How to Set and Achieve Your Financial Goals
No matter how much money you make, there are always going to be purchases that are out of reach. Setting smart financial goals helps you set up for future success by encouraging healthy spending habits, forcing you to plan, and requiring you to evaluate what’s important to you.
What are smart financial goals? Smart financial goals are made to help you budget, save, and spend money smart to accomplish the things you want in life. Money, when used correctly, can help you achieve your aspirations, such as traveling more, being secure in retirement, or buying a house. Here are some ways to help determine what your goals are and how you can achieve them.
Determine Your Priorities
If you aren’t sure what budget goals to work toward, take a moment to define what matters to you. Do you dream of owning your own home? If so, it would make sense to save up for a down payment. Maybe you just want to get out of debt. Having a clear goal that’s relevant to you and your current life stage will make it easier to stick to a plan.
Don’t think you can only have one goal, either! Create a mix of short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.1
Short-term budget goals take under a year to achieve. These might include taking a vacation or establishing an emergency fund.
Mid-term budget goals could take as long as a few years to achieve. These could include buying a car or paying off credit card debt or student loan debt.
Long-term budget goals may take 5+ years to achieve. These might include saving for retirement or your child’s college education.
Five years may seem like a long time, but the years are going to pass regardless of whether you use them to make progress toward your goals. You may as well make every month count so that in five years, you’re that much closer to the lifestyle you want.
Lay Out the Steps
Now that you have some goals in mind, it’s time to lay out the details. What is a realistic timeframe for you to achieve your goals? How much will they cost? How will you be able to track your progress? Make sure your goals are measurable, achievable, and timely. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to stay organized and on track.2
Evaluate Your Budget
Are you putting enough money away each month to achieve your goals on time? Consider setting up automated payments into your savings account to give yourself one less thing to worry about. If you’re not already tracking your cash flow, planning for how you spend your money each month can make working toward your goals a lot easier. Plus, you can build in some flexibility for the things that matter most instead of just cutting expenses to reach your goal as quickly as possible.
Make Adjustments as Necessary
Staying accountable is half the battle when working toward personal financial goals. If you find you’re not making as much headway as you’d like, tighten your spending. If there’s nowhere you can cut corners, consider increasing your income instead by picking up a side job or selling clothes or belongings you no longer need. Similarly, if your deadlines are passing you by, it may be time to set more realistic timeframes. Slow and steady changes are the best way to develop habits that last a lifetime.
Don’t forget to celebrate your progress as you hit your goals.2 You’ve worked hard and you deserve a pat on the back!
Achieve Your Goals With LendNation
When you’re experiencing money struggles, turn to LendNation for help getting your budget back on track. Whether you’re dealing with a costly situation, or you need cash fast, LendNation offers loans that can get you out of a bind. Stop by one of our many locations or fill out our online application to get started today.