Set your financial goals

Tips for setting specific and realistic financial goals.

Once you’ve gathered the information you need to get started, you can complete step 1 – setting your financial goals. Also, think about when you hope to achieve each goal.

6 examples of specific goals

  1. Pay off your credit card debt within the next 6 months.
  2. Save $5,000 for a vacation next year.
  3. Pay off your mortgage faster by paying down an extra $5,000 each year.
  4. Save $20,000 for an emergency fund within the next 2 years.
  5. Save $25,000 for a down payment on a house over the next 3 years.
  6. Save $40,000 for your child’s education by the time she turns 18.

Use this worksheet to define your goals.

Be specific and realistic

The strongest financial goals are specific and measurable. Instead of saying you want to have enough money to retire comfortably, think about how much money you’ll need. Maybe your specific goal will be to save $500,000 by the time you’re 65.

Your goals should also be realistic and based on your current financial situation. Think about how much you can afford to save toward your goals each month. Based on how much you can afford to save, you may have to decide which goals are most important to you.

6 questions to ask

  1. What are your top financial goals?
  2. When do you want to reach each goal?
  3. How much money will it take to reach each goal?
  4. How much can you afford to save toward each goal?
  5. What will you gain or lose by putting 1 of your goals first?
  6. What choices will help you enjoy a better quality of life today? In the future?

Key point

6 steps to investing:

  1. Set your goals
  2. Know your investing personality
  3. Create your plan
  4. Choose your asset mixAsset mix The percentage distribution of assets in a portfolio among the three major asset classes: cash and cash equivalents, fixed income and equities.+ read full definition
  5. Choose your investments
  6. Track your progress

Take action

Use this calculator to see how even small amounts of money saved add up over time.

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