Setting Financial Goals Makes a Difference

Two people sitting and creating a budget together.

Chances are you have a vision of what you’d like your financial future to look like, but are you on track to get there? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to evaluate your goals and make a plan.

What are Financial Goals?

Simply put financial goals are savings, investment or spending targets you hope to reach over a period of time. Financial goals come in all shapes and sizes and not everyone has the same priorities.

Here are a few examples:
Saving for Retirement
Saving for a New Appliance
Starting a Business
Improving your Credit Score

Steps for Setting Your Financial Goals

Sit down and identify what is important to you. If you have a life partner, invite them to join you; it’s important that you plan together. From everything practical to outlandish – lay it all out on the table. Retirement by 65? Write that down. Paying off your student loans early? Write that down too. Destination wedding in Aruba? Even that one gets written down.

Remember what you have on your list is deeply personal and won’t exactly match anyone else.

Prioritize and sort what you wrote down. Organize your goals by how long it will take to achieve them, and which ones are most important. A good way to frame your goals is to categorize them by short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

Find out what you need to do. This is where you are going to give each item on your list a price and learn more about them. Take a deep dive into the internet to research. Learn from others who’ve done what you are trying to do, maybe find yourself a mentor, or read and watch videos about the topic. Also, see if you need any specialized training or certain tools to achieve your goal.

How to Work Toward Achieving Your Financial Goals

Create a detailed budget. This will create a full picture of what you have to work with. Where can you fit in your saving, investing or other goals that you’ve listed? How much do you have to allot toward them? Do you need to cut back in some areas or add to your income? After you’ve created your budget, stick to it.

Start Small. It may be tempting to jump into the deep end, but it’s better to build a plan that you can stay consistent with. Developing good financial habits and building on them in ways that challenge you but don’t burn you out is key. For example, if you’re wanting to reduce how much you spend on takeout, start by gradually reducing the number of nights you order instead of immediately cutting yourself off. You’re more likely to be able to sustain that change.

Evaluate your progress. Every 3-6 months take an inventory of where you are for each of your goals. Are you hitting your targets? Has your life or your priorities changed? Do you need to adjust anything or are you on the right track?

Be Flexible. Sometimes life interrupts our plans with unexpected situations and emergencies. That’s why it’s so important to have flexibility with your goals and compassion for yourself. Understand that it’s okay if you need to take a break or cut back from contributing to some of your goals. Remember you can always get started again, take time to take care of yourself.

We hope this quick guide helps you get started thinking about your financial goals. If there is any way we can help, please contact your local branch or explore our products and services on our website.