Financial goal setting and answerability

18 Sep 2015

By Darren Higgs

The Australian economy has been going strong for 24 years, unemployment is low, interest rates are low and share and property values are still higher than they were a few years ago. As with anything in life, success begets success. So why not set your next financial goals while things are good?

Goal setting is the key to success. With finances, you regularly get a chance to achieve your goals. This can be through increases in employment income, bonuses, putting your children through the schools you want, family holidays, renovating your home the way you want to, reducing your debt and increasing your investments. There are so many financial and lifestyle goals one can achieve, and they are very personal to each and every one of us.

In saying this, there are goals that progress you forward and there are goals that hold you back. If you are setting goals that hold you back, you will not feel right. It is how you address your financial goals that make all the difference.

Stay optimistic and hands on

Determine each financial goal in terms of getting to a place of positivity rather than avoiding a negative one. For example, 'I will stop being financially lazy' has the potential to make you feel guilty and bring you down. Instead, 'I will write down my assets and liabilities now' or 'I will seek help with my finances on Monday' is active and encouraging, and you will be proud of yourself.

Behavioural goals support action

Pick a behavioural goal rather than a result-oriented goal. This will help you stay in control. For example, 'I will invest $x per month into investments' or 'I will salary sacrifice $x per month into superannuation' is better than telling yourself 'I will be financially free in five years.'

Why? Because if you directed monies to your financial goals, you will have successfully achieved your goals at the end of each day/week/month. However, if you do not know whether you are tracking to be financially free in five years, you may feel like you are failing. Value your efforts! If you take small baby steps towards creating wealth today, you will probably be financially free before you know it.

Make specific and measurable financial goals

We all know that making goals specific and measurable will help you stay focussed. Focus is one of the key ingredients to financial success. If your goal is to 'get rich as quick as possible,' how do you know whether you are achieving it? Instead, make your goal 'I will put extra money into the mortgage each week' or 'I will start a regular savings plan with the monies I do have.'

At the end of the week, if you have done just that, then you have reached your goal. It will be much easier for you to see that you are making progress. You can look back and be proud of your progress constantly.

Answerability

This is where a strong community helps make you successful. Once you set your goal, it makes you answerable. So ask your loved ones or somebody you trust to help you with your money. This will also make the trusted person answerable, as they no doubt want you to succeed. This is the benefit of a strong community. True lifestyle and financial goals often take people out of their comfort zones. Therefore, seek support where you can.

Set specific and measureable goals, lose any excuses, let trusted people know your plans so everybody is answerable and you will be successful. Commit to the financial ethos and never give up. This will not only help your personal finances, but also your lifestyle.

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