Setting financial goals doesn’t have to be hard
Have you ever felt like you’re working your butt off to pay off your debt, keep your savings high or just be smarter with your money?
So many others around you feel the same way…
No matter how hard you work, and how hard you try, if you don’t have any set goals with timelines and milestones, you’ll continue to feel like gears are turning but you aren’t moving forward.
So, where should you start?
What are financial goals, really?
Financial goals are the long-term, short-term and intermediate goals that form the basis of a holistic financial plan.
The best financial goals align with your values and personal objectives and are not to be confused with a budget or financial plan. Financial goals are specific and measurable milestones that, when reached, bring you closer to your ideal future.
In other words, how are you going to prevent debt, save for the future and have fun now?
Let’s look at these through the lens of short-term, midterm and long-term financial goal-setting.
Short-term goals are extremely important because not only do they give you a sense of a quick-win, they also help to boost confidence and morale in your financial abilities.
These are a great place to start.
1.Establish a budget – so so so important. Take a quick look at where you spend your money. Are you overspending on DoorDash? Are you Ubering too much when you could walk? Are you paying twice for TV streaming devices?
Use these spending habits as a backbone to determine what you can and would like to actually spend each month. Then create a budget. There are free tools if you do a quick Google search, or you can create a basic spreadsheet and go from there.
2.Create an emergency fund – sometimes easier said than done… because you want to put your money towards paying off your debt, to going to the movies, to a night out on the town. Instead, throw at least $50 each paycheck into your savings account. This will add up fast…
Ilene Davis, a certified financial planner (CFP) with Financial Independence Services in Cocoa, Florida, recommends saving at least three months’ worth of expenses to cover your financial obligations and basic needs, but preferably six months’ worth. This won’t happen overnight but getting a start on it now is better late than never.
3.Pay off credit cards – Some money goes to your emergency fund, and some should go to paying off any credit card debt. Make sure your rent, car payment, budget for groceries, and any other expenses, including emergency fund, are set aside.
There are a few strategies you can take to pay off your credit card debt. Take a look here to learn more about the different tactics and decide what works best for you.
Completing your short-term goals may take 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, or longer. Know that this is a marathon vs. a sprint to get from your short-term financial goals to your midterm financial goals.
Some midterm goals to take into consideration
1.Pay off student loans – About 43.4 million Americans have student loan debt. This debt averages out to $37,113 per person. That’s a lot of money owed by a lot of people… And you may be one of them.
Take a look at your options for your student loan debt. Can you refinance? Does it make sense to refinance? Should you use one of the debt repayment plans instead? This article proves some strategies you could use to repay student loan debt.
2.Think about the future – This is a great opportunity to think about what you want in life. Do you want to own a home? Start a family? Move cross-country? Invest smarter?
Start identifying how much money you’ll need for these occasions and begin incorporating into your budgeting and saving plans. When it comes time, you’ll already have some money saved up or at least a plan to save the money you need to be able to do what you want to do.
So, in my opinion, most people and organizations focus a lot on the long-term goals rather than providing guidance on the short-term and midterm goals. You’ll see what I mean momentarily…
Long-term goals worth investing in
1.Retirement – everyone’s favorite topic. Most organizations offer some kind of retirement plan. While this is extremely important, this is a long-term goal for a reason. You have time before you retire to save. How can you prioritize your future without prioritizing your immediate needs first?
With that being said, if your organization provides a retirement plan and they match a certain percent, absolutely take advantage of that even if it is a tiny amount every month.
2.Mortgage repayment – If you own a home, it may be time to look at refinancing or ways to pay off your mortgage sooner so you can save money in the long run. Take a look at your current plan, what you’ve budgeted for and if there’s any wiggle room to increase these payments.
3.College tuition – If you have children, college tuition is no joke. And it continues to get more expensive each year. Where and how does this fit in with your budget and financial plan? This is a long-term goal, but worth visiting the moment you decide you want to have kids…
When it comes to your financial goal-setting, where do you fit now?
Maybe you’re starting from scratch. Maybe you’re focusing on your midterm goals. Everyone is on their own financial journey, but it doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own.
To learn more about TrueConnect’s Financial Wellness Platform, let’s schedule a call. Contact us and we’ll reach out to you soon.