I used to have concrete goals in place of who I was and where I wanted to go in life. I have really lost my focus in the midst of staying home with my kids, dealing with repeat miscarriages, and barely escaping serious financial trouble. The past 3 years have been more about survival. My only thoughts have been about making it to the next day and finding a way to pay the next bill. I am done with only living on survival mode and only meeting short-term goals. I want to thrive, and I plan on making and meeting big financial goals for my future and the future of my family.
Before sitting down for a finance date with my husband to look at hard numbers, I only had a general idea of what my financial goals were for the future. My only real goal was to be living debt free. Outside of that, it was a big blank question mark. I have dreams about the type of home we will live in someday, but the day-to-day is a fog. Both financially and as a person, where do I seriously see myself in one year? Five years? 20 years?
Without concrete life goals in place, how will you ever reach your financial goals? You won’t, unless you spend a great deal of time and effort thinking about, planning for, and acting on the steps that a goal requires to achieve. These are my 5 steps to help map out my financial future and bring my priorities into focus.
5 Steps to mapping out your Financial Future
Step 1: Write down your extended yearly goals
By writing out an extended financial plan for yourself and your family, you will have a clear road map for actually achieving those goals. Make a list of where you expect to be in one year. How much will you have saved in 5 years? Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Step 2: Make your budget reflect your financial goals
Saying “I want to save $20,000 in 5 years” is a great goal, but unless you have formed your budget around those goals, they will never happen. You need to make sure that you have a plan in place for where that $20,000 is going to come from. Are you going to cut expenses or get a part-time job? Neither? Both? How are you going to achieve your goals?
Step 3: Live your life honestly
In every step of the process, be true to yourself. Don’t become so single-minded in reaching your financial goals that you lose sight of everything else. Make sure to budget both time and money for pursuing your other dreams and interests. You won’t stay on track with your financial goals if you don’t give yourself time to do those things that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Step 4: Find a financial accountability partner
Entrust your goals to someone who will help you stay on track. Whether it’s your spouse, family member, best friend, or mentor, make sure you have someone to call you out when you diverge from your financial road map. It’s helpful to have someone to talk to openly and honestly. It will help relieve stress when you feel like you can’t do it anymore, and they can give you the motivation you need to stay on track.
Step 5: Getting started
Don’t wait until Sunday, or the next pay check, or until you have paid off your credit card. Stop forming excuses and pushing back your start date and get started today. The time will pass anyway, so don’t let the fear of failing prevent you from ever trying to achieve your financial goals. There is no better day than today to start securing your financial future.
My own long-term goals
My goal for this week is to sit down for another finance date and create a road map for where we see ourselves in the next 20 years, how we will get there, and what our budget will be to reflect those goals. I am tired of just surviving. I want to thrive! I want to live in a way that we have to face only minimal financial obstacles. I’m ready to get started on mapping out my financial future.