4 Basic Steps to Reach Your Financial Goals
The key to achieving financial success is setting realistic and obtainable financial goals. If you set goals that are out of your reach in your current situation, you may get frustrated and give up. However, if your goals are simple and relevant to your life right now, they’ll be easier to achieve.
Your financial goals will be different at different stages in your life. You may be focused on paying down student loan debt, saving for your first house, or planning for retirement.
We’ve put together four basic tips for achieving financial success no matter where you are in life.
1. Take care of your debt
Many people have some type of debt. It could be credit card, student loan, mortgage, personal loan. So, if you have some type of debt, you’re not alone.
You’ll want to make sure you have a plan in place to pay down your debt. If you have a lot of debt, don’t get overwhelmed. Trying to pay it all off at once is probably unreasonable. And stressful.
You can use this calculator to help you evaluate various strategies for paying off your debt.
You’ll want to prioritize, plan, and prepare. Maybe you want to reduce your overall debt by a certain percentage. That’s fine. Make sure it’s a realistic number, though.
Use this loan payoff calculator to find out how many payments it will take to pay off a loan.
Another strategy is to pay off high-interest debt first. You could plan to pay more than the minimum on those debts. Remember, though, it’s still extremely important that you make on-time payments to your other sources of debt.
2. Set simple savings goals
If you set big, unrealistic savings goals, you might just get frustrated and quit. If your target number is too big, it may seem like you’ll never get there.
Instead, set simple, short-term savings goals. These are easier to achieve, and you’ll get a little motivational boost when you reach them.
You can use our savings goal calculator to determine how much you will need to save monthly to reach your savings goal.
Don’t forget about bigger, long-term goals, such as an emergency savings fund or a mortgage down payment. Those are important too. Include a little amount each month in your budget that goes towards those goals
3. Set up a budget
Having a sound budget in place can ease stress and set you up for financial success. Budgeting properly can help you start saving for the important things in life, like an emergency savings fund, college, buying your first home, and a comfortable retirement.
In order to have a sound, successful budget, you’ll want to:
- Know your net monthly income
- Know your spending habits
- Know your goals
- Know your plan
For a lot of people, it takes a few tries to set up the right budget. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s ok to make adjustments and go back to the drawing board. Most importantly, don’t give up.
4. Plan ahead
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. It’s also never too late. There are many different strategies to plan for your golden years.
You’ll want to look at your investment options. Does your employer offer a 401(k) plan? If you’re already contributing, could you adjust the amount and contribute more?
If you don’t have access to a 401(k) plan, you might want to think about an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). Look at both Traditional and Roth IRAs to see which one is right for you.
If retirement is close for you, say in the next 5 – 10 years, start thinking about what you’ll need each month, your monthly expenses and budget, and how you want to spend your golden years.
Financial goals for every stage of life
Finances are a common source of stress for many people. Setting goals, sticking to new saving habits, and paying down debt can all seem incredibly tough at times.
The key is to not be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. Celebrate the small wins along the way to help keep you motivated. You’ve got this!
These four simple tips should help you achieve financial success no matter where you are in life. If you’re experiencing financial difficulty, we have free, confidential resources to help you get back on track.
Our Learning Center is a great place to start if you want to educate yourself before making a financial decision. If you are thinking about making some changes to your finances, don’t hesitate to contact us.