Gov PF: Goal Setting

We all have dreams for the future, and many of those dreams require money to make them come true. Perhaps you want to buy a place to call home, travel to Europe, or save to pay for college. Reaching those milestones starts with setting clear financial goals.

A goal is the first step that sets you on a path. It should be inspirational and based on your own values and interests. Whatever your goals might be, you have a better chance of achieving them if you write them down. As you list your goals, divide them into three categories: short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term.

  • Short-term goals are those you hope to achieve within the next one to three years, like taking a special vacation or making a down payment on a new car.
  • Intermediate-term goals are three to five years away. Examples of medium-term goals include a down payment on a new house or funds to renovate your home. 
  • Long-term goals are more than seven years away. Some of life’s biggest goals, including retirement, fall into this category. 

Try to set SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. Make sure you prioritize your goals. Which ones are the most important to you? Work toward achieving these goals first.

Check in frequently to make sure your goals are on track. How often should you do these check-ins? If you’re working with an investment professional, ask them how frequently you should meet to discuss your progress, and if you can check progress at other times on your own. If you’re investing and saving without a professional, designate times to look at your account between now and when you need to reach your goal. Review your progress on a monthly basis for short-term goals, and quarterly and annually for long-term goals.

Saving and investing with a goal delivers its own reward: the purchase or life change that you’ve dream of and worked to achieve.



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