Be S.M.A.R.T. about financial goals

S.M.A.R.T goals means goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.

Be S.M.A.R.T. About Your Goals

Perhaps you'd like to take a vacation next summer, or maybe you hope to go back to school in the next five years. Whatever your goals might be, you have a better chance of achieving them if you write them down. As you list your goals, divide them into three categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term. Next use the S.M.A.R.T. goal system to define your goal. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Trackable.

For example, you may have a short term goal to start an emergency savings account. If you follow the S.M.A.R.T. system you will have a reliable way to define this goal and see it come to life. The first step is to make it specific. A goal to save money is vague. What exactly are you saving for? You are saving for an emergency. Next step is to make your goal measurable. How will you know when you have reached your goal? When your savings account has a balance of $4,000.00 you have reached your goal. Ask yourself if this goal achievable? If you think you can reasonably save $80.00 each week for 50 weeks, you will have saved $4,000.00 in one year for an unexpected emergency. Be honest with yourself – is it financially possible to meet your obligations and set aside this amount of savings? The next consideration should be is this goal relevant. Is it important for you to have savings to meet an emergency without going into debt? If the answer is yes, this is a relevant goal and one that stands a chance of success. Lastly, is this goal trackable. If you open a savings account and have your savings direct deposited from your paycheck into this account, it is certainly trackable. Using online banking can give you the satisfaction of seeing your savings grow weekly and monthly. This S.M.A.R.T. savings goals is: I will start an emergency savings account by direct depositing $80.00 each week for 50 weeks so that in one year I will have $4,000.00 giving me the peace of mind that I can handle any emergency without going into debt.

Make sure you prioritize your goals. Which ones are the most important to you? Work toward achieving these goals first. To help you set your goals, download the Smart Goals Worksheet.

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