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How to Set Financial Goals & Achieve Them

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further

Money can be stressful. When it comes to life goals, most people have financial goals they’d like to achieve in their lifetime. Depending on your desired lifestyle or needs, your financial goals will look different from others. These goals can be anywhere from handling student debt or a mortgage to trying to buy a new laptop for school. These goals are made to cater to you and you only!

With this, financial goals are valuable for everyone. With well-thought-out goals can come financial success in different aspects of life. There are many benefits to learning how to set financial goals—from reducing stress to achieving financial stability. However, if you haven’t set financial goals for yourself before, or on a larger scale, starting the process can come along with a lot of questions.

For example, what goals are short-term or long-term? How do I set a goal and how can I complete it? Are there tools out there to help me achieve my financial goals? Whether you need some guidance on how to make the goals you have in mind happen or you’re just starting to think about setting financial goals, this guide can help you take the next steps. Keep reading or use the links below to get started.

What Are Financial Goals?

Financial goals include things like learning to budget, saving for retirement, building your credit, and overall planning for a financially stable future. Financial goals can be short-term, mid-term, or long-term but are all aimed at improving money management.

What Are Financial Goals?

Financial goals are simple in concept but can be hard to execute for some. In short, financial goals are objectives you set for yourself that are centered around your personal finances. Whether it be establishing a healthy savings, starting to invest, or regulating your spending habits, your financial goals should be focused on improving your fiscal health.

Typically, financial goals are differentiated based on the length of time it will take to achieve them or how far off in the future they are set. For example, financial goals can be: short-term, mid-term, or long-term. 

Short-Term Financial Goals

Short-term financial goals can typically be achieved within under one year to five years. A few examples are:

  • Buying new furniture
  • Creating a vacation fund
  • Purchasing new electronics, such as a TV, computer, or gaming console
  • Establishing a budget
  • Starting an emergency fund
  • Reducing debt
  • Saving for a wedding
  • Paying for home renovations

Mid-Term Financial Goals

Mid-term financial goals are usually set with a timeline of around five years to ten years. These goals can tie into short and long-term goals by being a bridge in being able to achieve them in the distant future. Examples are: 

  • Finding a higher paying job
  • Paying off student debt
  • Investing in higher education 
  • Saving up for a first home
  • Maintaining growth in investments 
  • Paying off a car 

Long-Term Financial Goals

Long-term financial goals are generally life goals you can set for yourself in the future. Some common examples of long-term financial goals are:

  • Paying off your mortgage
  • Saving for your children’s college fund
  • Building your retirement savings 

What Are the Benefits of Setting Financial Goals

Financial goals are useful for anyone who’s looking to improve their quality of life and plan for the future. To help you see the true value of focusing on financial goals, let’s take a look at some of the most notable benefits:

Financial Freedom

Money is one of the biggest stresses in people’s lives. So, when setting financial goals, most people aim to have a sense of financial freedom. When you have your finances under control and have a strong grasp on what you’d like to accomplish and how you can do that, you can feel more in control of your life and what you want for your future.

Inflation

Setting financial goals can help you combat the effect ever-changing inflation can have on your stability. With a plan, you can be better prepared for rising inflation, whether that means getting on track to earn a higher salary or saving more for retirement. Even a simple act of creating an emergency savings fund may help you during an uncertain economic period. 

Comfortable Living

All of us want to live as comfortably as possible, however, that’s usually dependent on getting a handle on our finances. Whether you want to upgrade your lifestyle or simply don’t want to live paycheck-to-paycheck anymore, financial goals are an important part of financial planning. Setting goals such as starting a monthly budget, increasing your savings, and figuring out ways to incorporate fun expenses into your budget can help you live more comfortably starting now.

Celebrating Your Success

As it is with any type of goal, a huge benefit of setting financial goals is the relief and excitement that comes from completing them. After all your hard work and time, you can celebrate the payoff of your determination and motivation to see the goal through to completion. Whether it is a short-term or a long-term goal, the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve hit your target aspiration is nothing to minimize. You should be proud when you make strides toward better financial health. 

