Spending Plan - Financial Goals
To help prioritize your spending, think about these questions: Where is your money allocated? Where do you want to spend the money? Where do you want to be in two years? Five years? 10 years?
Managing your money will be a part of those goals. Design your spending plan to maximize every penny available.
Do you have financial dreams or goals? While they may sound like the same thing, they're not. A financial dream is something you hope for; a financial goal is something you've planned for. And it's the planning – not the hoping – that makes things happen.
A financial goal is something you intend to achieve. A financial dream is something you hope to achieve. This doesn’t mean that your financial dreams can’t come true, but there are slightly more difficult to achieve. Dreams begin with “I wish.” Goals begin with “I will.”
You achieve your goals by setting a specific deadline, dollar amount, or task and then create a spending plan that you can follow to completion. Setting goals is a process and each one requires a few key pieces of information in order to be effective.
The steps in creating your financial goals are:
- Identify the goal.
- Set a deadline for achieving the goal and be as specific as possible.
- Estimate the cost of the goal, either in terms of time and/or money.
- Break down the total cost into monthly amounts required.
- Identify the specific actions or tasks you’ll take to reach the goal.
- Track your progress.
Goals should be set for the short, mid, and long term. For example:
- I will save $25 per week for eight weeks to purchase a pair of retro Air Jordans.
- I will save $15 per week for 10 weeks for my senior class dues.
- I will save $42 per month for three years to build my $1,500 emergency fund.
- I will put an extra $20 per month on my credit card payment for four years and pay off my credit card sooner.
- I will add $50 per month toward my student loan and pay them off in 10 years.
- I will contribute $430 each month to reach my annual maximum of $5,000 towards my IRA.
Use a financial goal worksheet to start developing your goals and get a visual picture of what you want to accomplish and how to go about it.