Setting goals for anything in life is easy, achieving your goals is the difficult part. This three step process will help to clarify your money goals and give you the best opportunity of achieving them for 2012 and beyond.
Step 1 – Start with lot’s of money goals
- Have a brainstorming session – Simply write down all the goals that you and the family have and do it with ‘enthusiasm and encouragement’
- Don’t challenge the goals – That comes later
- Set time frames – Breaking the goals into time frames. For example, Short Term is less than 2 years, Medium Term 2 – 5 years and Long Term 5 years plus
- Start Prioritising your goals – For every goal in each time frame ask these questions:
- Why is that goal important to me (and the family)?
- Does it match my/our family core values and beliefs?
- How will achieving the goal benefit me and my family?
- Using your answers from a, b, c above and start ranking each goal, e.g. give a score out of 10
- Finalise three to five money goals for each time frame.
Step 2 – Know your starting position – Financially, where are you at right now?
- List all your current investments and debts (include the credit card) – You need a Total Net Wealth Picture of your financial situation
- What is your cash-flow position? – Detail your income and your spending
- What goals have you set in the past that failed? – Why did they fail?
- What goals have you previously set and achieved? – Why where these goals achieved?
Step 3 – Review, Plan, Implement. Review, Plan Implement. Review…
- Revisit your finalised goals from Step 1
- Calculate how much each will cost in time and money
- Can you afford the goals today? If you can, the goals are not big enough!
- Revisit your spending – What spending can you cut out, what can you reduce
- Revisit your income – Can you make more money?
- Re –prioritise the goals – You now you have some cold hard facts to rationalise each goal
- Decide on the Final Goals – One to three goals in each time frame
- Write each goal down – Carry them with you. Have them around the house and at work so they continue to motivate you and remind you of your goals!
- Turn the goals into pictures – A retirement goal can be a postcard of where you want to retire. Displaying the postcard in a prominent place will focus you on your money goal(s)
- Celebrate the goals when achieved – Take some time out; give yourself a pat on the back
- Long term goals should have milestones than can be celebrated
- Always review and fine tune your goals
- Learn from your lapses – Refocus your determination to achieve them
- Get professional help – Particularly for the more complex goals such as retirement goals
- Share the goals with the family and friends – This will hold you more accountable and good friends and family members can encourage you along the way.