The start of a new year is a great time to set financial goals of any type. Enlist the help of your family members, and make financial goal planning a family project.
When should you start financial goal setting?
It’s never too early to start planning for financial goals. At the same time, if you’ve neglected to plan in the past, there’s no time like the present to start.
Why are setting financial goals important?
• It sets importance on reaching a goal.
• Demonstrates a good example for kids regarding money management.
• Helps your family have an overall plan for large purchases and to achieve your dreams.
How do you get started setting financial goals?
Experts suggest the following steps:
1. Determine short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. According to this site,
Short-term goals can typically be achieved within 2 years. Example: A family vacation.
Mid-term goals might take 2-5 years to reach. Example: Buying a house.
Long-term goals can take as long as 5 or more years to reach. Example: Saving for your children’s college education.
2. Complete a worksheet to determine how to meet your specific goals. This step helps you see how much you need to save and for how long in order to reach your goal.
3. Discuss with your family how you can achieve your goals. Whether it’s ways to earn more or spend less, or a combination of both, enlisting the help of all family members is important.
Check out this previous post regarding money matters and kids for earning and saving ideas: http://blog.familywize.org/2014/05/money-matters-for-kids.html.
What are key elements of achieving financial goals?
• Write it down. Committing a goal to paper helps you see the actual goal as well as ways to achieve it clearly.
• Picture it. A photograph or illustration of an end goal – a specific vacation destination, a new car, or receiving a college diploma – helps your entire family visualize the goal, which makes it more realistic and attainable.
• Enlist the help of your family. Encourage kids to come up with their own ideas for saving or earning to help reach family goals.
• Re-evaluate. Take time to reassess your goals, evaluate how much you’ve saved or earned.
• Track progress. Whether you use a chalkboard or a computerized chart, have some way to keep your family informed of progress.
When setting financial goals, remember:
• Be realistic. It will be frustrating for your entire family if you set a goal that’s unrealistic.
• Be flexible. Unexpected expenses occur with the best plans.
• Keep your eyes on the end goal.
• Setbacks do occur. Don’t let them discourage you.
Where can you learn more?
Check out sites such as www.financialplan.about.com and www.dummies.com/how-to for more information on setting and realizing financial goals.
In some cases, families choose to enlist the help of a financial planner to assist with their goal-planning needs. As is the case when you’re using the services of any professional, it’s always advisable to check credentials and references when considering a financial planner.
Live Healthy .Live Smart
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Monday, January 13, 2014
Is it possible to start a New Year and not set goals? I know, it seems trite, but reality is, there is something about a fresh calendar to give us new perspective. So even if New Year’s resolutions don’t appeal to you, there’s nothing wrong with taking a second look at what we want for this upcoming month, year, or even life! Are your goals things that can be accomplished? How are you laying out your benchmarks? Will you know if you are wandering off track?
One of the things I teach students returning to school is to set “SMART” goals. concept often taught in business schools and conferences, since I’ve been teaching it, it’s gotten into my daily life. It’s helped in surprising ways, and probably in ways I don’t even know yet.
So how might you use this for your life? With these simple tools, you can adjust your goals so they are achievable – and you’ll know you are on the right path to getting them done.
Here are the basics:
S – Specific. Are your goals specific? That might seem like a “well, duh” statement, but think about it. Is your goal something like, “I want to get a better job?” While that is narrowing it down a little, there’s still plenty of room for error. What defines a better job? What would it look like? Get really specific with your goal. “I want to find a job in Human Resources, as an assistant or above, earning $_____/year.” Now that’s specific.
M – Measurable. Are your goals measurable? If you want to complete your goal by the end of the year, then yes, it is. But what if it will take less – or more – time than that? You might say something like: “I will add one new vegetable or fruit to my menu each week.” That’s measurable, because you can review your grocery receipts to keep yourself accountable.
A – Achievable. Are your goals things that can be accomplished with the skills you have? Do you need to take a class? Have other people done it? What tools do you need to make it happen? So if you want to quit smoking or lose weight, examine the methods at your disposal and what you think will work best for you.
R – Realistic. Sometimes we set goals, and they aren’t possible in the given time frame, or with the skills we have. Suppose you want to learn to master the guitar – in months. While it’s admirable, and you may have significant skill in musi, given the time you have available and that time frame, it might not be possible to master the guitar. In situations like this, we evaluate the time or task we’ve chosen, and adjust it accordingly. “I will master the guitar so that I can play in front of a live audience in years, and commit to taking lessons weekly until that goal is accomplished.”
T – Time-frame oriented. All goals must have a time frame. It’s not enough to say, “I will quit smoking.” Let’s face it – that could happen anytime…or never! Instead, try, “I will quit smoking by April 1, 2014.” Now you can set mini-goals each week to lessen the amount of cigarettes you are smoking and make that goal a reality.
SMART goals aren’t hard to do, but they do take a little work. Often, we get frustrated because we aren’t accomplishing the things we want to. But if we take a moment, evaluate their SMART elements, we find that we simply need to adjust our direction, give it some parameters, and voilà! We have victory!
What are goals you are working on that need some fine-turning using the SMART goal theory? How have you succeeded in using it?