1. Set priorities
Decide which goals you want to act on first, and make a list of what steps you need to take. Then carry them out. If you have a financial plannerFinancial planner An individual who looks at your financial situation and builds a complete plan to help you reach your goals. The process may cover: financial planning, risk management, investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.+ read full definition, they may co-ordinate this process with you and with any other professionals you need, such as a lawyer or accountant. If you don’t have a planner, you may need to contact these other professionals yourself.
Use this Prioritizer Calculator from CNN Money to help you rank your goals in order of importance to you.
2. Review your progress
Take a look at where you are to see if you’re on track to meet your goals. As part of your review:
- Look at the accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition statements for your RRSP, TFSA and other investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition accounts, to see how your investments are doing.
- Track your progress toward your goals. If you’re off track, find out why.
- Consider any changes in your life since you last reviewed your plan, and decide if your goals need to change to reflect this. For example, if your income as changed or your financial goals have changed, your plan may need to change, too.
3. Adjust your plan if you need to
If you’re not on track to meet your goals, adjust your plan. For example, a major upset in financial markets could mean you’re not making any progress toward reaching your goals. Or, maybe your life circumstances have changed. Getting married or divorced, starting a family, retiring or starting a business will affect your goals. You may need to make some changes to your plan to get back on track.
If you’re working with a financial planner, they should review your situation with you from time to time. And they should help you adjust your plan, if needed, as your life changes.
3 key points
- Set priorities
- Review your progress
- Adjust your plan as needed