If you have filed bankruptcy, you have taken the first step toward recovering and rebuilding your finances. Bankruptcy gives you a fresh start, and one of the best ways to regain strong financial health is to set short term financial goals.
What are the benefits of setting short term financial goals?
Through your required financial management course you will have been told that part of your money management plan should include setting short term financial goals. Having goals is an important part of your financial strategy for several reasons:
- Motivation – Sometimes it can be very difficult to stick with your budget. Setting short term financial goals gives you motivation to keep building your finances by allowing you to see results as you reach each of your goals.
- Accountability – Having defined, short-term financial goals with specific time frames hold you accountable for meeting each of those goals. When you set deadlines, you can focus your actions toward meeting that deadline. By setting goals, you are holding yourself accountable for your financial success.
- Increased Long Term Financial Success - Short term financial goals are usually components of long term goals. By meeting each of your short term goals, you are actually taking the steps needed to reach your long term goals. As you reach each of your short term goals, you will be closer to achieving your long term goals.
- Direction – Setting short term financial goals helps you focus on the direction you want to take. Having short term goals can help you understand the changes you want to make in your life and define where you want to be 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
Tips for Setting and Achieving Your Short Term Financial Goals
Set clear, measurable and realistic goals; in order for you to reach your goals, each goal must be clearly defined. “Saving more money” is not as good of a goal as “putting 5% of each paycheck into savings”. Aim to make your goals measurable. Paying off credit cards is a worthy goal; however, paying off AAA Bank account by January 1, 2015 is a better goal because it commits you to a deadline. Goals should also be realistic. Paying off AAA Bank within 90 days may be unrealistic depending on the balance you owe.
- Review your goals frequently – By reviewing your goals, you will be able to adjust them if your situation changes. Also, if you do not review your goals periodically, you will be less likely to do what is needed to achieve them. When you review your goals frequently, you train your mind to be alert to situations and things that are related to your goals so that you can utilize all tools, opportunities and resources available to you.
- Be accountable to someone – Being accountable to someone will help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals. Ask a close friend or family member to be your coach. Give them a copy of your short-term goals and ask them to check on your progress periodically. You should report to them the steps you have taken to reach your goals, any setbacks you have experienced and how you resolved those setbacks to get back on track.
- Say no if necessary – There will be times when you must say no to something in order to take a step closer to reaching your short term financial goals. For example, you may need to say no to that weekend trip with the girls if your budget does not have any wiggle room this month. Rather than jeopardizing your financial goals, you may need to make some sacrifices in order to stay on the right path. Saying no is not about denying yourself something you want — it is about taking another step toward reaching your short term goals so that you can build a stronger financial future.
With dedication, hard work and patience, you can reach each of your short term financial goals. If you experience a setback, do not let it destroy all of the good that you have achieved. Instead, look for what you can learn from the setback and then get back on the path to achieving your goals.
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