Having financial goals gives you something to look forward to, something to strive for, and something to help you maintain excitement about. But achieving them isn’t as easy as dreaming about them.
In order to achieve your financial goals, you must create an action plan to go along with them. Without an action plan, your money will seem to disappear each month without getting you any closer to where you want to be. Here’s how to create one that gets you to your goals:
1. Make a List
In order to create an action plan for achieving your financial goals, you must first make a list of all the goals you have that need money to be possible.
When you make your list, it’s important that you don’t just consider what you want right now. The bigger goals (the ones that will take longer to achieve) are just as important and necessary to be included. Otherwise, you’ll only ever chip away at the smaller, more immediate desires and never see your bigger goals realized.
Consider the following when making your financial goals list:
- Things you’d like to have within the next 12 months
- Things you’d like to have within the next 5 years
- Things you’d like to have within the next 10 years
2. Determine the Order of Priority
Now that you have a full picture of the financial goals you’d like to achieve, it’s time to rank them in order of importance.
Keep your list separated by the three categories listed above (<12 months, 12mo-5 years, 5-10 years). For each list, rank how important each goal is with 1 being the most important.
3. Create a Top 9 List
Combine the top three goals from each of your lists, and rank them in order of importance. This helps you ensure you’re working towards your large goals while also working towards the smaller, shorter-term goals, so you never feel like you’re just spinning your wheels.
Your new list of your Top 9 Financial Goals will be what you use to create your action plan.
While you may have far more than just 9 goals still remaining from your first set of lists, this process helps you determine what’s really important for you right now. Majority of people struggle with focusing their financial attention where they truly want it and waste so much time and money spreading it all over. By creating your Top 9 Financial Goals, you help to focus your energy where it will count the most.
4. Create an Action Plan for Achieving Your Financial Goals
Beginning with the #1 goal on your Top 9 Financial Goals list, estimate as closely as possible how much it will cost to achieve that goal.
From there, you can easily determine how much money you can set aside each month to start chipping away at that goal. Whether it’s from reducing the amount of times you eat out each month, opting to save on gas by taking the city bus instead, or just allocating extra money you typically spend to a savings account, there are multiple ways you can put extra cents towards your financial goals.
Saving to achieve your financial goals takes dedication and commitment. Keeping your list where you can see it every day is helpful in keeping you focused on the end goal.
Once you’ve achieved goal #1, it’s time to move to goal #2.
Bonus Tip: If any of your goals involve paying down debt, once that goal is achieved, that opens up even more income to put towards the next goal on your list!