Have you ever thought about what it takes to achieve financial success? It’s more than just writing down your money goals and moving on. Achieving financial success takes discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. Simply put – It is not easy!
You need to set both short-term money goals and long-term money goals. These are promises to yourself and to your family. You need to set a plan in motion to achieve your money goals and financial dreams.
Think about it… being able to afford your picture of the American dream is on you and your willingness to put in the work. What are you willing to sacrifice?
WHAT IS A SMART GOAL?
Have you ever heard of “SMART” goals? There are 5 elements to a “SMART” goal.
The goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
If your goals have all five of these elements you are more likely to succeed in achieving them.
SMART MONEY GOALS
1. BUILD YOUR EMERGENCY FUND
An emergency fund is there to protect you when something major goes wrong in life. Something will happen, and you will want money to fall back on.
An emergency fund is your safety net for the unknown.
Most financial experts advise us to save at least three months’ worth of expenses in our emergency fund. Six months is a strong emergency fund.
If you plan to build your emergency fund in 2019 create SMART money goals.
Example: My emergency fund will be at $10,000 by December 2019.
2. PAY OFF DEBT
Paying down debt is one of the best things you can do for yourself financially. Debt is a burden and will keep you from reaching your other goals.
Instead of your paycheck belonging to you each week, it belongs to the creditors you owe money to. By paying off a debt you will gain financial control again.
If you plan to pay off a debt in 2019 create SMART money goals
Example: I will pay off credit card 1 with a balance of $2,000 by February 15, 2019.
When paying off a debt I like to cre are much easier to achieve and will give you money wins throughout the year.
After paying off your first debt be sure to set a goal for paying off the next debt or working on other money goals.
If paying off your credit card debt or other loans wasn’t a priority it should be. Debt Freedom allows you to invest more of your money in yourself and in your family.
3. INCREASE YOUR INCOME
If you are paying off debt or building your emergency fund, increasing your income is a great way to reach your goals sooner.
While increasing your income can be a general goal you can definitely use the elements of SMART goals to ensure you reach your desired income.
If you plan to increase your income in 2019 create SMART money goals.
Example: I will increase my income by $5,000 this year delivering pizzas two nights per week.
4. READ PERSONAL FINANCE BOOKS
If you are serious about getting out of debt or bettering yourself financially I highly recommend reading personal finance books.
Reading personal finance books will give you a wealth of knowledge and if you take actionable steps from any book you read you’ll be farther ahead than when you started.
If you plan to read personal finance books in 2019 create SMART money goals.
Example: I will read 6 personal finance books in 2019 (every other month) and implement at least one thing I learned into my daily life.
When reading personal finance books be sure to take notes so you can go back and implement what you have learned later.
If you are not going to take action on what you have read and learned, don’t waste your time reading the books.
5. MAX OUT YOUR ROTH IRA
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account where you put money in after tax.
This account then grows tax-free, which is amazing especially if you are young! You won’t be burdened with a huge tax bill when you retire.
If you plan to max out your Roth IRA in 2019 create SMART money goals.
Example: I will invest $500 into my Roth IRA every month during 2019.
6. CREATE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
A budget shouldn’t be scary. A budget is actually the driving force for all things personal finance.
Whether you are paying off debt or working on investing knowing how much money you have coming in and where it is going out is super important.
We finally started gaining traction with our money due to creating a budget and sticking to it.
If you plan to create a budget in 2019 create SMART money goals.
Example: I will create my budget before the 1st of every month. I will then check in every week on Friday to update my spending and make adjustments as necessary.
Excerpts printed from Budget and Bliss Blog