Quickstart Guide To Effective Financial Goals

Happy New Year! Now is the perfect time to set goals for 2019. Our dreams can come to life when we break them down into achievable goals. When setting goals, it’s best to explore various areas of our lives and map out what we aim to achieve so that we can live well-balanced lives. Some of these areas in life include our careers, finances, family lives, health, romantic relationships, and friendships.

Let’s be honest, we all loosely mention goals aloud, like “I want to have $20,000 in my savings account by the end of the year. However, in order to actually achieve goals like these, they must be S.M.A.R.T. What is a S.M.A.R.T goal, you ask? It is a goal that is:

Specific (the more detailed, the better)

Measurable (there should be a way to evaluate progress)

Achievable (create a plan by writing it down to map it out)

Relevant (goals should be tailored to your life)

Time-Bound (set a time-frame for accomplishing goals)

If goals do not meet this criteria, they are less of “goals” and more of wishes or dreams. For example, many people aspire to get out of debt and take control of their finances; however, this is a very broad goal that can usually only be executed with a plan. Do not get me wrong, it is a great goal to have, but it will not progress without a solid plan to support it and carry it through. If one makes it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited, the goal is likely to be achieved.

Here is an example of what a S.M.A.R.T goal looks like:

A 43-year-old single mother whose kids are in college wants to be debt-free in three years so she could save for her retirement. She has $90,000 in debt, and calculates that she needs to pay $2,500 a month for 36 months to be debt-free. Once the debt is gone, she can contribute $2,500 towards her retirement until she is 65 years old. By that age, she will likely have $700,000 in her retirement account, along with her paid-off house where her children and grandchildren can spend time with her. She has both a debt payment chart and a retirement savings chart hanging on her fridge as a reminder of the goals she is working toward because making her goal tangible helps her keep track of it and achieve it.

Goals are great to have, but they are made achievable when they are S.M.A.R.T. Unfortunately though, some people avoid setting goals at all because they have anxiety about potential failure. However, I want to urge everyone to look at failure in a different light: we sometimes need to fail so that we can succeed. Think of failure as an experiment. It is bound to happen on your success journey. William Churchill once said, “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” It’s never too late to start, but it is always too late to wait.

On that note, I hope that you set some effective goals for this year! And if you’re a female physician, I can help you with your debt-free, wealthy living goals. Does this interest you? If so, be sure to click here to book a free 60-minute coaching consultation session.

Let’s make 2019 a prosperous year!