Everyone has financial dreams. But the challenging part is to change those dreams into financial goals. It's difficult to take something so enormous and turn it into something you can achieve within a specific timeframe. No one ever finds this easy, even those achieving their goals regularly.
It doesn’t matter what life stage you’re in, you’re likely to have short and long term personal financial goals. Setting tangible and realistic goals, following them and tracking your progress is the key to achieving success.
The first step to reaching your financial goals is determining what your short, mid and long-term personal financial goals are. Some of the most common financial objectives include saving for university, retirement, an emergency fund or for a car. It’s important for you to set goals as it compels you to look at the bigger picture of your personal finance.
Here are a few tips how you can reach your financial goals.
Create a detailed but flexible plan
To start off with, ask yourself a few simple questions: how are you planning to get from where you are to where you want to be? How much time are you allocating yourself to reach this specific goal? What do you have to do to achieve it? Will you work on it on a weekly or monthly basis? It’s best to kick off with a detailed plan. Your plan for achieving that goal should include clear answers to all these questions. It should also allow for some flexibility as you don’t know what the future holds for you. If major life changes occur, it might upend a financial goal. However, many goals are likely to be ended by minor life issues. You shouldn’t let your whole plan fall apart if you struggle with one step of the plan.
Have a realistic plan
How do you add flexibility to your plan? You should make sure your plan is based on reality. Many times people establish saving goals that aren't realistic or achievable. A person who lives paycheque to paycheque isn’t suddenly going to be debt-free in a year. You should instead look at what you can realistically do. When people set goals and look for ways to achieve them, it’s very easy for them to get lost in their own dreams and forget about the importance of realistic goal setting.
Set small goals
Taking small steps is the key to success. If you think your goals are just too big to achieve why not break them up into smaller objectives? This way you can ensure you’ll achieve everything you’ve set out to do. Focusing on shorter timeframes is a powerful way to achieve a financial goal. If you, for instance, want to donate to a charity like Doctors Without Borders, it’s best to set a starting date for your donations to begin. Are you contributing on a monthly or yearly basis? And rather than giving a big amount once, perhaps you can break it down into smaller milestones? Come up with a monthly saving plan. The day-to-day actions you need to take to achieve your saving and donating goal will become clearer if you break your goals down into bite-size chunks.
If you have your goal broken down into smaller ones and milestones, it’s best to automate the entire plan. It’ll be a smart choice to set up an automatic savings debit order at your bank to transfer a specific amount on a monthly basis to a savings account. This’ll help you stay disciplined and focused on your financial goal. It’ll also lock you into a plan that moves you towards your goal without having to make active decisions along the way.
Once your saving routine begins and everything is going well, it can be tempting to tap into that money for other purposes. But you should remain disciplined and set up an account that doesn’t allow you instant access to your savings. If you’re, for instance, saving to donate this money, you should include specific dates in your financial plan. That way you can tell the bank by when you need access to the money. For saving and achieving your financial goals, it’s all about discipline. It’s up to you to use a savings account at a bank or an investment account at any company. As long as you’re not able to use this money when you feel like it. That’s what an emergency fund is for.
These five tips can help you towards almost any financial goal. All you need is some commitment and discipline. And once your financial goal is set, you can focus your energy towards achieving it.