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Just as top athletes engage with sports coaches to help them achieve their full potential, engaging with a financial coach could give you the edge you need to smash your financial targets.

Article by Akwasi Duodu

The importance of financial goal setting

Getting started is the most difficult step for those new to financial planning and goal setting.  But it all starts with having financial goals. Goals give you a target and help you focus on the things you really want to do with your money.

Building wealth and managing spending involves some short-term sacrifices. Sacrifice becomes a lot easier when you know why you’re doing it. So, the first question you need to ask yourself is why am I doing this?

Examples of financial goals

Setting goals is crucial for effective financial planning, guiding you toward long-term stability, security, and abundance.

Please find below some examples of short, medium, and long-term financial goals.

Short-term financial goals

Typically, short-term financial goals are set to be achieved within a year or two and include:

  • Setting up a pension
  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Saving for a holiday

Medium-term financial goals

The goals are typically achieved within 1 to 5 years and include items such as:

  • Saving for a deposit to buy a property
  • Building an emergency savings fund
  • Saving up to buy a new car

Long-term financial goals

When it comes to long-term financial goals, these are typically achieved over a lifetime and include

  • Saving for retirement
  • Pay off your mortgage
  • Creating generational wealth

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

One of the best things for people feeling lost or hopeless is to accomplish a goal. This is because having a sense of accomplishment is important for our emotional health. One of the first rules of goal setting is to ensure that your goals are SMART – meaning specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted.

I always recommend starting small, with something easily achievable. So, achieving a small goal can be fun and should give you the confidence to keep going and accept greater challenges.

Find out where you are

Imagine being in a huge, unfamiliar shopping mall. You are trying to find a shop on the map. The map shows you where the shop is but how could you possibly find it without knowing where you are?

The same principle applies in goal setting. Finding out where you are now is crucial to any plan and this can be done by taking stock of your net worth, including your income, expenditure, assets, debts, insurance, pension plans, savings and investments and Wills.

Discover where you want to be

This is where you close your eyes and visualise. What do you want to have achieved financially in five years’ time? What about in ten years or at retirement? Are you thinking about ways to increase your net worth? You can have separate goals for different time frames, breaking it all down into short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

A short-term goal may be to get out of debt or to build an emergency fund. A medium-term goal may be to save for a house deposit, whilst a long-term goal may be to plan for retirement. It is always worth writing your goals down and revisiting and refining them regularly.

Explore the different ways of getting there

You may have heard the phrase; “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Having a game plan is crucial if you’re serious about achieving your targets. This applies to short, medium- and long-term goals.

Financial goals don’t have to be set in stone. They are there to be revisited and revised as your life evolves and your priorities change. Talking to someone about your goals makes them real and tangible. This is where engaging with a financial adviser should help.

Have a good coach in your corner

Having goals is one thing however transferring them into reality is quite another. Just as top athletes engage with sports coaches to help them achieve their full potential, engaging with a financial coach could give you the edge you need to smash your financial targets.

The best financial advisers act as financial coaches, and coaching extends beyond just financial advice. Your financial coach may help you with career advice, crucial decision making as well as helping you make financial plans. and they will challenge you and remind you why you are making these sacrifices.

Most importantly, having someone in your corner who has your back and is willing to listen could make the difference between winning or losing. So yes, it’s time to get started.

Article FAQs

Please find below some questions and answers covering the topics raised in this article.

Can you give me some examples of short, medium, and long-term financial goals?

Short-term goals might include saving for a holiday, setting up a pension, or a personal purchase such as a car. Medium-term goals could involve saving for a deposit on a house or funding your children’s education. Long-term goals often focus on, building wealth, retirement savings and tax planning.

What is goal-based financial planning?

Goal-based financial planning is an approach that focuses on setting and achieving specific objectives. It involves defining clear, measurable goals with set timelines, and prioritising them according to your life’s milestones and financial objectives. Setting goals is a solid way of ensuring you are actively working towards achieving your financial ambitions.

Related reading: What is financial planning?

How do I track my progress toward my financial goals?

Tracking progress toward financial goals can be done by setting specific milestones, using budgeting apps or cash flow forecasting software.  Furthermore, working with a financial planner can be an effective way of keeping you on track toward your goals. It’s important to also mention the importance of reviewing and amending your plans, should your financial or personal life change significantly.

What are the benefits of working with a financial planner?

Working with a financial planner offers many benefits. They provide personalised advice tailored to your financial goals. Furthermore, they can help to establish your goals, offer investment management services, and can work with you to minimise taxes and grow your wealth.

Can you recommend a good financial planning process to follow?

A recommended financial planning process involves assessing your current financial situation, setting realistic financial goals, creating a detailed plan to achieve those goals, implementing the plan, and regularly reviewing and adjusting it to reflect changes in your financial situation or goals.

For more information, read our guide to the financial planning process, today.

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