Tips & Advice

Master Your Money: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Saving tends to be easier when you have a certain purpose in mind: Saving for your first house, your retirement at a certain age, a child's college education, or even a trip around the world. The important thing is for your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound, or S.M.A.R.T.

To develop a sound plan, these goals must have both a time frame and a dollar amount that is MEASURABLE. Once you have listed and quantified your goals, you need to prioritize them. You may find, for example, that saving for a new home is more important than buying a new car.

Whatever your objective, be specific. Figure out how many weeks or months there are between now and when you want to reach your target. Divide the estimated cost by the number of weeks or months to make it actionable. That's how much you'll need to save each week or month to have enough money set aside. Ask yourself, is this realistic? Remember, a goal is a dream with a deadline.

If you need help setting goals or just want to get your finances back on track, contact one of BALANCE's Certified Financial Counselors for free, confidential one-on-one assistance and financial education.