The hardest time to save is when we’re ‘just saving’ with no end in sight. It’s like going to the gym to train; but, train for what?
As Lewis Carrol once wrote ‘If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.’ Goals help us set the direction and motivation for our choices, and speak to our integrity and authenticity.
Whilst most people want to enjoy a prosperous life, a proper plan for creating wealth is not always high on their agenda. If we want to change this, we need to have a clear goal in mind as to what we want our financial future to look like.
When we set clearly defined savings goals we have a better chance of accomplishing them because we know what we’re working towards. It’s not simply putting money in your bank account or relying on what’s left after your monthly expenses; that money can be easily spent if there’s no clear purpose for it.
Often the best place to start is by considering our life goals, and then aligning our savings goals to help us achieve those life goals. The two are intrinsically connected – so the planning should be connected too!
Here are two tips on how you can set achievable financial goals:
Save for the next big life transition
This could be retirement, marriage, buying a car or house, paying for university or any other big life goal that you have.
Each of these transitions have unique costs, considerations and timelines, which means that you could be saving for more than one of them at any given time.
The longer you have available to save, the more you can include strategies that account for compound interest accrual and tax efficiencies on the different investment products.
You can also start working towards these savings goals by either investing a lump sum or making regular contributions to the investment portfolio.
Have an emergency fund
Whilst life transitions are events that we can reasonably plan for, we have to figure out a smart way of dealing with the eventuality of unexpected expenses.
Your roof may cave in or there may be a burglary and that will cost you money. It helps to know you’re secure for those future events that will need you to dig deeper into your pockets.
A very smart way of protecting yourself (aside from insurance) against unexpected expenses is to create an emergency fund. This is to ensure you don’t clean out your savings accounts or have to rely on loans and credit cards for emergency expenses.
It is ideal to save up for six months of living expenses. Of course, this won’t be easy but the goal is to have a backup beyond your income source(s). You can start by including emergency fund contributions in your budget.
The beautiful part of this is that you decide how much you’ll dedicate towards the emergency savings. So throw in what you can afford to. Once you’ve paid off all your debts, you can add more.
Creating savings goals will give you more peace of mind in the future and ensure you have more financial security in your life. A productive and positive attitude towards how you work with your savings is just as important as amassing the actual funds.