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Setting Financial Goals

As we get closer to the new year, it’s a good time for you to start thinking about financial goals. Those goals will be different if you’re a business, an independent professional or an individual or family, but it’s still important to work on setting at least a few goals.

There’s always a debate about whether it’s better to set goals that are definitely reachable or whether thinking outside of the box and shooting for the moon is the way to go. Truthfully, the best goals are the ones where you actually have some kind of control over it because it’s easier to stay focused. For instance, if you said you were going to save $25,000 but you only make $30,000 a year right now and have $5 in your savings account, it’s probably a very unrealistic goal without some other plans that have nothing to do with finances.

All financial goals are about 3 things: saving money; reducing debt; and increasing income. You can set your goals based on one thing, or you can try to do something with all three. If you’re already doing well financially maybe you don’t have to worry so much about the last one, and yet even there the concept of income isn’t a strange one, as income is more about growing your money than about finding a new job.

Whereas when we talk about budgeting we always start with figuring out income, when setting financial goals you always think about your debt first. This is because most people have higher debt, as it pertains to percentages at least, and it’s probably the most important thing to know where you stand.

Next on the list comes saving money. This is important because it’s your first step towards becoming fiscally responsible. Saving money takes on two forms. One is actually saving money, such as in a bank, investments, etc. The other is saving money on purchases, whether it’s new items such as clothing or items such as food, which are recurring purchases. There are families that learn how to save $100 or more each month just using coupons or store coupons at stores they don’t usually frequent. Just imagine how important an extra $100 is a month without having to worry about an increase in taxes.

Finally comes the topic of increasing income. It’s last on the list for two reasons. One, not everyone has to deal with this one as a definite thing, although looking at different ways to invest money in higher yield returns might not be a bad idea. For some people however this will be important if they’re just barely getting by on what they make now. We’ve previously warned people about the tax dangers of part time jobs but that might be one way to go. Another way to go is to see if you can get a raise where you work. If it’s a large company where you can’t just ask for a raise, it might be time to broaden your scope of employment opportunities for something that pays better.

No matter what you do, setting goals is only the first step. No goal can be achieved without plans for how you hope to get there. Of course if you ever need help in that arena, give us a call. 🙂
 

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