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The Observer Paper 10/22/14

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Define financial goals

Financial goals inspire, motivate and mobilize us into action. They keep us on track during tough months and help us avoid unnecessary impulse spending that can have a negative impact on our finances. 

And setting a goal is the easy part. Sticking to that goal is where the challenge begins. 

Unforeseen expenses, untimely bills and material temptations are part of daily life. Only those who are serious about overcoming these roadblocks are truly ready to achieve their financial objectives. 

How to Set a Goal

Don’t wait to set your financial goals. Grab your past few bank statements, a piece of paper and a pencil, and get busy.

Write down where every one of your pennies have went over the past couple of months and organize them into sections like “necessary bills,” “entertainment” and “eating out.” 

Determine which one of these segments have some wiggle room and set a goal to decrease similar spending next month. 

Short and long-term goals

When it comes to finances, you should have short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be a plan to pay off a credit card or save enough to put a down payment on a new house. 

What types of purchases or payoffs are you looking to accomplish in the next six to 12 months? Put them down on paper and keep track of monthly progress toward your goal.

And stay dedicated. Even an extra $20 saved from eating in on a Friday night can go a long way toward achieving your goal and building your confidence in your ability to save. 

Be Realistic

If you earn $3,000 month, it probably isn’t a realistic goal to shove $2,000 of your income into savings every 30 days. Be honest with yourself and choose a number that you can achieve within your short- or long-term target.

If you have more than one financial goal, it is probably best to choose a primary one that receives most of your attention. This will help keep you focused on where to most effectively distribute your income. 

And remember to think about the long term. Growing your savings can seem like a sacrifice in the short term, but the more you sacrifice now, the more wealth you’ll be able to achieve. You’ll be living a much more secure, financially rewarding life in the future if you take the right steps today.

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