Money Problems – Day 1: Setting Goals

Today, I am starting a series, Money Problems: 30 Days to Perfect Finances.   The series will consist of 30 things you can do in one setting to perfect your finances.  It’s not a system to magically make your debt disappear.  Instead, it is a path to understanding where you are, where you want to be, and–most importantly–how to bridge the gap.

I’m not going to run the series in 30 consecutive days.  That’s not my schedule.  Also, I think that talking about the same thing for 30 days straight will bore both of us.   Instead, it will run roughly once a week.  To make sure you don’t miss a post, please take a moment to subscribe, either by email or rss.

In this, the first installment, we’re going to talk about goals.

First, we’re going to ask 3 questions.

  1. What is your financial goal?
  2. Why?
  3. How can you get there?

The first question is “What is your goal?” Of course, in this series, on this site, we’re only going to be addressing your financial goals.  Losing 300 pounds, growing wings, and flying to the moon may be an admirable goal, but it’s considerably outside of the scope of this project.

So, what is your financial goal?  Do you want to retire a millionaire, or become financially independent?  Do you want to pay off your debt, or save enough money to see the world?  Do you want to learn how to retire by 40?

Your goal does not matter…to anyone but you.  To you, though, it is terribly important.  Without a goal, how can you measure you progress and see what you have accomplished?  It’s easy to get frustrated and give up when you can’t look back and see what successes you have actually accumulated.

Whatever your goal, you have to do two things:

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you it is stupid or impossible.    There is a quote that I can’t find attribution for, other than as an old Chinese proverb: “Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”
  2. Write it down and hang it up.  This lets you see your goal every day.  It will be impossible to forget and difficult to ignore.  I have Dave Ramsey‘s Baby Steps hanging on my refrigerator where I see it a dozen times per day.

The second major question to ask yourself is “Why?”  Why is this goal important to you?  Why do you care?

If you can’t answer that, it’s time to sit back and think about it for a while.  Without a solid reason to succeed, you’ll lose motivation and fail.   Are you getting out of debt to give yourself a secure retirement?  Do you want to save to travel the world because you’ve been dreaming about it since you were in diapers?  Do you simply want to provide a secure future for your family?   Whatever your reason, it is–and should be–uniquely yours.

The third and final question is “How can you make it happen?”  That question has an extremely simple answer: read the rest of the series.

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  • 4 comments

    Comments

    1. Great idea. “Why” is a great point — it’s what will keep us motivated over time.

      Looking forward to the next post in the series. Let’s “make it happen”.

    2. Setting financial goals is extremely important. They help to keep me focused and motivated on my aims, and this is a great example of how they should be done.

    3. This is exactly some thing I need to find more information about, many thanks for the article.

    4. Nice idea to start a series like this Jason! I think it’s a good idea to space the tips out on a weekly basis as well.

      Goal setting is extremely important. One cannot get started without knowing where they are or where they want to be.

      The one thing I would add is to just make sure that the goals and reasons for those goals are in line with the person’s life values (ie what REALLY matters to them at a deep level).

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