In a world focused on results, it can be easy to forget about the process, and yet if it’s financial security you’re after, the process is all that matters. Lottery winners and a very few crypto millionaires aside, nobody gets rich overnight. Building wealth takes time and, crucially, planning. This means setting goals both big and small and seeking financial and estate planning advice when you find yourself in over your head.
How to Set (and Achieve) Your Financial Goals
Put Them in Writing
You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are which is why step one is writing them down.
When you put pen to paper you organize your thoughts and you create accountability. Externalizing your objectives and committing them to writing makes them feel real and this helps keep you on track.
When your list is complete, make copies and display them in prominent places. If you’re reminded of your goals every time you sit at your desk, open your phone, or head to the fridge, you’ll be that much more likely to stick to the habits needed to make them reality.
Be Specific and Set Deadlines
Committing your goals to writing is great but only if they are specific.
“Get my finances under control” is not a goal, it’s a wish. “Pay off $10,000 of high-interest by June,” on the other hand, is what we’re talking about.
Effective goals take a general aim and break it down into small, measurable steps. This, combined with setting ambitious but attainable deadlines, is the key to gaining sustained prosperity.
Do the Math
You can’t set specific, attainable goals without crunching some numbers. In order to, say, calculate the amount of debt you can realistically pay off in a given period, you need to have a clear understanding of your income and expenses.
Play the Long Game
Planning for the future means thinking not just years but decades ahead. Sound financial goals start small but go big. You need to be thinking not only about making 401k contributions but about how and when you’ll take distributions when the time comes. You need to plan for long-term care expenses, optimize your tax strategy, and think about how to distribute your wealth when you pass. And for all of this, you need expert help.
Have an Estate Plan
While a certified financial planner may be the first expert resource to come to mind, an experienced estate planning attorney is just as important.
Estate planning is about more than just organizing the tidy passage of your assets to the next generation. It is about building a roadmap that ensures your loved ones are cared for no matter the circumstance, your retirement goals are met, and your life’s work is protected. Accordingly, an estate plan is a powerful financial management tool and an indispensable resource for anyone seeking security and prosperity.