Not having an investment or financial goal is similar to driving around without a clear destination. It sounds kind of silly when you think about it, doesn’t it? When we get behind the wheel, we usually have a clear picture of where we’re going and why. The same should apply to our finances.
Not sure where to start? Don’t sweat it. We’ll tell you why and how to do it.
Do I need goals?
Research shows that people who set goals are more likely to achieve them. But how do you stay accountable? Documenting or writing down those goals helps increase the likelihood that you’ll be successful. One way you can do this is by renaming your accounts and budget line items to reflect your goals.
Another tip to increase your chances of achieving your goals is to share them with another person like your partner, friend or family. They can help you stay on track and celebrate your milestone wins along the way.
Types of Goals
Financial goals are generally broken into short, medium, and long term goals. Short term goals are less than 3 years, the medium term is 3 to 7 years, and long term goals are greater than 7 years. Ideally, you should have goals set in each of the three categories.
Short term financial goals are things like saving to go on a big trip or updating your furniture. For short term goals, you’re best off keeping that money somewhere that’s available to you so you have it when you need it. A high-interest savings account could be a good place to save for these purposes.
Set medium-term goals when you are planning ahead for bigger purchases like a car or a home.
Goals, like funding your children’s education or filling up your retirement fund, are typically long term goals.
The funds you set aside for your medium-term and long term goals are the pots of money that you should consider putting into market-based investments. In this kind of investment, you have a longer period of time to take advantage of compound interest, and the likelihood of earning higher interest if markets perform well.
Be S.M.A.R.T. and set yourself up for success
This isn’t a new concept, but it’s a time-trusted one: the S.M.A.R.T. method of goal setting.
S – Set specific goals. Know what the money is for.
M – Make them measurable. Money is pretty measurable, so you’re in luck there.
A – Make them achievable. Your budget can help you with this one.
R – Your goal should be relevant to you.
T – You should have an understanding of the time in which you’d like to reach your goal.
Ready, set, goal!
Setting goals will help you achieve financial well-being, whatever that means to you. And that’s why we’re here. If you need help figuring out your financial goals and setting up a realistic plan to achieve them, give us a shout. We’re here to help.