“Do you have financial dreams or financial 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 turns financial desires into financial reality.”
Goals or dreams, let’s plan today for you to set priorities and act on them.
Consider the following:
- Narrow your objectives– Clearly identify your goals, and why they matter to you. Decide which ones are most important. By concentrating your efforts, that gives you a better chance of achieving what matters most.
- Focus first on the goals that matter- To accomplish primary goals, you will often need to put desirable but less important ones on the back burner.
- Be prepared for conflicts- Even worthy goals often conflict with one another. Always prioritize your goals and objectives.
- Put time on your side- The most important ally you have in reaching your goals is time. Money stashed in interest-earning savings accounts or invested in stocks and bonds grows at a compounded rate. The more time you have, the higher your chance of success. Your age is a big factor – younger people can invest aggressively than older ones. Generally, younger people can take greater risks than older people, given their longer investment horizon.
- Choose carefully- In drawing up your list of goals, you should look for things that will help you feel financially secure, happy or fulfilled. Some of the items that wind up on such lists include building an emergency fund, getting out of debt and paying kids’ tuition. Once you have your list together, you need to rank the items in order of importance
- Include family members- If you have a spouse or significant other, make sure that person is part of the goal-setting process. Children, too, should have some say in goals that affect them.
- Start now- The longer you wait to identify and begin working toward your goals, the more difficulty you’ll have reaching them. And the longer you wait, the longer you postpone the advantage of compounding your money.
- Sweat the big stuff- Once you have prioritized your list of goals, keep your spending on course. Whenever you make a large payment for anything, ask yourself: “Is this taking me nearer to my primary goals – or leading me further away from them?” If a big expense doesn’t get you closer to your goals, try to defer or reduce it. If taking a grand cruise steals money from your kids’ college fund, maybe you should settle for a weekend getaway.
- Be prepared for change- Your needs and objectives will change as you age, so you should probably re-assess your priorities at least every three years.