How to Set Short-Term And Long-Term Financial Goals

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Creating financial goals can help you to map out your steps on the path to financial freedom. Short-term goals are the smaller steps that help you achieve large or long-term financial goals by adjusting your spending habits and lifestyle. Short-term goals can include getting out of debt or saving money for an emergency fund. Long-term goals are those that you can accomplish in two years or more, as they require larger funds. Examples of long-term financial goals can include saving for retirement or paying off a mortgage.

Setting Short-Term Financial Goals

  • List your short-term financial priorities and the amount of money you need to fulfill them. These can include eliminating debt, saving money to make a large purchase, or learning how to spend money wisely. When listing your priorities, separate goals that fulfill your needs and those that fulfill your "wants," and rank them in order of importance.

  • Create a budget and figure out your fixed and periodic expenses, assets and liabilities. Assets include money you have in bank accounts, and liabilities are debts you owe.

  • Remedy your credit score. Eliminating your unsecured debts, paying your bills on time and having a low debt-to-income ratio can help you repair bad credit, which is important for goals that may require you to have a good credit score, such as purchasing a car.

  • Set a target date for your short-term financial goals.

  • Evaluate your spending habits and think of ways that you can apply the money you earn towards your short-term financial goals. Ideas can include dining at restaurants less, limiting the amount of unnecessary items you purchase and applying the money saved towards your financial goal.

Setting Long-Term Financial Goals

  • List your future financial needs and desires, as well as the amount you need to save. Rank each item on your list in order of priority. Website Financial Literacy Month states that the best financial goals are specific, achievable, rewarding, trackable and measurable.

  • List options that can help you slowly ensure your future financial success. These options can include opening a high-interest savings account, setting up a retirement account through your employer or partnering with a financial advisor for guidance.

  • Set a target date for your long-term financial goals.

  • Determine how you can realistically contribute to your long-term goals on a monthly or ongoing basis. Ideas include setting up an automatic payroll deduction into a retirement account, automatically transferring money from a checking account into a savings account through your online banking services, or depositing the loose change you collect over the course of a month into a savings account.

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