By Elise Kemp
As a young leader and changemaker, you should make sure that the goals you have worked so hard to achieve also align with the management of your finances. When it comes to financial goals, most of us know what we would ideally like to reach, but not many of us know how to set a specific financial trajectory for a frontier we have not yet pioneered.
How can your trajectory become more focused, and more targeted? You may have heard of goal-setting strategies before, and maybe you’ve heard of the common SMART criteria for goal setting. But what does it really mean to put SMART goals into practice?
S – Specific
Be SPECIFIC. Identify and write down the few specific goals you have for growing financially. Do you have a certain amount of funds raised or profit made that you want to achieve in the next month? What about the next year? Are you seeking a certain number of investors by the end of the year? Or seeking to invest yourself?
M – Measurable
Make sure your goals are MEASURABLE by using specific tracking methods, or organized by a certain date by which you want to accomplish a focused set of one to three goals that you are actively keeping track of. Having too many goals to reach can feel overwhelming, and having a smaller number is a more efficient way to see results and measure the results.
A – Attainable
Choosing ATTAINABLE goals will also keep your measurability in check. Saving thousands seems nearly impossible upfront, but saving an allocated portion of your paycheck each month is an attainable goal that has surprising returns when accumulated over the long run.
R – Realistic
Beyond that, it is also important to be REALISTIC. Make short-term and long-term goals, and every six months, keep revisiting the short-term goals in order to continue the process of a more targeted vision toward your financial future.
Short-term (less than five years)
- Building an emergency fund (three-six months living expenses)
- Buying a car
- Taking a vacation
Intermediate (five–10 years)
- Setting aside funds for a home down payment
- Paying off student loans
- Saving for a replacement vehicle
Long-term (10 years or more)
- Paying off a mortgage
- College funding
T – Timely
You should be making TIMELY goals as well. Divide your priority goals into those pieces you want to or can achieve now and those pieces that will take a little longer.
Your vision and your goals are important and have the potential to make an impact on your community, and making financial goals is what will carry you there. This simple outline will help you set your bearings toward your target for this month, this year, and even 10 years down the road.