The start of the new year is a good time to set goals for yourself and reassess your previous goals, including your financial goals. However, if you're like most of us, your goals are easier to set than execute. To help, we're sharing steps you can take to help you gain clarity on what your financial goals mean to you and create a doable plan for success.
Step 1: Think about what you want and why you want it.
Financial planning goals are also lifetime goals, because in order to achieve most of your lifetime goals, you'll need sufficient funds. So, think about what your lifetime or lifestyle goals are and why they are important to you. Write down your goals (i.e. retiring early, owning a home or vacation home, travel, college, starting your own business, etc.) and really think about why you want something. Knowing your "why" will help you navigate obstacles, challenges, and tough decisions that may come along as you work towards your dreams.
Step 2: Assess where you are now.
Before you create a plan to achieve your goals, take the time to assess where your finances are right now. You'll want to have accurate figures for your income, budget, debts, and net worth. By doing this, you'll be able to better understand your financial health and construct an effective financial plan that fits your lifestyle and prioritizes your goals.
Step 3: Create a plan with steps.
If you discover that your spending habits are exceeding your income, work on establishing healthier financial habits before creating a plan for your larger goals: create and stick to a personal budget, build an emergency fund, implement a solid debt repayment strategy, and start saving regularly for retirement.
Once you've done those things, you can create a workable plan to achieve your long term financial and life goals. Your plan should include small, manageable steps with your short-term goals supporting and building up to your capstone goal. Consider structuring these steps in three-month, one-year, or three-year increments. Having short, closer time frames makes it easier to map out actionable steps without becoming overwhelmed and losing sight of your ultimate goals. Think of it like training to run a marathon you have to slowly build your body up to sustain running long distances. If you don't train, you're likely to lose gas and come up short. In this case, you're building and shaping your finances, little-by-little, to achieve a greater goal.
Step 4: Keep track.
Take note of every time you achieve a step or goal of any size and celebrate your progress. Tracking your success will keep your ultimate objectives clear and at the front of your mind. Monitoring your progress also gives you a chance to check yourself and make sure you're staying on track and making any needed adjustments like an increase/decrease in pay or an unexpected expense.
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Need help planning your goals and making sure you're on the road to financial success? Take our personalized wellness quiz to see if you're on track to meet your financial goals.
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As a valued member of Members First Credit Union of Florida, we want to know how we can better serve you by improving the products and services available to you. To do this, we ask that you take a moment to answer this short survey to let us know what we can do to make our deposit accounts more attractive and beneficial to you.
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