Last Updated January 20, 2021
Did you know that those with goals are 10x more likely to succeed? With statistics like that, it’s clear how important setting financial goals really are. So, are you ready to increase your chances of achieving your dreams? Find out how to set financial goals that you can actually accomplish.
What Is A Financial Goal?
A financial goal is something you hope to achieve with your money. They aren’t one size fits all, because everyone has different hopes and priorities when it comes to their money.
In general, there are three different types of financial goals that you can have: 1) short-term; 2) mid-term; and 3) long term goals. Let’s break down what I mean by that…
1. Short-Term Financial Goals
Short-term financial goals are usually goals you wish to accomplish in less than 3 years. Some common examples of short-term goals are building your emergency fund, paying down high-interest debt, or saving for a wedding or vacation.
2. Mid-Term Financial Goals
Medium-term financial goals usually take about 3-10 years to achieve. Some examples of mid-term financial goals may be saving to buy a car, saving for a down payment on a house, or paying off your high-interest debt.
3. Long-Term Financial Goals
Long-term goals usually take more than 10 years to achieve. Some examples of long-term goals may be saving for retirement, saving for your child’s college tuition, or paying off a mortgage.
How To Set Financial Goals
According to a study done by Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals. To achieve your goals, they need to be written out and planned for.
When setting your goals, use the acronym SMART. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
You want to make your goals as specific as possible. For example, rather than saying, “I want to save more money,” you should say “l want to save at least $600.” As you can see, the second example is much more specific.
Make your goals measurable so that you can track your progress and know when you’ve achieved your goal. Using my previous example of saving at least $600, this goal is also measurable. The goal of saving at least $600 is measurable because you will know you achieved your goal once you reach $600.
You want to make your goals achievable. You don’t want to set a goal that is impossible.
For example, setting a goal of becoming an Olympic swimmer is almost impossible for me. I am in my 30’s and I don’t know how to swim! Even if I devoted my life to swimming at this point, I could not honestly see myself achieving that goal one day.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t set goals that are challenging; however, your goals should be achievable. If your goals are too unrealistic or not achievable, you will probably give up on that goal in due time.
Your goals should be relevant to your overall plans in life. Achieving your goals should be contributing something positive or provides a benefit to your life.
Going back to our previous example of saving at least $600, achieving this goal would definitely provide benefits to your life personally. Saving more money also aligns with your overall financial goals. Since this goal is relevant to your overall plans in life, you would be more motivated to accomplish it.
Finally, you want your goal to have a time limit where you set an end date to achieve your goal. For example, to improve our previous goal of saving at least $600, you could say, “I want to save at least $600 in the next 12 months.”
You would be much more motivated to accomplish your goal if you know you have a set amount of time to accomplish it. Without adding that target time limit, you may only save $50 here and there when you can. But knowing you only have 12 months to accomplish this goal, you would be much more disciplined to try and save $50 every month.
What Are Some Good Financial Gaols?
It’s hard to say what a “good” financial goal is because it really depends on your situation. However, here are some examples of financial goals that most people would like to achieve:
- Create And Stick To A Budget
- Increase My Net Worth
- Buy A House
- Save At Least 10% Of My Income Every Month
- Have A Fully Funded Emergency Fund
- Increase My Income
- Pay Off My Credit Cards
- Develop Other Streams Of Passive Income
- Reduce My Expenses
- Increase My Credit Score
- Break Bad Spending Habits
- Increase or Start Investing
- Start A Business
- Buy A Car
- Pay For My (Or My Child’s) Wedding In Cash
- Save For A Vacation
- Pay Off My Car
- Pay For My Child’s Education
- Retire Comfortably/Financial Freedom
- Pay Off My House
What Is The Most Important Financial Goal I Should Set First?
The first and most important financial goal anyone should have is to have a working budget.
Before trying to achieve any of your other financial goals, it is crucial that you have a functioning budget first. Creating a budget can help you feel more in control of your finances and let you save money for your financial goals. If you want to improve your finances, the first thing you need to do is know where your money is going.
If you’re just getting started with making a budget, you can use this FREE Monthly Budget Printable.
If you want something a little more advance, I personally use these budget templates every month to track my spending. It is the system I’m currently using for my budget, and it has helped me save over 50% of my income every month.
You can read my detailed article “How To Use A Monthly and Yearly Household Budget Spreadsheet” to learn more about how to set up a budget that actually works.
How Do You Achieve Your Financial Goals?
Now that you know how to set realistic financial goals and have an idea of the goals you would like to achieve, I will show you the systems I’m currently using. Hopefully, this will help and work for you also.
The systems I’m using right now to set financial goals are: my Financial Goal Planner, Law Of Attraction Planner, and Goals On Track software.
