Getting what you want doesn't always come easily. Chances are, you'll have to work to reach your goal. Achieving what you want financially -- whether saving to buy a house or for a fun vacation -- requires the same planning, perseverance and know-how.
Goal-setting is pretty simple. A goal is something that you are willing to work for. You can get what you want by planning AND following the plan. Setting achievable -- and SMART -- goals is your first step to success. SMART goals are:
Compare the two sets of goals below. The general goals simply state what you hope or want without specifics to help you along. The SMART goals provide you with specific and measurable targets to work toward both in terms of a dollar amount and timeframe.
|General Goals||SMART Goals|
When setting financial goals, it's important to understand the types of goals you are trying to achieve. In general, there are three types of financial goals, all distinguished by the time it would likely take to achieve them. One of your first goals should be saving for an emergency fund of three to six months of expenses. It is always important to keep that emergency fund on your radar as you're working toward achieving other financial goals.
(Less Than a Year)
(One to Three Years)
(More than Three Years)
Once you've set your financial goals, achieving them requires planning to get to where you want to be. Take these steps to get going:
Set SMART Goals Worksheet
Use the worksheet below to help you outline your goals and a plan to achieve them.
|Goal||Amount Needed||Month & Year Needed||Saving Start Date||Months to Save||Monthly Amount to Save||Ways to Reach Goal|
Source: InCharge Education Foundation
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