Dream It, Achieve It: Setting and Reaching Your Financial Goals

April 05, 2024 4 min read

When you picture your future self, say 20 to 40 years from now, what do you envision?

Studies show that people routinely view their future selves as strangers, which leads to poor decision making in the long run. If you don’t see your future self asyou, then you might find yourself making bad choices when it comes to unhealthy behaviors or financial matters. But no matter how far away your retirement may be, you’ll be doing Future You a favor by starting now. And the best place to start? Setting attainable financial goals.

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The Importance of Setting Financial Goals

Before we delve into the how, let's understand the why. Financial goals provide direction and purpose for your money. They serve as the guiding stars in your financial journey, helping you make informed decisions and stay on course.

Financial goals are the building blocks of wealth creation. Whether your goal is to save for retirement, buy a home, or start a business, setting and achieving these objectives can lead to long-term financial security.

Types of Financial Goals

Short-Term Goals: Short-term financial goals typically cover a period of one year or less. These goals could include building an emergency fund, paying off credit card debt, or saving for a vacation.

Mid-Term Goals: Mid-term financial goals generally span one to five years. Examples might include saving for a down payment on a house, purchasing a car, or funding a college education.

Long-Term Goals: Long-term financial goals stretch beyond five years and often cover decades. Retirement planning, building substantial wealth, or buying a second home are examples of long-term financial goals.


Specific: Your financial goals should be precise and clearly defined. Instead of saying, "I want to save money," specify, "I want to save $10,000 for a down payment on a house."

Measurable: Establish criteria for measuring your progress. In the example above, the $10,000 down payment is a quantifiable target.

Achievable: Set goals that are realistic and attainable based on your current financial situation. An unrealistic goal might lead to frustration and abandonment.

Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your life and financial aspirations. They should align with your values and long-term vision.

Time-Bound: Assign a deadline to your goals. Without a timeline, there's no sense of urgency. In the example, you set the target to save $10,000 within two years.

Creating a Financial Goal Plan

Before setting your financial goals, take a hard look at your current financial situation. What are your income, expenses, debts, and assets? This analysis will help you understand where you stand and what you can realistically achieve.

Prioritize Your Goals

Not all financial goals are equally important. Prioritize them based on their significance and time frame. Your emergency fund, for instance, should take precedence over non-essential goals.

Break Goals into Milestones

Large goals can be overwhelming. Break them down into smaller, manageable milestones. This will make them feel less daunting and allow you to track your progress more effectively.

Determine the Cost

Estimate the cost of each goal. Knowing how much you need for each objective is essential for budgeting and tracking your progress.

Budgeting for Success

A budget is your financial roadmap. It ensures that your income covers your expenses and leaves room for savings and investments. With a budget, you'll have a clear understanding of how much money you can allocate to your financial goals.

Reducing discretionary spending can free up more money to put towards your goals. Analyze your expenses and find areas where you can cut back without sacrificing your quality of life.

Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings or investment accounts. This ensures that you consistently save money each month, without having to think about it.

Investing in Your Goals

For long-term goals, consider investing to grow your money faster. Depending on your risk tolerance and time horizon, you can explore options like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate.

Investing can be intimidating, but knowledge is your greatest ally. Educate yourself about different investment options, or consider consulting a financial advisor.

Tracking and Adjusting

Set aside time to assess your progress toward your financial goals. If you're falling behind, reevaluate your budget and look for opportunities to cut expenses or increase your income. Life is unpredictable, and financial goals may need to adapt. Be open to adjusting your goals and timeline to accommodate changes in your circumstances.

When you reach a financial goal, celebrate your achievement. Acknowledging your success can boost your motivation and maintain your momentum as you work toward other goals.

Setting and reaching financial goals is an art that requires dedication, planning, and perseverance. By defining your objectives, creating a clear plan, and staying committed, you can transform your financial dreams into realities. Whether you're aiming for a comfortable retirement, a dream vacation, or a debt-free future, the art of setting and achieving financial goals can be your guiding light on the path to financial success. Start your journey today, and watch your financial dreams become accomplishments.

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