It’s always a smart idea to have goals, as it provides a focused way to go about your life. As we’re a site that revolves around money and finance, it’s not a surprise that we’re zeroed in on personal financial goals. When you set them, you’ll be able to feel empowered about improving your life by improving your financial situation.
Though, truly, setting personal financial goals can be tough–just like making financial decisions. The good news is, we’ve compiled a list of 6 facts that are essential for fulfillment down the road. Good luck!
Looking Inward is Valuable
Before setting your personal financial goals, it’s important to think and reflect just a little bit. That way, you’ll be able to identify what path (or paths) you want to be on. Put simply, it can be hard to look inward. It may feel uncomfortable and you may want to stop after you’ve spent a few minutes thinking. But push yourself past it, and think about your financial life from all sides. You can also try to do some yoga or go for a run as a way to physically get your body moving, as sometimes being in a new place, even if that place is just upside down, can give you a valuable new perspective.
Though, to be sure, setting personal financial goals is about more than just money matters. In the end, goal setting is a way for you to improve your life. So, naturally, when it comes to goal setting, considering what you want out of life and what you value is just part of the deal. For example, many people would say that they’re looking for fame and fortune, and that’s fair. But it’s worth asking the question, “Even though fame and fortune are a typical way of gauging success and happiness, is that what I truly want?”
Of course, what defines happiness and success is different across the board. Maybe instead of fame and fortune, you want to have the financial stability to help others by volunteering or starting a non profit, and those actions will provide you lasting fulfillment.
When it comes to self-reflection and setting personal financial goals, you don’t have to have all of the answers right away. After all, one brainstorming session doesn’t normally result in incredible epiphanies and the answer to the meaning of life. Take it one step at a time, and put aside moments to think about what you truly want down to the line. Basically, continue to have a dialogue with yourself.
Goals Need to be “Just Right”
While the desire to be rich is famous is understandable, it isn’t a very good goal because it is pretty general and doesn’t have action-oriented steps to get there. It’s just an idea, a fantasy, something that could be nice to have.
Setting personal financial goals means being honest with yourself and not reaching too high or low. If you set a goal that is on the high end, you’ll end up being frustrated because you won’t end up hitting it. That just leaves yucky frustrated feelings. On the other hand, if the goals are too easy and you just keep breezing past them, then you won’t be challenging yourself enough.
As we said before, whether you’re new to setting personal financial goals or a goal setting veteran, finding this balance isn’t something that is just found. It takes a bit of continual trial and error.
Though, for starters, make sure that your goals are on a timeline. Give yourself some deadlines, and don’t let yourself say “maybe later” the majority of the time. Keep yourself accountable by creating mini goals that lead up to your big goal, so you feel like you’re making progress.
Once you’ve come up with your “just right” personal financial goals, write them down. Tack them up on the fridge or create a nice, colorful page out of construction paper and put it in the front cover of your journal.
It’s Essential to Know When to Ask for Help
A lot of times, people want to pile a ton of work and community and family obligations on top of each other, and it can get seriously overwhelming. They have so much going on, and they don’t know how to share the weight of things with their loved ones. Really, it’s not healthy to carry around so much stuff internally, and knowing that you need help and taking steps to get it couldn’t be more important.
After setting personal financial goals, there may be times when you get closer to your goal, and there may be times when you get further away from your goal. Financial setbacks happen, and it won’t be unique to just you. This is when you might need to lean on a friend or family member and ask if it would be possible to borrow money so you’ll be able to pay a utility bill or buy groceries for your family. By asking your loved ones, you’re more likely to get emotional support, whether or not they’re able to provide a bit of extra cash for you. And that can feel better than anything.
Really, it makes sense to lean on friends and family throughout the time that you work on personal financial goals and just your life in general. Supporting others (and knowing that others support you as well) is a fantastic recipe for feeling safe, connected, and able to make changes and improve yourself at the same time.
Perhaps you make one of your friends your point person to tell about your personal financial goals. You can let him or her know what you’re trying to achieve, along with how you’re trying to achieve it. When you’re feeling discouraged or frustrated, you can shoot them a quick text, give them a call, or even see them in person (who can’t benefit from a hug, after all?).
