time. As you see yourself getting closer and closer to your goals you’re going to feel a whole lot better about the sacrifices that you may have to make along the way.
Talk with a financial advisor or other professional to find out more about what you could be doing and how you should be investing your money in order to maximize your benefits when it comes to your financial goals. You want them to help you set up plans for your short-term and long-term goals as well as objectives to help you get there.