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How to Set and Achieve Financial Goals

Wondering how to set savings goals that are realistic and achievable?

Financial educator Nikita Gibson has outlined a five-step process that will not only assist you in setting your goals, but also help you achieve them:

  1. Know your personal finances
  2. Identify Your SMART goals
  3. Target the financial tool to meet your goal
  4. Execute your plan
  5. Shift your plan as necessary

Know Your Personal Finances

Before you set your goals, take stock of your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. This allows you to understand exactly how much you’re bringing in, where your money goes, what you own, what you owe, and how much you can set aside to chase those big dreams.

Download Nikita’s full breakdown of how to assess your finances below.

Identify Your SMART Goals

Setting goals is more than just wishful thinking. It’s about defining your aspirations clearly and laying out a practical roadmap to achieve them. That means figuring out how much the goal will cost, how long it’ll take to achieve it, and what tools you’ll need to use to get there. 

Here's how to set a SMART goal and an example of how to right one (you can also download them below):

Target the Right Financial Tool to Meet Your Goal

What do you need to help you achieve your financial dreams? After you clearly identify your SMART goals, you need to choose the right tool to make those goals a reality.

Whether you want to own a home or build a college fund for your children, you’ll get the best results if you choose the correct financial products and services.

Here’s an example of how to assess the benefits of a financial tool. You can download another example below:

Execute Your Plan

It’s time to put your plan in action. After you’ve assessed your financial situation, set SMART financial goals, and identified the tools to make those goals a reality, you’re ready to execute. Put the plan into action and track it monthly.

Shift Your Plan as Necessary

Things don’t always go exactly as we plan. You must be ready to adjust your financial plan when life demands it. Your goals will still be within reach, but you may need to change your strategy for meeting them.

Visit our MoneySmart hub for more articles, videos, and tips on how to secure your finances. Have a specific question you’d like answered? Submit it and it could be answered in our Ask the Expert column.

Download Steps 1-3