Creating SMART Financial Goals

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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.

Specific

value based savings

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?

Example:

I want to pay off $10,000 of credit card debt to be free of bad debt. 

Measurable

tracking goals

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?

Example:

I will pay $500 a month for 24 months to have the credit card debt paid off.

Achievable

accomplish goals

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?

Example

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.

Relevant

relevant

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?

Example:

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. 

Time-Bound

time-bound goals

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?

Example:

I want to have the credit card debt paid off in the next 24 months.

Get Started

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).

Tip

Create a SMART Financial Goal

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