Learning how to effectively set and achieve your financial goals is key to seeing them realised. However, saving money for your long-term goals is undoubtedly harder than saving for the short-term.
A savings plan is your first step on your way to long-term financial success.
Step 1: List your financial goals. Take your time here, reviewing and refining your list until you are sure that these are the financial goals you want to achieve, and not something defined by peer pressure or poor judgement. This needs to be recognised as an important activity – not just something that we keep vaguely in the back of our minds. Listing your goals makes them real, and tangible.
Step 2: Set a clear path. It’s important to make your goals realistic and achievable for your lifestyle. Unfortunately, our short-term goals often get in the way of our long-term plans. Even the work to reach our goals can seem boring – no one looks forward to record keeping or creating a savings plan.
There’s plenty of free advice, tips and tricks when it comes to mapping out your finances, including a 52-week savings challenge template that lets you save money without even noticing, or at least makes it one of the more pain-free ways to save.
Step 3: Set priorities. You can’t achieve everything at once. Your goals will be easier to achieve if you focus on one at a time. You can decide to focus on the easier ones first, to help you build momentum – or, if you have one big goal that represents a problem or blocker for you (such as credit card debt) then it’s a good idea to make that one your priority.
Overall, sticking to your list is crucial to helping you overcome obstacles to your goals. Review your list often, and make tasks for yourself every day that will help you improve and keep track of your finances. Stick to your priorities on your list (unless a life event forces you to change priorities). You can even save alongside a friend so you can keep each other on track, and hold each other accountable by checking in on each other’s goals regularly.
If you’ve set yourself some clear and manageable goals, it will be easier to stick to your plan. Persistence is key, so start today and don’t let yourself stop. It can be easy to get side-tracked, or so excited by your initial success that you let yourself take a break and get off track. This only leads to financial stagnation, so make sure to keep reaching for your goals and you’ll find yourself achieving financial success.