Establishing financial goals is just as critical as making
them happen--you have to know what your goals are before you
can figure out how to achieve them. And once you determine
your goals, you need an action plan to make them a reality.
Goal Setting: Step By Step
There is no right way to establish financial goals. However,
our goal setting worksheet and
these steps will definitely help you get started:
- Determine your short-term goals. Think about what
you'd like to achieve in the next three years (buy a house,
pay off credit cards, save $100 a month into an investment
- Determine your long-term goals. Decide what you'd
like to achieve in ten years or more (pay off mortgage,
retire at age 50, buy a second home). In some cases, your
short-term goals will help you achieve your long-term goals.
Make your goals specific. They should be concrete
and measurable. For example, "I want to be rich when I retire"
could become, "I want to be able to spend $5,000 a year
for travel after I retire at age 65."
- Make your goals actionable. What specific steps
will you take to achieve your goal? Perhaps contributing
more to your 401(k) plan or bringing lunch to work instead
of buying it. Whatever your goal may be--it needs an action
plan to make it a reality.
- Take action immediately. Even by just making a
phone call or looking up information, your goals will feel
more real and reachable.
- Make a list of your goals, review it often and share
it with family and friends. Constant reinforcement and
support are invaluable to achieving your goals.
- Don't give up. If things don't happen as you originally
planned, then just redefine your goal or action plan.
MsMoney.com has two tools to help clarify your goals and