Home / Education / Setting Your Financial Goals
No matter where you are financially, it’s best to have your next goal in mind and actively work towards
it. But what if you’re unsure of what to focus on for the next step of your financial future? This
course will show you:
Everyone is different — we all have our own financial obligations based on our location, jobs, family and
lifestyle. It’s time to take an honest assessment of where your finances are currently so you can best
address your needs, and thereby inform your goals.
Now that you’ve identified your areas of concern, let’s see what type of goal is realistic for your needs.
Here are some examples of short- and long-term goals. Most short-term goals are the building blocks needed
for financial stability. If you’ve already accomplished key short-term goals, which long-term goal aligns
with your 10+ year goals?
Now that you’ve determined your biggest financial challenge and classified it as a short- or
it’s time to start putting together a plan.
Did you know you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down?1
For this next section, it’s time to go old school — grab a pen and paper now. Don’t have one nearby or
1Economy, Peter. (2018). This Is the Way You Need to Write Down
Your Goals for Faster Success.
Let’s turn your goal into a SMART goal. No, we’re not suggesting your goal isn’t clever. SMART is an acronym
to help you set the framework for your goal:
Start by writing down your goal and be specific as possible. The more
are, the easier it
is to define the steps you need to get there.
Just an OK goal:
I need to save money
I need to save $1,000 for emergency expenses.
Speaking of steps, let’s talk measuring. Think through meaningful actions you can
take to prove you’re making progress toward your goal.
I’ll save money by putting more in my savings account.
I will save $50 per paycheck (20 paychecks) to build up to $1,000 for emergency
We love a good reach goal, but sometimes we reach too far and get discouraged. Take a moment to
review your goal and consider what preliminary steps you can take to help achieve
I’ll save money by spending less and putting more in my savings account.
I will decrease my dining out budget by $50 per paycheck and add it to my savings
toward my goal of $1,000 for emergency expenses.
In the last section, we asked you to consider your financial challenges and what causes you stress.
This is the starting point to establish relevance. Ask yourself why this goal is
important to you.
I’ll save money by spending less and putting more in my savings account because it will make me
To achieve my goal of financial stability, I will decrease my dining out budget by
$50 per paycheck and add it to my savings toward my goal of $1,000 for emergency expenses.
It’s easy to set a goal and forget about it. Putting a “due date” on it helps motivate and gives you
a reason to prioritize it.
I’ll save money for a while by spending less and putting more in my savings account because it
make me happy.
To achieve my goal of financial stability, I will decrease my dining out budget by $50 per
for the next six months and add it to my savings toward my goal of $1,000 for
Below is an example of a SMART goal. Well… almost. There’s one part missing.
This SMART goal is missing a time frame to achieve it. This goal would benefit from the addition of something like “I’ll drive for 10 hours per week till I’m debt free” or “…pay down my credit card debt of $5,000 in 12 months.”
It’s time to set your first SMART goal. Work through each component of the SMART acronym to set a
goal that reflects the financial challenge you identified in the first section of this course. Use
our printable SMART goals template to get started.
Now that you understand how to build your SMART goals, let’s review some quick dos and don’ts to make sure
get started on the right foot and stay there!
Still can’t stay on track? Maybe your goal wasn’t as achievable as you initially thought. That’s OK —
just revisit your SMART goal checklist (especially your “A”) and update your goal.