S.M.A.R.T. Financial Goal Setting for 2017

Paul Miller |

The New Year always seems like the most popular time people are more inclined to set goals, or resolutions for themselves. While the concept can be positive and healthy, we feel there is an even better route you can take that will keep the good spirits up year-round. Why wait until the end of the year to set some goals that you will probably only follow through with until the middle of year? Year round goal setting is important to help you plan and succeed in life. Goals allow you achieve stability in your finances and any other facet of your life that needs improvement. Whether you have a young family, are planning to build upon your savings, preparing for years of education, or approaching retirement, the steps to setting your 2017 goals are very much one in the same. Whatever goal(s) you are trying to attain, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T:


Be STRICT with the goals you set. A goal needs to be as specific as possible to achieve it; when they are too broad we lose sight of what is important. With that, you also need to be strict with yourself if you want to stick to your plan, do not cheat or cut corners, show some self-discipline. “Save money” or “lose weight” is far too general a goal and has no time management supporting it. State exactly what your goal is and your timeline for achieving it. For example, write down your specific goal somewhere you look everyday: “I will set aside $10,000 in 2017 for my retirement plan,” to remind yourself of what you are aiming towards.


Set MEANINGFUL goals with a measurable strategy so you know when you have achieved it, or are getting close. If one of your financial goals for 2017 is to: set aside $10,000 for your retirement plan, state the goal as: “I want to create a retirement fund in 2017 that is equal to three months pay.” This puts your financial goal into perspective of what it will cost you and how long it will take to reach your end mark.


Set ACHIEVABLE goals. High expectations are good when setting goals, but the goals you set must be realistic; you always want to set yourself up for success. The financial goal of $10,000 you are attempting to reach for the year may not seem like something you can achieve when you look at the whole figure, thus creating a sense of discouragement. However, when you break the goal down into daily intervals of $28, that $10,000 now seems very attainable. This will boost your motivated mentality and reassure yourself that you can do it.


Be REASONABLE with your financial goals. When setting your financial goals for 2017, have a reasonable outcome in mind. By reasonable, we mean make sure you are setting goals that will substantially increase your value of life. Do not create a goal just to pass some time or to get through the day; make sure you are considering an aspect of your life that could use some improvement and put your energy toward that goal. For most people, it is not reasonable to save money for a $150,000 boat when their cars, home, or credit card bills have not been paid off. However, it is reasonable to believe that if you manage your money well in 2017, you may be able to achieve your retirement savings plan so in the future you can afford that boat.


Make sure your goals are TIMELY. The ability to set times and milestones throughout the process of achieving your specific goals will create enthusiasm to stay on track. By timing the growth of your retirement savings fund in weekly or monthly increments, you will consistently revisit the goal(s) you set and see the progress you are making. As you watch yourself become closer and closer to your end goal, you will find yourself doing everything you can in order to make it happen.

Looking back on the process you just went through in order to complete your goal, you will feel refreshed and accomplished. When you take things step-by-step, and set up marks to measure your success, you can do anything you set your mind to. But don’t stop there! Once you achieve one goal, set another! The possibilities are endless. To increase your odds of success, make sure your 2017 financial goals are Strict, Meaningful, Achievable, Reasonable and Timely. For help setting your financial goals this year, contact Indian River Financial Group.