With so many people buckling down for the academic year, wistfully viewing the vacation pictures, it's an appropriate time to be reviewing financial goals. Setting goals is a fundamental step to financial security. Our priorities, however, tend to shift as time goes on. Is your household ready for a "reset" button?
It has been proven over and over again that when you write it down, a goal is much more likely to be achieved. So the importance of setting goals is obvious, right? Well, it may be obvious, but that doesn't always mean it gets done! I hope you'll take some time this week to take at look at your goals and priorities.
Recall what your own personal values are.
Make a list of your values, things that are important to you. Then, rank them in numerical order, and rewrite your list in that order. While it may be neater to do this on a computer, there may be internalization value in doing this part of the process with paper and a pen.
Then write out needs, wants, and wishes.
Start with really specific short term things such as "pay off the balance on the credit card" or "pay for a large portion of Junior's college tuition." Once you have the short term out of the way, you get to dream, and dream BIG. What about retirement? How do you see your life in 5, 10, 15 years? What does financial freedom look like to you?
Next, prioritize those things into three categories: needs, wants and wishes. One may not need to pay for Junior's college, but one does usually need to pay off high consumer debt in order to be financially secure (and have a better chance of being able to pay for Junior's college!). By comparing this list of priorities with the values list, you will see if your dreams are aligned with your values, and help you determine the priority of each one within their category. This is critical! If your goals are not congruent with your values, they won't lead you to financial security.