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Why is it important to set financial goals? 

why is it important to set financial goals

Setting financial goals is essential because it can help you with all aspects of your finances. From budgeting to planning for retirement, financial goals can be the driving force to help you organize your money—so you get the most out of it. According to CNBC, about 58% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.1 Since more than half of U.S. citizens seem to be struggling financially, it’s arguable that setting financial goals and creating a budget is more important now than ever!

Keep reading for more information on the importance and benefits of setting financial goals. 

Financial Goals Can Help You Prioritize Your Spending 

For many people, their spending may go without being tracked or prioritized, aside from their monthly bills. The great thing about financial goals is that they help you take that leftover money after necessary expenses and put it to good use. For example, if you have a plan for a nice vacation at the end of the year, chances are that a lot of your extra income will go to that travel fund before you spend it. This kind of prioritization can help you experience everything you want before your money is spent! 

They Can Help Your Future-self

Another essential thing that setting financial goals can accomplish is helping your future self. By establishing long-term goals, you can secure your financial future if any unexpected expenses arise. Things like losing or switching jobs, facing major life milestones, or retiring are things you need to prepare for. For example, if you want to retire at the age of 65, you will have to start a financial plan well before that retirement age. Whether your retirement plan includes a 401k or an IRA, you can begin to save money by creating a financial goal for retirement. 

Financial Goals Help Keep You Accountable

If you struggle with bad spending habits (here are some signs of financial irresponsibility if you are unsure), then setting financial goals will help you mend those habits. If you have any savings goals in mind, then every time you overspend, impulse buy, or mindlessly spend, chances are you will notice those purchases. And so, hold yourself accountable more than you would if you didn’t have any long-term or short-term financial goals in place. 

You Find a Budget That Works Best for Your Lifestyle

Budgeting is where you track your income and expenses to create a plan for your money. It can be a great way to figure out what kinds of things you can afford and places where you can save. There are many budgeting plans and outlines that you can follow to start, and once you find one that works for you, you can implement it. When you incorporate financial goals into a budget, it can be a great way to personalize things. And just like anything else, personalizing a budget can make it easier to follow and use. 

Financial Goals Can Help You Track Progress and Boost Motivation

Like any long-term pursuit with money, tracking progress is vital to your future success with your finances. With financial goals in mind, you will likely be more vigilant about tracking your progress. This can be a huge motivator for continuing to fine-tune your financial planning and can even help you think about creating new goals. 

A Few Financial Goals That People Have

If you haven’t set financial goals before, you may want a starting point. Here are some examples of goals that people have with their money: 

Financial GoalDescription
Emergency FundEstablish a safety net of three to six months’ living expenses to cover unexpected costs, preventing reliance on debt.
Budgeting Annually or MonthlySet and follow a budget to manage spending, save, and develop better financial habits. Especially beneficial for those struggling with savings or effective spending.
Retirement SavingsPlan and save for retirement, prioritizing financial security in later years.
Debt-Free StatusWork towards eliminating various debts (credit cards, student loans) for financial freedom and additional personal funds.
Family Planning and MilestonesPlan for major life events like education, weddings, family planning, and travel, requiring financial stability.
HomeownershipSave and plan for homeownership, considering costs like down payments, inspections, legal fees, and closing costs.
Credit Score ImprovementFocus on rebuilding credit scores and overall financial health to enhance housing and employment prospects.
Building Wealth and Passive IncomeWork towards wealth-building and generating passive income through investments like real estate and stocks, aiming for financial abundance and security.

Below is more information on each option:

Creating a Solid Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is essential to financial security if anything unexpected happens and is often a financial goal that many households have. Most experts recommend a minimum savings fund of at least three to six months for emergencies. You can use a standard savings account or go for a high-yield one if that works better. With a solid safety net, you can prevent having to go into debt when something unexpected happens. 

Building a Budget Annually or Monthly

One of the first financial goals that people have is to come up with and follow a budget. Budgeting can be an excellent tool for you if you have a hard time saving money and bad spending habits. 

