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Setting Short & Long Term Financial Goals

January 4, 2020

One of the most important - and often easiest - steps in putting a budget together is setting goals. (Who doesn't want to picture themselves reaching their goals and enjoying the fruits of their labor?)

Your budget should include both short and long term goals. (Reaching short-term goals can really motivate you to work harder toward reaching your long-term goals.)

Your short-term goals need to be realistic and attainable, otherwise you're likely to get discouraged and stop trying. They should  include savings and investing goals, and include rewards along the way. Here are a couple of examples of short-term goals:

Short & Long Term Savings Goals
SMART Goals

Experts agree you're more likely to reach your goals if they're SMART - Specific - Measurable - Achievable - Realistic and Timely.

You can see both Amy and Tom include a mix of very specific and general goals. Amy has included weekly goals, and both have included monthly and annual goals. You can set up your goals however you'd like - even daily, but don't set up a system that's so involved you'll quickly lose interest. While it can be fun (and encouraging!) to monitor your progress daily for the first few months, it can become tedious. If that happens, shake things up a bit, but do your best to set - and meet - short-term financial goals.

Long-term goals are easy to lose track of, but you need to be relentless at setting them, then evaluating them every year to see what changes need to be made. (And an honest look at why you need to change them - are you making more money than anticipated, incurred an unexpected expense, or gone overboard on debt?)

Here's an example from Amy and Tom:

Long Term Financial Goals

If you set realistic goals - and most importantly, keep track of them - you'll be surprised at how often you meet, or even exceed them. And we guarantee you'll love the feeling of marking completed goals from your list and adding new goals to take their place! If you need some help setting goals, or putting together a budget, stop by and talk to a Personal Banker. They'll be happy to help!

The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Citizens State Bank and its affiliates, and Citizens State Bank is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of any information contained in this article or items hyperlinked within. This is for informational purposes and is no way intended to provide legal advice.