Start the New Year off on the right foot financially to set a positive tone for the rest of the year. Whether you need to focus on debt reduction or creating an emergency fund, it’s time to get to work. Learn how to set good financial goals now to stay on track.
3 Steps to Set Good Financial Goals
Every goal isn’t created equally. Taking time to set good financial goals is key to success.
Step 1: Get Your Affairs In Order
A financial baseline is an important first step when it comes to setting goals. How can you get anywhere without knowing where you’re coming from? To get started, make sure you know the following information:
- Current budget and spending habits
- Life goals (buying a home, marriage, retirement, travelling…)
Once you know the details, like consumer debt owed and when you want to retire, you can move to goal planning.
Step 2: Write Out SMART Goals
To create a really good goal, focus on making them SMART. Let’s say you want to work on debt reduction. Here is an example of what your SMART goal should look like:
S = Specific; I will pay off $5k in unsecured consumer debt
M = Measurable; I will set aside $100 per month for that payment
A = Achievable; I can achieve this if I cut back on my expenses, my cable TV and my cell phone bill
R = Realistic; Instead of buying books or renting movies I will use my local library and attend free events
T = Timely; I will have my credit card debt paid off in 30 months
Ascribing specific details and measurements to your goals will take some time, but it will ultimately make you much more likely to succeed. You may want to break your goals down further into short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.
Step 3: Be Accountable
Writing down your goals is extremely important for your chances of accomplishing those goals. Not only are you bringing your goals into clear focus outside of your brain, but they exist for others to see as well. Debt reduction isn’t an easy feat; having someone in your corner can go a long way, although it may be hard to admit your debt publicly.
Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page or consider having an accountability partner. A partner can be there to keep you honest and on track, provide encouragement, and celebrate with you!
Follow these three steps to make the most out of your financial goal planning. For more resources on budgeting and financial planning, check out ACCC’s Budgeting Resources.
If you need additional help working through your current finances and goal planning, speak to a credit counselor today at 800-769-3571.