Financial Goal Planner
I created the Financial Goal Planner because I couldn’t find a planner I liked specifically dedicated to your finances.
The Financial Goal Planner is a carefully curated planner filled with 37 pages worth of printables to help you make a plan for financial success and crush your financial goals.
With this planner, you can set up your budget, save more money, and make a clear plan to get out of debt faster than you ever thought possible. This goal planner has everything you need to be productive, manage your time wisely, organize your finances, and set money goals.
I highly recommend you check out the Financial Goal Planner because the value is AMAZING and it has made a difference in my life!
You will save money because you never have to buy another planner again. Keep the files for life and reprint the pages you need—or keep it in the digital format and use it with a note-taking app as I do.
Having an action plan in place allowed me to be financially free in 6 short years (I initially thought it was going to take me 15 years—so I was able to meet my goal in less than HALF the time).
I think this is a solid planner you can use if you don’t already have a daily planner. It is also good to use in conjunction with any planner you already have.
Although I already purchased a daily planner that I’m pretty satisfied with (my Law of Attraction Goal Planner which I reviewed below), I still found value in the Financial Goal Planner. I printed out parts of the Financial Goal Planner to supplement the physical planner I already have or I sometimes use it digitally (which makes it easier to carry than my physical planner).
You will love the Financial Goal Planner because:
- You never have to buy another planner again because you can keep reusing the file.
- You get a lot of value for the price.
- You don’t have to wait until January to use it.
- It’s so much more than a goal planner. There are printables to help you with time management, productivity, and money management.
- You can customize by printing/using the printables you need to make a planner how you want it.
I would definitely recommend the Financial Goal Planner to all of my readers. You can read more about the Financial Goal Planner in my article “5 Ways To Be More Productive: Financial Goal Planner.”
Law Of Attraction Planner
The Law Of Attraction planner is designed to increase productivity and happiness! I highly recommend the Law Of Attraction Goal Planner. You can get a dated or undated version of this planner—so you don’t have to wait until January to get started.
When I used this planner, I definitely found myself being more productive and happier. I like that this planner forces you to envision all the things you want to accomplish—not just things for this year, but throughout your lifetime.
You can read a more detailed review of this planner in my article “How A Financial Goal Planner Will Save You Money.” It also includes a video at the bottom of the post so you can get a better look inside the planner.
Keep in mind, The Law Of Attraction Planner is a physical product you order. If you’re interested in a digital product, check out my Financial Goal Planner or GoalsOnTrack.
Goals On Track
Goals On Track is a web-based electronic planner that makes it easy for you to set SMART goals.
You can break your goals down to smaller sub-goals or tasks. You can then break down your sub-goals again into tasks. This helps you make your goal more specific.
Next, it has a section of how you can track your progress. You can track your progress by completed tasks, sub-goals, or manually updating your progress. This helps, with making your goal measurable so you can track your progress.
When creating a goal, it also asks you your vision for your goal and what it will look like when you reach this goal. In addition, it asks about your purpose and why you want to achieve your goal. Finally, it asks about the obstacles you may face that stop you from reaching your goal and the resources you can use to overcome those obstacles.
These thought-provoking questions make you get specific about your goals, see if it is achievable, and understand how it is relevant to your overall plans in life.
Finally, when creating a goal, it has a “start date” and “end date” of when you want to achieve your goal. This allows you to have a time limit and an end date to achieve your goal.
How To Take Action on Your Financial Goals
You will be able to achieve your financial goals quicker by having your goals written down and planned for.
You must take action if you wish to achieve your dream of financial freedom. Every day you need to do something that moves you towards your financial goal.
Start by asking yourself what do you want out of life? Where do you want to be next year, five years, ten years or thirty years from now? Make goals and prioritize them.
I would start by establishing one big long-term goal, and then break it down to smaller more specific goals or milestones. People who identify their goals and work towards them usually accomplish their goals, and accomplish them quicker.
To increase your chances of financial success, you have to set financial goals. Make sure all of your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely). Now that you know how to set financial goals, it’s time to take action! Invest the time and set up a system that works for you.
The systems I use right now to set financial goals are my Financial Goal Planner, Law Of Attraction Planner, and Goals On Track software. Give one (or all) of those a try or find something else that works for you.
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A great read!
I believe the main reason for out of control spending is people not keeping track of where their money is going.
The first step when it comes to financial planning is establishing a budget. Write down the amount of money you earn and your monthly expenses. Allocate funds for each necessity and set aside some money for a rainy day.
Not only will this help you keep track of your expenses, but it will also ensure you have some extra cash in the bank for an emergency.
Thanks, I totally agree!