Having a Good Amount of Retirement Savings

You may not even have thought about retirement savings, and if you are in your early twenties, that is the norm. However, most Americans in their late 20s really start thinking about a retirement plan. This is a fundamental money goal that everyone should think about and plan for. 

Becoming Debt Free (Credit Card Debt, Student Loan Debt, Etc.)

Most Americans have debt, whether credit card debt, student loans, payday loans, auto loans, cash advance loans, etc. And for many people, becoming debt-free is a huge goal. Getting rid of debt means financial freedom and extra money to spend on whatever you want! 

Family Planning and Other Milestones 

Major life milestones may not be possible until you are financially secure, and for many people, planning for these milestones is a part of their financial goals. These significant milestones can include higher education, a wedding, family planning, traveling, etc. 

Purchasing a Home

Owning a home is another financial goal that many people have. Different costs associated with a house include a down payment, inspections, lawyer costs, and closing costs. These costs can be thousands of dollars but are a necessity to get through the process. Therefore, it takes a good amount of planning to reach this goal. 

Improving Their Credit Score and Overall Financial Health

Your credit score impacts all aspects of your finances and can even affect the place you live and your job. And so, it shouldn’t be too surprising that one long-term financial goal that many people have is to rebuild credit scores and overall financial health. 

To Build Wealth and Have More Money

Once you have a stable job and income, one goal you may have is to build wealth and pursue things like passive income. Things like real estate, stocks, and other investments can be a great way to earn passive income, and is a goal that many people have! 

FAQS

How does creating financial goals fit into an overall financial plan?

Creating financial goals is a fundamental step in developing a comprehensive financial plan. It helps in allocating resources effectively, whether for paying off student loan debt, saving for a down payment on a house, or planning for retirement, thereby contributing to long-term financial stability. No matter what your goals are, it’s important to have a financial plan.

Can setting financial goals help me manage my student loan debt more effectively?

Yes, including student loan repayment in your financial goals can help you manage and pay off this debt more efficiently. It allows you to prioritize your payments and potentially reduce the interest paid over time.

How important is financial education in achieving financial freedom through goal setting?

Financial education is crucial in achieving financial freedom as it equips you with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Understanding personal finance concepts helps in setting realistic goals and developing strategies to meet them.

What role does a savings account play in meeting my financial goals?

A savings account is a key component in meeting financial goals. It provides a secure place to accumulate funds for specific goals, whether for an emergency fund, a major purchase, or a buffer against financial uncertainties.

Should I consult a financial professional when setting complex financial goals?

Consulting a financial professional can be beneficial, especially for complex goals like retirement planning or investment strategies. They can provide tailored advice based on your personal finance situation and help refine your financial planning.

How often should I reassess my financial goals to ensure they align with my current financial situation?

It’s important to set financial goals regularly, at least annually, or when there are significant changes in your life, such as a change in income, family circumstances, or new financial obligations like a student loan.

What strategies can I use to balance saving for short-term goals, like a vacation, with long-term goals, like financial stability?

Balance short-term and long-term goals by allocating a portion of your income to immediate needs while consistently contributing to long-term objectives. Prioritize building an emergency fund for financial stability, then allocate funds for other goals like vacations or a down payment on a home.

A Word From CreditNinja on Getting Started With a Financial Goal

No matter where you are with your finances, goal setting is great to have in place. Money goals can help you prepare for your future, find the perfect budget, get out of debt, build substantial savings, and motivate you to stay on track with your money. And so, if you haven’t thought about setting financial goals before, it is never too late to start! 

CreditNinja has an entire financial resource center on our website dedicated to providing consumers with information to help them on their journey toward financial success. Check out the CreditNinja blog dojo for hundreds of free articles, information about online loans, debt calculators, and other financial tools available to everyone for free! 

References: 

  1. With inflation stubbornly high, 58% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck | CNBC

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