Creating SMART Financial Goals
A goal is a future envision, result, or experience that is planned to be achieved. Many of us have a vague idea of our financial goals like retirement or buying a house someday. But, until we have a plan, those wants are wishes, not goals. Thus, we need SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) Financial Goals.
For something to be specific, it must be clearly defined, particular and close-ended. When a goal is not specific, you leave it open to interpretation and being missed. A specific goal will answer the following questions:
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
I want to pay off $10,000 of credit card debt to be free of bad debt.
Most goals don’t get accomplished because they aren’t tracked. By making a goal measurable, you can track its progress. Tracking helps you stay motivated and quickly notice when things go astray. A measurable goal should answer quantifying questions like:
- How much?
- How many?
- What percentage?
- What time?
- How often?
- How long?
I will pay $500 a month for 24 months to have the credit card debt paid off.
One reason a goal can be hard to reach is because it’s unrealistic. When we make a goal achievable, we are making it capable of being successfully reached. An achievable goal answers the following questions:
- Do I have time?
- Do I have support?
- Can I afford it?
- Can I learn the skills required?
Time and support are available to achieve my credit card debt payoff goal. I will explore a consolidation loan, eat out less, and start a side hustle to help reach the goal. I will learn how to use a credit card responsibly and eliminate the bad habits.
Often we can pursue goals that don’t add value to us or relate to who we want to be. Making a goal relevant means it matters to us and it collaborates with our life and other goals to progress us towards who we want to be. A relevant goal will answer “Yes” to these questions:
- Is it worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this align with other goals?
- Does this align with who I want to be?
Paying off Credit Card debt will free up more money to be invested. This aligns with my other financial goals and vision of being a person who is successful with money.
Every goal needs a timeline with a target date to work towards. This allows us to determine milestones and build a plan of mini goals to meet along the way to our goal. A time-bound goal answers the following questions:
- When do I want this?
- What can I do today?
- What are my milestones?
I want to have the credit card debt paid off in the next 24 months.
Creating a SMART financial goal is not just smart, but essential for successful goals. Many goals are not achieved because they are not SMART. Now that you know what a SMART financial goal is to take action and apply this knowledge. Whether with a current goal or a new goal, make sure it checks the list of being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Create a SMART Financial Goal