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Achieve Your Financial Goals

Get tips about how to set goals and achieve what you want.

By
Elizabeth Carlassare,
January 2, 2008
Episode #054

 

Today’s topic is achieving your financial goals.

The beginning of a new year is an excellent time to set goals, including your financial goals. Did you know that the vast majority of people have no written goals? Now, who do you think is more likely to achieve their goals, someone who has just a vague idea of what their goals are or someone who has put them clearly down in writing? You got it: The person who writes them down.

Write Down Your Financial Goals

Writing down your goals radically increases your chances of achieving them. You have the ability to create the life you want and writing down your goals gives you the roadmap you need to drive your own destiny.

Beyond writing your goals down, the second most important thing you can do is share them with others. Telling people you know and trust about your goals reinforces them and creates accountability. It also gets others interested in seeing you reach your goals.

It makes sense to set goals in all aspects of your life: financial, social, professional, family, and fitness-related goals. In this episode, I’m going to give you a few tips specifically about setting and achieving financial goals.

If you listened to last week’s episode, you learned that your net worth and your cash flow are the two fundamental components of your financial health. If you haven’t already calculated your current net worth and monthly cash flow, take a few moments to do it now.

Setting Financial Goals

When you write down your financial goals, include goals for how much you plan to increase your net worth and your cash flow in the new year. Your net worth goal might be something like, “Increase my net worth by 10% or more, which means that my net worth will be $220,000 or more by the end of the year.”

Your cash flow goal might be something like, “Increase my monthly cash flow by $100 starting in January by raising the deductible on my homeowner’s policy and eating dinner out two times a week instead of three.”

Think about the other things you’d like to achieve this year that involve money. What other financial goals do you want to set? Maybe you want to save for a vacation or buy an investment property. Maybe you want a higher return on your investments or to increase your income by a certain amount this year. Maybe you want to increase the amount you’re investing for your kids’ college educations by $75 a month. Whatever your goals are, write them down.

Set Specific Financial Goals and Aim High

And when you write them down, it’s really helpful to be specific. Instead of writing “I want to save more for retirement.” Write, “I’m contributing 15% of my salary to my 401(k) for the entire duration of this year.”

When setting your goals, aim high. Now, you don’t want to set a goal that’s impossible to reach, but you also don’t want to underestimate yourself and set your sights too low either. So aim high, but be realistic.

Personally, I like to keep quarterly as well as yearly (and even some longer term) goals. I carry my quarterly goals with me so I can look at them easily and I like to chart my progress as I go. [[AdMiddle]

Now that the start of a new year is here, take a little time to reflect on what you want to accomplish financially this year and write down goals that will help you achieve the outcome you want.

And now, I have a book to give away. The winner of this week’s give-away is Jeff in San Francisco. Congratulations, Jeff! You’ve won the book The Greatest Discovery by Earl Nightingale. It’s a really good book about how to set goals and achieve what you want.
 
Cha-ching! That's all for now, courtesy of Money Girl, your guide to a richer life.
 
As always, everyone’s situation is different, so be sure to consult a tax or financial advisor before making important financial decisions. This podcast is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized, professional advice.
 
Send your questions or comments to money@quickanddirtytips.com.
 
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2008! Thanks for listening!

Goal image from Shutterstock

 

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