How to Set Savings and Investing Goals
This is the act of allowing free-flowing thoughts to be scribbled onto paper, in no particular order and without parameters on what you are allowed to write. Brainstorm ideas, dreams, wishes, goals, and anything that comes to mind when you imagine your future, elevated life.
Take about an hour and just daydream and write your aspirations. Be careful not to hold anything back or to judge whether something is silly or outlandish.
Rank your goals
When you feel as if you’ve dumped every dream possible out onto the paper, re-write your brainstorm into a more organized list. Once you have these goals listed out, rank them with an Alphabetical letter (A-Z) according to how quickly the goal needs to be reached AND how important that goal is to you at this stage of life.
Using this ranking system, you should come up with a list of items that have a letter indicating the items’ importance and urgency. At this point, the goals you should (or can) focus on within the next 12 months become clear.
Last, narrow your list even further
When we try to do everything, we actually accomplish nothing (and get burned out in the process). So, narrow your list of goals to only 3 very attainable goals that can be accomplished within the next 3-6 months and only 3 stretch goals that will be challenging to accomplish in the next 12 months.
Using the above braindump, rank, and narrow method, you should now have 3 short-term goals and 3 longer-term goals. Setting 3 short-term, more attainable goals provides quick wins and allows confirmation in our minds that we CAN and DO set and achieve goals.
How to Accomplish Savings and Investing Goals
First, write them out
If you completed the above goal-setting exercise, Congratulations! You have already completed this step. If you want to take it a bit further, you can continue the writing process to further cement your belief in and focus on your goals.
Journaling, making a vision board, or transferring these goals to a whiteboard can make your goals more visible, thus more likely to happen.
Second, seek accountability
Talking about your goals can help cement your willingness to implement the habits required to achieve those goals. Share your aspirations with trusted, supportive friends or family, seek a financial advisor, or hire a financial coach.
You’ll inevitably stumble upon disappointing days and rough moments throughout the year. A positive friend, advisor, or coach is worth their weight in gold when you need help through tough decisions or unexpected life events.
Finally, automate everything possible
Set up automatic deposits of income where possible into designated accounts for bills, savings, and spending. Most importantly, implement automatic contributions to your retirement accounts. The less you touch your money, the less likely you’ll spend something that was originally intended for savings or investing.
Two quotes that really hit home when it comes to goals:
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not like where you end up.”
“Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll still land among the stars.”
Setting Goals and the Habits it Takes to Achieve Them
Don’t be afraid to plan and dream… and to work toward those aspirations. Become accustomed to setting small goals and achieving them in a matter of weeks or months. This builds your confidence that you can achieve goals, no matter what they are. Set your priorities, write about them, seek support, and then automate anything possible.