How to Keep Your Financial Goals on Track

If you are looking to target new financial goals this year, this blog can help ensure you stick to them to see the benefits in the future. Whether you’re saving up for retirement, establishing an emergency fund, or just want to put away a little more into your savings each month, we can help.

Equally important to setting financial goals is developing a process to ensure you stick to them and continue to make progress. If you have the benefit of starting at the beginning of year, you also give yourself the most potential time to plan out and work towards your goals.

Sample Financial Goals

Not sure where to start? There are a few basic goals you can target that will benefit you in almost any situation. If you haven’t set a budget for this year, that can be a great place to begin. This should cover your income, expenses, and any saving goals you hope to reach. Work on tracking your spending, allocating funds for savings, and determining if there are any areas you need to cut back on spending.
Other additional financial resolutions could be:
  • Paying off your debt: If you have outstanding debt, you could set a goal to pay off the high interest debt, such as credit card balances or personal loans through a repayment plan.
  • Start an emergency fund: In times of need, an emergency fund can be essential in covering unexpected expenses. Set a goal based on living expenses and start putting aside money monthly until you are comfortable with your fund.
  • Grow your savings for retirement: Make a commitment to increase your contributions to your retirement savings through a 401(k), IRA, or however you choose to save.
  • Improve your credit score: If you aren’t happy with your current credit score, a full year of making payments on time and other decisions can help to improve it. Follow our guide and stay on track to start making progress.
These are all examples of financial resolutions you can choose to focus on. Choose what works best for you and put together a plan of attack to better yourself financially this year.

Breaking Down Your Goals

Now that you have a goal in mind, you have to follow through. Too many goals, financial or otherwise, fall through because people fail to stick with them. In this section we’ll suggest a few tips to help you stay with your goals throughout the year. To start, you should make sure your financial goal is a SMART goal. Which means it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. If you only have a general goal of adding to your savings, you may end up only putting a few hundred dollars away and feeling like you’ve made no real progress.

Let’s say you want to build an emergency fund. Good practice for an emergency fund is putting away enough to cover 3-6 months of your living expenses. If you’ve completed your budget, this should be a simple target to determine. If your monthly living expenses are $3,500, your emergency fund should be $10,500-$21,000. Targeting the lower end of $10,500, your goal should be to put away $875 into that fund each month.

Now you have a specific, measurable goal that is time-bound. Whatever you have chosen as your goal, break it out into monthly and/or quarterly targets to build towards the greater goal. This will help you keep on track. Breaking down the larger goal into smaller more manageable steps will give you momentum, make it easy to track progress, and increase your likelihood of sticking to it.

Adapting to Change

When targeting a financial goal over the course of the year, you will have to allow yourself to be somewhat flexible to account for roadblocks, setbacks, or potential windfalls. To stay within our example, it may be necessary to reduce your emergency fund if you are having difficulty putting money away this year. In another way, if you receive a large bonus or a promotion that comes with a large pay increase, you could increase your emergency fund goal, or add an additional goal targeting retirement savings.

Since you’ve made goals that are trackable, you can determine as you go if you are on the path to success or need to make any changes. When you do hit your monthly goal, recognize the achievement and celebrate the milestone! That is good way to move forward and keep your goal top of mind while making it a positive endeavor.

Setting out to target realistic, specific financial goals is a great way to increase the likelihood that you see real, achievable results. Whether you are establishing a budget, paying off debt, creating an emergency fund, or boosting retirement savings, it can become a positive and empowering journey towards achieving long-term financial stability and peace of mind. Remember, the dedication you show to your financial goals today will help you stick with them through this year and into the future.
The material provided on this website is intended for informational purposes only. Links to other web sites are provided for reference and do not constitute a referral or endorsement by Pioneer or its affiliates. Please note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not be current. It is recommended that you consult with a financial professional for assistance regarding the information contained herein.