How to crush your financial goals in 202406 Feb 2024 3 min read
Have you set goals in the past that you didn’t reach? You’re not alone. Often, a goal isn’t reached because there is a lack of understanding of the goal-setting process. A goal without a plan is like searching for a location without a map.
Find out how you can set financial goals in 2024 and make them happen.
Use the SMART framework
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. This is an easy-to-use framework that can help you design goals that are focused and, therefore, will give you a better chance of reaching them.
How can you use the SMART framework?
Specific – make your goal specific.
- For example, a goal that is specific might be: To save $3,000 to travel.
- A goal that isn’t specific might be: To save money to travel.
Measurable – make sure you can track the progress of your goal.
- For example, a measurable goal might be: To save $3,000 by the end of the year to travel.
- A goal that isn’t measurable might be: To save money to travel soon.
Achievable – make sure you can break down what you need to do in order to reach the goal.
- For example, an achievable goal might be: To put $250 a month in a savings account to save $3000 by the end of the year.
- A goal that isn’t achievable might be: To put spare money in a savings account when I can to save $3000 by the end of the year.
Relevant – Ensure the goal is achievable for your financial situation.
- For example, an achievable goal might be: To stop buying takeaway coffee and put that money in my travel savings fund.
- A goal that isn’t achievable might be: To put money into a travel fund whenever I come across extra money.
Time-based – Set a deadline.
- For example, an achievable goal might be: To put $250 a month in a savings account that will result in a total of $3000 by December 31st.
- A goal that isn’t achievable might be: Save $3000.
Understand the difference between short-term and long-term goals
It’s a great idea to separate goals into short and long-term. Doing this will give you a greater chance of achieving them as you will know how and where to focus your attention.
Short-term goals are targets you would like to achieve generally in the next 3-6 months and can be building blocks for long-term goals.
- In the next three months, I want to ensure all my super is consolidated into one fund.
An example of a long-term goal that is built off the above short-term goal might be:
- By the end of the year, I want to have $20,000 or more in my super savings account and to have booked a meeting with a financial planner.
Prepare for the unexpected
Another reason why goals can be missed is due to unexpected situations that throw plans off course. For example, losing your job may force you to dip into your travel savings, or the increased cost of living might make it harder to put away as much money as you had hoped each month. Often, there is little we can do when unexpected events occur, and we have to do our best to adapt. However, the more prepared you are, the more manageable the situation will be.
Here are some ways to prepare:
- If possible, create a savings account for rainy-day. Make it a separate account that you only access in case of an emergency. Even if you only deposit a small amount each month, you never know when it might come in handy.
- Learn about the accounts you have joined - from your super account to your debit card. The more you understand how they work and what fees are attached, the more likely you will be able to make necessary changes to keep costs down – therefore making those unexpected times easier to manage.
- Talk to an expert. Everyone’s situation is different, and there may be financial considerations you’re not aware of. A financial expert, such as a Financial Planner, will be able to guide you and help set your finances in a way that is going to maximise your savings.
Get financial guidance with NGS Super
If you would like to explore your options, why not connect with one of our NGS Super Specialists?
Talking with a Super Specialist is free, and they can answer your questions about superannuation, investments, insurance or planning for retirement. They can also help you decide the next steps – including if meeting with an NGS financial planner is right for you.
Our financial planners can create strategies that aim to maximise your financial position and meet your goals for the future, which can include protecting your lifestyle and assets through personal insurance.
Financial advice is a way to plan for your future, mitigate risk and make the most of your saving opportunities. Educating yourself about your finances will not only help with the planning process — it will also increase your confidence and help you to make good decisions about your super and your future.