Loans Can Help You When You’re in a Money Crunch
Though, oftentimes, friends and family are struggling with similar things, and helping you out financially isn’t in their budgets. When that happens, it’s smart to explore your loan options. Without a doubt, there are a ton of lenders out there, and it can be overwhelming to say the least. However, if you’re reading this and want to stay true to your personal financial goals, you owe it to yourself to explore what’s out there.
As a company that matches potential borrowers with local lenders for free, we have an excellent understanding of the loan industry. When it comes to your personal financial goals, you have to decide for yourself about what feels right and what will make you feel the most successful.
Above all, talk to lenders that are reputable (see our post here to identify lending practices that are unsafe) and ask all the questions you have. Once you have all the information, you don’t have to make an instant decision. There isn’t a clock ticking to zero. Allow yourself to look at the information, mull it over in your head, and see how it fits with your personal financial goals.
For example, in order for a loan to make sense, it should help you out in the short term and the long term. In the short term, it’ll give you cash to help you through an emergency. In the long term, it can help you develop smart repayment habits and become more savvy about personal finance. How do you know if it will? Be sure to know all of the terms and ask yourself if the payment plans work for your budget. Additionally, factor in interest rates. Will paying interest on a loan, even if it’s low, take more money in the long run and not be good for you?
In the end, for getting money and working with your personal financial goals, you have to weigh the factors in your mind (or on a piece of paper or another sort of document).
It Pays to Be Organized
At the end of the day, being organized isn’t just a slightly overused buzzword for a job application. It can really help you out, no matter what personal financial goals you set. In fact, a lot of the reason that many people are in debt or feel overwhelmed is because they’re not organized. Bills have fallen through the cracks or been lost or it’s hard to find the policy for a credit card because all your papers are in one huge pile.
No matter where you are on the organization scale, it is advisable to work on it. And hey, it wouldn’t hurt to set some organizational goals to support your personal financial goals.
Here are some tips to keep your organized financially:
- Pay bills immediately or put them into piles that you’ll address before the deadline.
- Make a calendar with payment deadlines, and look at it regularly.
- Set alarms on your phone or another device to keep yourself up to date.
- Create file folders for all your major things (i.e. bank statements, bills, contracts, etc).
- Record when and how you make payments.
- Set aside the same time each week to get organized and review what’s going on.
- Have everything in front of you ahead of time, in case you need to make calls or have questions.
While these tips have been helpful for many people as they approached their personal financial goals, it’s true that organization doesn’t work the same for everyone. If being surrounded by sticky notes works for you, go for it. If having everything in a detailed document works for you, go for it. Try different things, but know that in most cases getting organized does feel a little bit like work. It doesn’t really make sense to try to find an organizational system that feels like nothing. Rather, it’s important to keep organized by doing something that feels natural to you and can be sustained for a long period of time.
You’ll thank yourself for the organizational work that you put in when you know that you’ve taken care of everything that you needed to. It’s quite an empowering feeling. In addition, staying organized can help you improve your credit score, even if that isn’t one of your personal financial goals.
You Don’t Have to be Perfect and Being a Work in Progress is A-OK
This may feel silly to read, but the fact is, personal financial goals aren’t something that have to be reached without any errors or missteps. So often, a task or a goal can seem way harder because a person is trying so hard not to make a mistake. Take a deep breath (and do that as many times as you need do–breathing can be super powerful). Acknowledge that mistakes happen, and you are on your own path with your personal financial goals. You can handle anything that comes your way, and you’re resilient.
Additionally, it makes sense to regularly re-evaluate your goals. Sometimes you’ll be better served with a different goal or wording that is changed a bit. We are all works in progress, and changes that happen–especially unexpected changes–should be worked into your always evolving personal financial goals. A change isn’t necessarily a failure; a change is a way to stay updated.
It’s possible to work on your personal financial goals for the rest of your life, though, of course, if you get to a comfortable spot and you want to focus on other things, that’s totally cool too. This is your life, your finances, your work, and your peace of mind. Don’t be hard on yourself, and take care of your needs. In order to achieve personal financial goals, it’s essential to practice self-care (reflection, getting enough sleep, exercising, and drinking enough fluids).
Oh, and regularly think about what fulfillment and happiness means to you, so your personal financial goals can align with what truly feeds your soul.