Accomplishing financial goals
Deciding on your goals is an important first step. To make progress toward achieving your goals, it's helpful to turn them into SMART goals. SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This gives you a plan with a sequence of achievable small steps that will lead to you reaching your ultimate goals.
Let's say one of your medium-term goals is to go with your friends to San Diego for spring break. Here's how to make this a SMART goal.
- Specific: A specific goal is, "I want to spend spring break in San Diego with three friends." A vague goal, for comparison, is more like, "I want to do something fun over spring break."
- Measurable: You need $500 for your share of gas money for the drive to San Diego and back, your share of the split hotel room cost, and food for the week. This is more concrete than, "I need money for the trip."
- Attainable: It's October, so you have about five months to save for your trip in April, and you'll save the money from your Work-Study job. You'll need to save $100 per month, or $25 per week, to go on the trip. You are more likely to see results with this goal than if you say, "I'll save any money that's left over at the end of the month."
- Realistic: You and your friends will drive the 1,000 miles in 15 hours, splitting driving time between the four of you. A vague goal is more like, "We'll make the trip in a day."
- Time-bound: You'll have 75% of the money saved by March. A vague goal is more like, "I'll have the money by early spring."
This is just one example of a SMART goal. You can use this idea with all goals-for those that are money-oriented and those that are not. Use the Savings Goal Worksheet
to help you develop your SMART goals.