It’s a strange question to ask on a personal finance blog for people in their 20s, but I bring this up because I see so many graduates getting pulled in different directions. They want to get out of debt, they want to have a down payment for a house, they want to have a nice wedding, they may want to start a business, and some want to become parents. On top of this they want to save for retirement, but not at the expense of having a good time now.
Oh, and they want this system pretty much set up and done by the time they’re 30. Whoa! Seriously?!
Financial Goals -Define What Important to You
Before we can even create some sort of system to help you reach your financial goals we have to first talk about what’s important to you. By important, I mean ask yourself what goals have to happen (at the expense of the others)?
You can’t do everything at the same time. Get a piece of paper work and come up with your 3 biggest goals you have for your money. Now rank them from most important to least. If you’re stuck on ideas (perhaps you have so many), here are a few common financial goals:
- Pay off credit card debt
- Save for retirement
- Buy a house
- Save for college
- Improve house
- Take a trip
Do any of these stand out? Don’t worry if none of them call out to you, just try to get an idea of what’s important to you.
Drop (or At Least Hold Off) What Doesn’t Matter Financially
While I’m not gazelle intense or think credit cards are evil, I do believe Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps work because they give people a focus on their money. At each step there is one defined goal, you don’t move on to the next until you accomplish the step you’re on.
You don’t pay off debt until you have a small emergency fund ready. You don’t pay off your house until you’ve allocated an adequate amount for retirement. One thing at a time, so you’re not spinning your wheels trying to get everywhere at once. Having your dollar focused on a single goal can help it have a bigger impact. That means you need to hold (or at least slow down) off on your other goals until you accomplish your higher priorities.
Thoughts on Not Having It All Right Now
I’d love to hear your thoughts on reaching financial goals? What’s important to you? How have you been able to work towards or reach your goals?