So how many of us are still working towards those lofty goals we set back on January 1st?
As financial planners we speak with clients all day long about goals – setting goals, short-term goals, retirement goals and of course there is some celebration when clients have reached a goal! While the financial goal setting process is familiar for us, we understand that it can be an uncomfortable process for many clients. You are planning for uncertainty – market performance, future expenses, the unknown and what your future self will want in retirement. A financial planner is experienced to help you set realistic goals based on a number of factors. Here are a few tips we use to help clients set goals and plan for a secure financial future:
What financial goals should you be planning for?
Start by asking yourself – what is important to you? What do you want to accomplish? To help get started here are a few key questions:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years?
- Do you know what all of your accounts are worth and how they are invested?
- How do you plan on paying for the education needs for your children?
- What is something happened to you today? Do you have enough insurance coverage? Are your final wishes memorialized in an estate plan?
- What does your retirement look like? Where do you want to live? Do you want to travel?
Rank your financial concerns in order of importance so you can determine what goals to set and attack first. What is important to you may not be important to your partner or spouse, so have a discussion to be sure that you are both on the same page.
Create goals that are short-term (ones that you would want to achieve in two years or less) and also goals that are long-term.
How do you know if your goals are realistic?
Do your research. Use the tools available through your 401(k) investment platform, or speak with a financial planner who has the expertise to help. If you choose to work with a financial planner, the first step in the planning process is to gather information from you to analyze where you are today. From there you will have discussions about what is important to you and what you want to accomplish.
Create a goal chart or implement a financial app to track your progress. It also helps to break down longer-term goals into smaller goals to see your accomplishments.
How do you achieve your goals?
You need to have an action plan, or as we at Method refer to it your implementation plan. It is your detailed road map that will get you to the finish line. Even your long-term goals require action now – setting aside savings, adjusting investments to create good habits. Your implementation plan should include items to check off the list now as well as follow up items for the future. It is also imperative that you review the plan regularly and make adjustments as necessary. No financial plan is set in stone, but you need a starting point to put your financial plan into action.
Commit to setting financial goals in 2019 and make you and your finances a priority.
Contributed By Katie Burke, President of Method Financial Planning and Co-Founder of Equita Financial Network.