The concept of money and building wealth can feel a bit fuzzy, especially if you’re just getting started in managing your finances. But, like anything else, taking charge of your finances is a lot easier with specific goals to guide you. In this article, we'll go over some good goals to have for your finances!
How to set your goals
Your finances impact every facet of your life. It makes sense to think about all the areas where you’ll need to spend and where you could earn. Consider your career trajectory and retirement plans. Think about the lifestyle you have or the one you aspire to.
Factor in your family and relationships—especially who you can depend on financially and who depends on you. And don’t forget about investing in your personal development over the years.
As you map out your goals, there’s no perfect formula. You could use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives. Or you could set firm financial goals and work backward to figure out how that money will play out in all the factors we considered above. You could also focus on the big picture of how you imagine your life, then calculate what financial milestones will get you there.
What are good goals to have? 10 good goals to have in life and for your finances
So, what are good goals to have that will benefit you financially? These 10 goals can be applied to your finances and all other areas of your life.
1. Have a job (or build a business) that meets your needs
Most of us work in order to earn money. So you absolutely want your job to meet your financial needs and fund your financial goals. There are lots of reasons why women don’t have the salaries that help them reach their goals. Course correct by seeking out a promotion, negotiating a salary increase, or finding somewhere you’re valued better.
For many people, actually liking their job is also one of their basic needs. If you want to retire super young and are willing to grind through tough conditions in the short term in exchange for big bucks, that might be the right solution for you. But if you want a long, fulfilling career that also pays the bills, make it happen.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your current job or work environment, seek out one that feels right. Or if entrepreneurship is calling your name, start your own business from scratch.
2. Establish firm boundaries with yourself and others
Boundaries can be scary, but they’re necessary to accomplish your goals. Stay disciplined with yourself. Know your limits for when it’s ok to splurge and when you need to dig in deep and focus on those money goals.
And then don’t ignore the influence other people can have on you and your spending. If you’re on a no-spend month, don’t cave to peer pressure. Keep your eye on your goals and know that firm boundaries will get you there faster.
3. Cultivate good money habits
Just like with any other habit, good money choices take practice and repetition. Find healthy ways to cope when things go wrong, rather than throwing your progress out the window.
Prioritize saving, whether you’re just getting started, or you’re flexing your saving muscles by increasing how much you put away each time. Stay diligent with debt management, both paying it down and avoiding future debts.
And of course, drop those bad habits. Nothing will block the path toward your goals like bad habits that keep popping up.
4. Live in alignment with your values
Discover your personal values and make sure all your choices—including your money moves—are in alignment. This might look like giving back with your time and through donations.
Your values might shine through in the ways you earn and invest. And of course, be sure to treat others in your life well. Money can’t buy love, but it may play a role in your relationships.
5. Keep learning
You can never go wrong by leveling up or learning something new. Proactively seek out learning opportunities, like training at work, certifications in fields that interest you, or a specific money-making skill.
But don’t be afraid of failure. Sometimes our best lessons come from the times we strike out or make a mess. And often, we need to learn what we don’t like before we figure out what we love.
6. Invest in yourself
You are your greatest asset, so you’re also your best investment. Pour into yourself so that you can pour into your future and others in the ways you want. Seek out education, either to deepen your expertise or broaden your perspective. Choose conferences, mentors, and projects that will boost your career (and earning potential!).
And don’t overlook the “softer” side of investing in yourself. Find a self-care routine that fits your personal needs and your budget. Prioritize your health and well-being. Not only will this equip you to tackle your goals, but you’ll also save time and money in the long run by preventing illness and burnout.
7. Stay thankful
If accomplishing your goals was easy, there’d be no need to strive for them. You might go through a rough patch or have a bad day, but a strong gratitude practice can get you through. And be sure to celebrate big and small wins as you make progress toward your goals.
8. Communicate your needs
Become your best advocate in every part of your life. Reflect on what you need and want. Once it’s clear to yourself, make it known to those around you.
For example, if your family, friends, or partner have different spending philosophies than you, but you know what your goals are, it’s easier to stand firm in your decisions. And learning to speak up for yourself on the job can improve how you feel about your work environment and might even move you closer to your career goals.
9. Manage your time
Time is money, after all! Spend your time doing something productive, or something you love. (Even better when the task ticks both boxes.) Maximize any time spent on side-hustles so you can earn more in less time.
Focus on quality time with loved ones, rather than keeping one eye on your inbox and one thumb scrolling on your phone. And yes, sometimes rest really is the most productive way to spend your time.
10. Build up your savings
Having an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and a rainy day fund is always a good goal to have! Life is unpredictable. You never know when disaster may strike, or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will come knocking. It’s best to have money stored away for all the things we plan for...and everything we can’t.
Leverage this list of good goals to have!
No matter your timeline, these are some basic goals to have in life that will help just about anyone thrive. Do some reflection to uncover some of your own personal goals that will get you to where you want to go. To help you, check out these examples of financial goals as well as our list of key life lessons we all need.
Dream big and set ambitious goals. Don’t box yourself in. If you set high goals and don’t quite make them, you’ll still hopefully make meaningful progress. And you never know...you may just exceed all your wildest dreams.