When it comes to personal finances, everyone’s situation is unique. No one has the same income level, priorities, or lifestyle. We all have our own personal goals and things we want to achieve in our lifetime. Unfortunately, wishful thinking, or winging it, often won’t get us where we want to be. That is why clearly established financial goals are so important.
Financial goals remind you of the reasons why you are choosing a particular financial journey, and with the end in mind, a roadmap can be created that leads you to the achievement of those short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.
Setting your financial goals requires that you:
1. Figure out what matters to you and what you want to achieve during various phases of your life. Examples of goals include:
- Debt elimination
- Automotive purchase
- Starting a business
- Home purchase
- Home improvement/renovation
- Starting a family
- Kids college education
- Dream vacation
- Secure retirement
You can also utilize our Phases of Life Tool to help generate your financial goal ideas if you are having a difficult time identifying current and future financial needs.
2. After you identify your goals, sort out what goals you wish to quickly achieve, will take a bit of time, or will be a long-term project.
3. Estimate the financial resources you will need to reach each goal.
Answering the above will arm you with the necessary information needed to begin the development of your personally created, or professionally developed, financial plan.
IMPORTANT: Don’t confuse establishing financial goals with the process of financial planning. A financial goal will tell you what the result is that you are trying to achieve. A financial plan contains your financial goals and how you plan to achieve them. Having a good financial planning process, whether it is planning that you do yourself or with the help from experts, will assist you in developing strategies to reach your goals. That is where the next step, step 3, of this “Preparing Your Financial Plan” roadmap comes in.