How to Set Financial Goals

Now that you know what kind of financial goals you would like to achieve, it’s time to focus on how you can achieve those goals. There are many strategies and personal finance tips out there, but here are a few to consider. 

Set SMART Goals

SMART is an acronym for the strategy on how to set goals that are much more attainable. In short, SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These points are suggestions to have a more aimed goal when it comes to your personal finances. Let’s break down what each letter really means when it comes to setting your own goals.

Specific: Aim to make your goals clear so you don’t lose focus. The key questions to ask yourself during this stage are: what, why, who, where, and which resources are involved? 

Measurable: You should be able to track your goals and progress to stay motivated. This means having deadlines or measurable milestones so you know how close you are to reaching the goal. 

Attainable: This means making your goals realistic based on where you are now. You want to push  yourself but you don’t want to choose goals that aren’t going to be accomplishable. 

Relevant: You want to choose a goal that pertains to what you want to achieve in regards to your financial wellness and that will have meaningfulness to you.Think about whether it matches your other financial goals and where you want to go.

Time-bound: Having a timeline for how long each of your goals will take to complete is key to increasing the likelihood of achieving them. Having a set end date in mind can help you stay the course and adjust how you’re tackling your goal over time.

Decide What is Important to You

Your goals should generally be based on your priorities. There is a lot of financial advice out there that may say that you need to be doing this or this, but at the end of the day, it all depends on your circumstances and the financial concerns that are most important to you. Depending on what you’d like to gain, whether that be big dreams or lifestyle changes you can make now, the goals you set and the steps you need to take to reach them will be shaped by that.

Understand Your Budget

Looking at your current budget before setting financial goals can help you determine what’s realistic based on the position you’re in right now and where your financial wellness needs work. Your budget is also a useful tool when maintaining your goals. For example, if one of your main objectives is to save six months’ worth of living expenses as your emergency fund, you’ll need to work that savings goal into your budget and allocate more of your income to that category.

How You Can Reach Your Financial Goals

Here are a few tips for how you can reach your financial goals;

Develop a System for Tracking Goals

Tracking goals allows you to see how much progress you’ve made and ensure you’re on pace to meet them. Visualizing your progress, however that seems fit to you, can serve as motivation to see how far you’ve come along on your financial journey. This can be a visual of having a financial planner to mark your progress or even something more high tech.

Use the Tools and Resources Available to You

If you are unsure where to begin setting financial goals and staying on track with them, there are various tools and resources at your disposal to help you get started. There are various tools and resources to help you achieve your goals. For example, the Mint app. From budget trackers to spending breakdowns, the Mint app can be an asset to help you build better financial habits and work toward your goals. 

Adjust Your Goals as Needed

With everyone’s financial situations varying, there shouldn’t be shame involved with adjusting your goals. Your goals should cater to your own timeline and needs. In everyday life, situations and emergencies may happen without notice, which can drastically impact your financial situation. Or maybe, your priorities have shifted. Whatever the reason, it’s okay to change or shift your goals as needed over time, especially those with a broader scope or longer timeline.

Stay Consistent

It might seem obvious but staying consistent in working toward your financial goals is key. Improving your finances, paying off debt, and saving money all take time, but working toward them and staying motivated is the only way to make those goals happen.

Take Your Time

While some goals are time-sensitive, like short-term financial goals, other goals can be achieved in your own time. Goals are meant for your own personal success and you may give yourself grace when it comes to completing them. Some will have short-term goals that may be more of a mid-term or long-term goal for you and vice versa. As stated before, everyone has their own vision for their financial future and that happens on a different timeline.

Prepare for a Successful Financial Future with Solid Goals

Finances can be a scary topic to think about, especially when it’s about your own personal goals. It may be even harder to try to achieve them without having a clue on where to begin. A well-thought-out plan with clear steps in place is a great start to setting your goals for future financial success. 

For more help in setting and achieving your financial goals, explore the Mint app for all your financial needs and concerns. 

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