Make this the year that you make big things happen. This worksheet will help you turn your dreams into actionable financial goals.
How to Set Financial Goals
It’s important to understand that financial goals aren’t the same thing as dreams. A dream is just a bunch of talk about what you hope to do “someday;” a financial goals is the plan that’s actually going to get you there.
When you set a financial goal for yourself, it needs to include:
- A clear description of what you want to accomplish
- An estimate of how much it’s going to cost
- A deadline
- A plan for how you’re going to fit the goal into your budget
Since you’ll probably always have several financial goals that you’re working on at the same time, it helps to get them on paper. That’s where the financial goals worksheet comes in. Here’s how to fill it out.
1. List your financial goals. Some goals take longer to accomplish than others, so this worksheet has a section for short, medium and long-term goals. Short-term goals are things that can be accomplished in under six months. Medium-term goals are things that can be accomplished in six month to a year; and long-term goals are things that will take more than a year to accomplish. If you have lots of goals, decide which are most important, and work on those first. You’ll be more successful, if you focus your efforts on a handful of goals at a time.
2. Estimate the cost of each goal. Do some research to determine how much it’s likely to cost to reach your goals. Then, input your estimates in the “Estimated Cost” column.
3. Set a target date for each goal. Some goals, like saving college, have pre-determined “due dates.” Other goals will require you to set the due date. Try to be realistic about how much time you’ll need to reach goals, so you don’t set yourself up to fail. Enter your chosen dates in the “Target Date” column.
4. Calculate how much you need to save. Divide the estimated cost of each goal by the number of weeks between now and your target date. The resulting figure is how much you’ll need to save each week to reach your goal on time.
5. Rework your budget. Use my budget worksheet to create a new budget that includes your goals.
6. Expect setbacks. Life rarely goes the way we think it will, but don’t let that derail you. Find ways to bring in extra money; cut things from your budget; or adjust your target date to make your goals attainable. Just don’t give up.
Printable Financial Goals Worksheet
Many web browsers have their own built-in PDF viewers, but they tend to be buggy. If you’re having trouble printing or editing one of our printables, click here for help.