A lot of people try to improve their financial situation. One of the most important things we can do to get started in this direction is to create goals for ourselves. Everyone is in different situations financially and there is not one “right” goal for everyone.
Below are some of the most basic financial goals/ steps that we recommend to help you get started. This is not a list where all 10 goal ideas are for everyone at this moment. We are all in different situations and stages in our lives. These are steps that can be looked at as both short-term (earlier steps) and long-term goals (later steps). The bottom line is, we all can set goals for ourselves no matter where we are in our lives.
10 Financial Goals to Achieve in Your Lifetime
1. Reliable Source of Income
This sounds obvious but isn’t always the easiest thing to attain. If income is one of the problems, then try and work a part-time job for the added income. Every little bit helps.
2. Create a Budget and Track Your Expenses
A spending plan will give you a financial “road map,” which will allow you to better plan where your money is spent and make it easier to allow for savings. Tracking your expenses is one of the most important things that you can do. This is a great way to understand where you spend your money on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and will allow you to adjust your spending plan accordingly. We can almost guarantee you will be shocked with how much money you spend on certain things.
3. Establish an Emergency Savings Account
Most experts suggest creating an emergency fund of approximately $1,000 kept in a standard savings account. This is a great first goal to set for yourself if you don’t have an emergency fund in place already. Give yourself an obtainable time frame as well. This will help you stay on track.
4. Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt and Personal Loans
Nothing helps free up money for savings, retirement, or those things you really wanted but couldn’t afford more than paying down your debts. Imagine how great it will feel to not have to make those monthly payments anymore.
5. Pay Off Your Car Loans
Car payments have become a way of life because all we really see is the monthly figure we pay every month. Most of us don’t think of the end result, how much have we actually paid for the car by the time it is paid off, and how much is it really worth by then? If you can afford it in your budget, round up your car payment. For example, let’s say your payment is $265 a month, round up to $300 every month. This only adds $35 a month, but you could pay off your loan months earlier saving you a lot in interest. Make sure to look at the term of the loan. Some car loans have early pay off fees.
6. Pay Off Your Student Loans
If student loans are hanging over your head, you’re not alone. Concentrate on making little extra payments each month, if you can afford it, to speed up the process. Also, look into your options for consolidating your loans and programs to lower your payments.
7. Build Up Your Emergency Funds
Increase your emergency fund and build a cash cushion worth six months of living expenses. If you don’t have an emergency fund, loss of income, a broken furnace, or a damaged car can seriously upset your finances.
8. Increase Your Retirement Contributions
Retirement accounts are becoming more and more critical every year. We have to do it for ourselves. With social security coming into question whether or not it will be there when we are ready to retire. And even if it is won’t be enough to live on. When you get a raise take half of the percentage of the raise and add that toward your retirement account(s) contributions every paycheck. This way you are saving more and not having to cut into something else.
9. Save For College
We all want to help our children be the best that they can be and give them every opportunity to succeed. We can never underestimate the power of an education and how it opens doors, but it is expensive. Try opening a new savings account for your kids’ college or a 529 plan, which has tax incentives much like a 401K or IRA but for college. Studying and doing well in school is tough enough without having to worry about the huge loans that will have to be paid back.
10. Pay Off Your Mortgage
If you have paid off all other debts, then adding more to your mortgage payment, which will go towards the principal, could be a good goal for you. Remember though, interest rates on mortgages are almost always lower than interest on other debts, like credit cards, and experts agree that all other debts should be paid off and savings should be well established before adding more to your mortgage payment. If you are in this position, this is a great idea.