Clover Cents: Savings Goals

March 5, 2021

This video uses activities about meeting your future self and visualizing your savings goals from the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau (worksheets listed under Student Materials). It will be helpful to print off the student worksheets to use in conjunction with the video. 

This is one in a series of nine instructional videos in the Clover Cents series that helps students to understand basic properties of money and how to manage it.   

Video Transcript

My name is Sara Keinath and I am an educator with Michigan State University Extension. Today we're going to talk about how we think about and plan for our financial future. We will be utilizing a couple of worksheets today from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The links will be available below this video. The worksheets you will need today are called "Meeting my future self" and "Visualizing savings goals". Your future self is the vision you have for yourself. Let's think about who you want to be in ten years. Who and what do you think will be part of your life? Visualizing a version of your future can help you plan for your long-term goals. Use the worksheet to answer questions about what you want in your life in ten years. Where do you want to live? What kind of work do you want to be doing? How do you spend your free time? Pause this video so you can take a few minutes to think through your vision. Come back after you've answered all the questions. Saving money is setting it aside for a specific purpose, often in a bank account. So how will saving money help you reach your vision of your future self? Perhaps your dream job requires some education or training first. Or maybe you are thinking of buying your own house. Or maybe you want to be able to travel to new places. Thinking about what your goals are first will help you understand how much money you need to be planning on saving. Ten years out is a long time. Most of the goals you visualized for that section of your life will be considered long-term goals. So let's think about what's a little closer at hand. Answer the questions again, but think now about one year in the future. What do you want your life to look like in one year? You can pause this video again to think that through. What are the things you would like to have in one year that you might save money for. This is still a savings goal, but if it's something in the next six months to a year, it would be considered a short-term goal. When we decide on something we'd like to save money for, this is a savings goal. This will be different for different people as we all have different values and priorities. What you decide you want to save money for is the thing that matters most to you. Let's look at a couple of examples from the visualizing savings goals worksheet. Tyrone wants to save for a new pair of shoes. The shoes he wants cost about $70 with tax. Here is a way that Tyrone could visualize his goal. On your worksheet, you can color in the amount of shoes to indicate that he has saved $30. If each shoe is worth $10, we can color in three of the shoes to show he has saved $30. Every time he saves another $10, he can color in another picture. In the next example on the worksheet, we see that Uma is saving up for a driving course. She needs $320, and so far she has $80. Color in your worksheet to show how much she has saved, knowing that each bar is $20. Here we can see what Uma's chart would look like. I really like this kind of chart because it would help keep me motivated to want to color in more. And it's really easy to see where you're at in relation to your goal. Now you want to list out your own financial goals. Think about both your short-term and your long-term goals. Try to come up with a couple of ideas for each of those. Pick one that is really important to you and come up with a way to visualize it. Can you make it into a chart or pictograph like in the examples, this is where you can be really creative. The worksheet also has some reflection questions for you. Take some time to think about them. What are some challenging things about saving money toward a goal? What are some things you can do to handle those challenges more easily? Sometimes it can feel too hard to save money, especially if you feel like you don't have a lot to begin with. But saving money isn't about having a lot of money. It's about intentionally setting aside money in whatever increments you can afford so that you are working towards having enough for your goals. If you don't plan for your goals, that could mean that they don't end up happening. Even saving a small amount each week or month will help you get to your goals eventually and is a smart financial habit. Using these techniques to think through what you want to save money for, and then creating a way to visualize your goals can help you be successful and feel motivated along the way.