Making Your Financial Goals Smarter
I find it so sad when I hear financial goals like “have nice holidays” or “never worry about money”. How will you ever know if you’ve achieved them then? What is a “nice holiday”? If you’re playing a game with the kids or really sinking your teeth into that project in work or have just made a lovely dinner that you’re going to savour…. and you’re not thinking about money, then does that mean that you’ve reached your financial goal? In this episode of Fantastic Female Fridays, I encourage you to make your goals SMARTER. Here’s how…
Specific – make the goal clear and related to one key area of your life that’s important to you. For example, save for a wedding, put a sunny day fund together, apply for a mortgage, clear a piece of debt, get a system together so that I can see everything in a glance.
Measurable – make sure that you would know if it was achieved. For example, save $25,000 for the wedding. Have a $1500 sunny day fund. Apply for a mortgage of €500,000. Clear the £5,000 credit card debt. Create an automated spreadsheet with a budget, debt counter and goal tracker.
Attainable and Realistic – it’s so important to dream. It really is. I’m a big believer in journaling your thoughts, aiming high and pushing your comfort zone. However, it is both important and possible to blend idealism and realism. It will only drain your resilience if you try to save €250 each week when it’s only possible to save €50… and particularly when putting €50 towards a goal is a good achievement!
Timebound – put a date on it! It’s key to ensure that a financial goal has a got a timeframe in mind. Perhaps you want to get married in a year and then, break down your plan to months. Maybe your sunny day plan is a holiday during Winter – break it down to weeks. If it’s a piece of debt, break it down by payslips i.e. I’m going to dedicate 5% of each pay check to clearing the debt and by a certain number of paychecks, I will be clear of the debt and can have both the payment and interest back staying put in my bank account again!
Extending – lots of people forget this one. If your motivation dips down, then you will need a way to pick it back up. You need to know your why. Why are you doing this? Why are you striving towards your financial goal? What is pushing you? In other words, why would this be an extension in your life?
Rewarding – this is the bit that makes it all worthwhile. How are you going to reward yourself? After you put the effort into making this goal a reality, how are you going to savour the enjoyment? I remember that being cognisant of each payment we made towards our wedding represented a part of the occasion that we had worked for. I distinctly remember paying off the credit card and never looking back. I have a clear memory of selling an option on my first stock! All of these were financial goals that I set and enjoyed achieving!
Watch the Entire Fantastic Female Friday Episode
Two more important things to remember:
- Sometimes financial goals have nothing to do with money. That’s right. You read that correctly. If your financial goal is to get a mortgage, then there is a lot of paperwork that you need to fill out, research that you need to do about different service providers and jargon that you need to gain awareness. Therefore, often, moving forward on a financial journey involves building up the momentum from gathering appropriate documentation together and other such non-scary things, so you might be surprised at what you can achieve if you just get started!
- Let VectorVest help you with your financial goals. For example, you might want to generate 3% in dividends from your portfolio. Alternatively, you may want to ensure that your stocks don’t fall below a certain value whether that is through a percentage stop loss, a trailing stop loss or VectorVest’s own proprietary stop loss.
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