How to Set Short Term Financial Goals That Will Set You Up for Success
You’re no stranger to financial goals. As a child, you probably saved your allowance or worked small jobs for your neighbors to afford the latest game or toy. As an adult, your financial goals might still include toys (no one’s ever too old!), but they also include savings thresholds, a car, a house, and retirement.
It’s impossible to understate the importance of setting financial goals. Having concrete objectives to save for prevents you from spending too much or mismanaging your money. That said, there’s a difference between short-term financial goals, mid-term, and long-term. Long-term goals include things like retirement, but it’s also essential to save for targets in the immediate future.
Your short-term goals matter, so let’s dive into examples and how they can set you up for success.
Why You Should Set Short-Term Financial Goals
Setting short-term financial goals enables you to reach your long-term ones. Though your monthly expenses like rent, utilities, debt repayment, and insurance dominate your budget, it’s crucial to think of your future by putting money aside every paycheck or changing your spending habits because doing so enables you to reach your long-term goals.
For example, if your short-term goal is to spend $100 less on dining out every month, then that’s $100 you can save or put toward debt repayment (and, therefore, pay it off faster and be debt-free sooner than you planned). If your goal is to save $50 every month for an emergency fund, hopefully, that fund will be substantial by the time you need it, and you won’t be set back or have to take out a loan.
Examples of Short-Term Financial Goals
If saving for things like higher education or paying off a mortgage successfully are long-term goals, what are examples of short-term ones? A list of financial goals you can accomplish in the nearer future include:
- Start investing;
- Reduce your monthly spending;
- Building an emergency fund;
- Saving for a vacation;
- Paying for a wedding;
- Repaying debt;
- Saving for a downpayment;
And more. Anything you can achieve in a span of one to two years is usually considered a short-term goal because it’s either an expense you don’t have to save long for or an action or habit you can start immediately.
Keep Your Long-Term Goals in Mind
Keep your long-term goals in mind when setting your short-term. You’re trying to accomplish them simultaneously, so don’t focus on one at a time. It’s important to set aside money for your emergency fund and your eventual retirement.
Another way your short-term financial goals benefit your long-term objectives, though, is that they train you to think about money differently. The more financially savvy you become, the sooner you’ll be able to achieve what you want in the long term.
Give Yourself Reminders
Reaching smart financial goals can be challenging when you’re tempted to spend just a little bit more or buy one more drink. Set reminders in your phone or write them on sticky notes around your house or apartment, so you remember that you have short-term objectives you’re trying to reach. Daily reminders will help keep you from making unnecessary purchases that detract or delay you from accomplishing your goals.
Make Sure Your Goals are Measurable
Loosely defined goals are too vague and will be difficult to focus on. “I want to save more money” doesn’t adjust your mentality because it’s not concrete. Instead, “I want to save $2,000” is much more measurable. You can officially say you’ve reached your goal once you have that $2,000, and you can track your progress weekly or monthly as you get closer. Being able to monitor your progress helps you keep going.
Give Yourself a Deadline
Part of setting financial goals is determining when you want to reach them. Do you want to have $2,000 saved at the end of six months? A year? Without a deadline, it’s difficult to measure your progress and stay on track. It’s one thing to say you want to save $2,000, but being too flexible about timing opens the door for more thoughts like, “This ad-on to my order wouldn’t hurt.”
Plus, vague goals aren’t motivating. Similar to the previous example, saying “I want to save for a vacation” doesn’t help you do that — your vacation could end up happening in a year or five. “I want to save up for a vacation next year” is more encouraging.
Be Specific and Unique
Be specific when defining short-term goals, such as identifying which particular debts you want to pay off first. You should also set goals unique to yourself without concern for “keeping up” with your peers. Save what you can afford and establish habits that are right for you.
If your pay schedule is setting you back, not your income — meaning you don’t receive your paycheck until after many of your bills are due, resulting in late fees and increasing interest rates — you can use Earnin to access your paycheck before payday for money that’s already yours. The ability to pay everything you owe on time helps you reach your short-term financial goals.
Setting financial goals helps you budget your money wisely, make significant purchases, and pay off debt faster. What are your financial objectives in the near future?
Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.