A is for Attainable - Money Clouds & SMART Goals pt. 4
As a member of Generation Y, I grew up in a time where I was constantly told things like “The sky’s the limit” and “You can do anything you set your mind to” which, for the most part, I fully believe. These are fantastic concepts for living your most motivated life and keeping your ambition levels high. When it comes to setting financial goals however, we must toe the delicate line between reality and our dreams.
We want to set financial goals that will challenge us, but we must also make sure those goals are attainable within our current lifestyle. For example, I may want to save $20,000 over the next year for a down payment on a home, but if I only have $1,000 saved and a salary of $30,000, it may not be possible to reach my $20,000 goal in the allotted timeframe, given the other factors in my financial life. This could lead to disappointment or discouragement in my savings progress, which then leads to a lack of motivation to save – and none of us want that!
When setting financial goals (especially short-term goals), we must ask ourselves “Is this goal realistic?” When you are setting attainable goals, there are several things to consider:
- Your previous saving history (can you make the jump from saving nothing each month to saving $500 each month?)
- Your income & set expenses (experts recommend saving at least 20% - but sitting down and calculating out your cost of living will help you determine what’s reasonable for you)
- How much time you have to reach the goal (can you save up the entire amount in the set timeframe?)
It may be helpful to break your goal down even further, perhaps into the amount you need to save per month, to make sure it is attainable. The Money Clouds calculator (found in the Auto Scheduling section of your create/update Cloud screen) can help you calculate this out.
All of this may sound slightly discouraging, but the point is to curb any discouragement before you even start saving for your goal by making sure what you are setting out to do is really within your means.
The entire point of goal setting is to reach those goals, and by setting attainable goals, we can surely reach any goal we set!