It can be awfully easy for the day-to-day costs of food, rent and transport to keep you from paying attention to preparing for your financial future. However, the key to financial security involves planning ahead and having specific financial goals. Working towards a particular financial goal can help you to avoid spending more money than you should and stay on track with saving regularly.
These are your financial goals for the next 3 years. The easiest way to get a handle on your spending is to look at your habits and create a budget based on day-to-day costs as well as your financial goals.
Prioritise what will make you more financially secure in the short-term – for example, paying off debt, setting up an emergency fund or saving for an upcoming large expense.
Medium-term goals are what you want to achieve within the next 3-10 years. People can often focus on short- and long-term goals only, but medium-term goals are also very important.
These goals can be more ambitious than short-term ones because you’ll be preparing for them longer. They can include things like saving up for a deposit on a house, starting a business or saving up for a special trip. After creating a budget for your short-term goals, you can now set aside a certain amount of money each month to go towards your medium-term goals.
An obvious long-term goal is saving for retirement. Other long-term goals can include living without debt, paying off your home loan, putting your children through university without needing loans, or even an overseas holiday you’ve always dreamed of.
But are they the right goals?
Ultimately, only you can decide what’s important to you financially. No one else can tell you if your financial goals are correct or not because they’re deeply personal. Your goals can include responsible things like mortgages and car payments, and can also include things that bring you joy, like saving up for travel or taking a university course.
Setting overly ambitious, unrealistic goals can dishearten you and discourage you from saving. It’s important to keep in mind that you’re more likely to succeed at reaching your financial goals if you’re sensible about how much you can achieve and the amount of time that you can achieve them in.