38639932_sGoals & Priorities

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:

  1. 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 account).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.
  5. Take action immediately. Even by just making a phone call or looking up information, your goals will feel more real and reachable.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 objectives: