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Reaching Financial Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jenna Taubel

Jenna Taubel About The Author

Feb 6, 2024 4:45:00 AM

In today's fast-paced world, reaching financial goals has become more important than ever. Setting financial goals not only gives you a clear direction and purpose, but it also helps you make better financial choices and stay motivated.

How to Be Successful in Reaching Financial Goals

Financial goals provide a roadmap for your future, helping you prioritize your spending, save for important milestones, pay down debt quickly, and invest wisely. By setting financial goals, you can measure your progress and celebrate your achievements along the way, which boosts your confidence and keeps you motivated to push forward. 

Setting financial goals is the key to achieving financial success, because when you do not have clear goals, it becomes difficult to make informed decisions and stay focused on your financial journey. Setting financial goals helps you develop a sense of financial discipline. It requires you to evaluate your current financial situation, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary changes to achieve your goals. Now, let's dive into the step-by-step guide on how to set and achieve your financial goals.

family reaching financial goals a step by step guide

Step 1: Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Before setting financial goals, it's important to review your current financial situation. This involves taking an honest look at your income, expenses, assets, and debts. By taking time to review your current situation it will help you understanding where you stand financially and will give you a baseline to work from to help you determine which money goals are realistic and achievable.

How to assess your current finances

Begin by determining your net worth, which is the difference between your assets (like cash, investments, and property) and your liabilities (such as loans, credit card debt, and mortgages). When you go through this exercise, you are essentially answering the question "Do I owe more than I own?"  While there is no one size fits all answer to what your net worth should be, a healthy net worth would indicate that you do indeed own more than you owe

Next, take some time to track your expenses for a few months. This will give you a clear idea of where your hard-earned money is being spent. You can split your expenses into different groups, separating your needs from your wants. This will help you see the areas where you can cut back or save more. Additionally, it's worth looking at your income and find new ways to boost your earnings. This could mean asking for a raise at work or starting a side hustle to bring in some extra cash.

Once you have a clear understanding of your current financial situation, you can move on to the next step of defining your appropriate financial goals.

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Step 2: Define Your Financial Goals

Defining your financial goals is the next step towards achieving them. Start by listing out your goals and categorize them into the following types of goals:

  • Short-term financial goals
  • Medium-term financial goals
  • Long-term financial goals

Here are some examples of financial goals for each of these categories:

  • Short-term goals may include building an emergency fund, paying off credit card debt, or saving for a vacation.
  • Medium-term goals could involve buying a car, funding a child's education, or saving for a down payment on a house.
  • Long-term goals might include saving for retirement, starting a business, or achieving financial independence.

Additionally, prioritize your goals based on their importance and urgency. For example, achieving financial independence is an important long term goal, but a more urgent short-term goal may be paying off your debts.

If you're just starting out with financial goal setting, it can be really beneficial to focus on one goal at a time. This approach can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of successfully achieving your financial goals. Also, keep in mind that it's perfectly fine to make adjustments and revisions to your goals as your life changes.steps to take to reach financial goals first alliance credit union

Step 3: Break Down Your Goals into Smaller Steps

To make your financial goals more manageable and increase your chances of reaching them, it's important to break the larger goal down into smaller, achievable steps. You can do this by dividing your goals into smaller milestones that you can work towards on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis.

Example of Setting a Smaller Step 

Let's imagine that your long-term goal is to save $100,000 for retirement in 20 years. Here's how you might break it down in to smaller financial steps and milestones.

  • You can break this multi-year goal down into an annual financial goal of saving $5,000 per year.
  • Then, you can break it down a little further by planning to save around $417 per month.
  • If you get paid twice per month, you can break it down even more and aim to save about $208 each paycheck.

By breaking down your goals into smaller steps, you can set clear targets and easily track your progress. Don't forget to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Recognizing and rewarding yourself for reaching milestones will help you stay motivated and engaged throughout the process. 

Step 4: Create a Realistic Action Plan

To make your financial goals a reality, it's important to create a practical action plan. Begin by identifying the specific steps you need to take to reach each financial goal. For instance, if your goal is to save $417 per month for retirement, you might need to consider reducing how much you spend, find ways to increase your income, or automate your savings.

If you have goals that are complex, like getting started with investing or starting a business, you may need to consider seeking professional advice or guidance to help you determine a realistic action plan. 

Additionally, an important part of creating a realistic action plan for reaching financial goals is to set aside time to review and adjust your plan as needed. It's completely normal for life circumstances and priorities to change, so it's important to remain flexible and adaptable with your financial goals. Don't let yourself become discouraged if changes to your plan need to be made along the way.

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Final Thoughts for Reaching Financial Goals

Setting financial goals is the first step towards reaching financial success. When you have clear goals and a well-defined plan, you can make smart financial decisions that get you closer to where you want go in life. If you need help reaching your financial goals connect with the Member Advisors at First Alliance Credit Union.  Our team is here to help you start setting your financial goals, so that you can work towards financial success. 

We do our best to provide helpful information but we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article, under no circumstance does the information provided constitute legal advice. You are responsible for independently verifying the information if you intend to use it in any way. Additionally, the content is not intended to be reflective of First Alliance Credit Union’s products or services, for accurate and complete details about our product and service information you must speak to an advisor at First Alliance Credit Union.