Updated: Jun 1
Over the past couple of years, many Americans set goals with the hope to achieve them. These goals varied year in year out depending on the individual’s personality, needs, social circle, and so on. Generally, goals help us navigate through life as it keeps us actively involved in what we set to achieve at certain points in our lives. People set a variety of goals to make their life better, and this might mean something different for each individual.
Financial goals recently have proven to be where most people fell short last year. To set financial goals, you have to be able to figure out what is important to you and what you can afford in the short (under a year) and long term (a year or longer). Setting financial goals will enable you to control your finances and more importantly, have order in your life and your family’s life.
Some common financial goals include:
Preparing and sticking to a monthly spending plan
Having a savings target
Building and developing other sources of income.
Paying off debt
Growing one's income through promotion
Below are some of the reasons Americans generally have been unable to achieve their financial goals:
1. An increase in debt
Debts generally do not spell out good for anyone. High-interest debt can ruin your finances. The rate at which credit card debts are increasing in America is quite alarming. Many Americans have multiple credit cards which are used to finance ostentatious living.
Americans have accumulated a total of $846.9 billion in debt which amounts to $7,050 per household. It would be wise to pay down credit cards with the steepest rates as quickly as possible. Putting $250 each month towards the same $7,050 will clear it in three years and will save you $9000 in lifetime interest versus making minimum payments.
2. Spending more than earnings
In a country financial survey, it was found out that more than one-half of respondents (52%) said their monthly spending exceeded their income. Yet only 9% said their lifestyle was more than they could afford. Many live beyond their means but don’t even realize it (or they just fail to acknowledge it).
Spending your entire paycheck each month does not guarantee financial success and neither does draining your savings or running up card balances. It would be best practice to start tracking what you spend your money on most and creating a realistic budget that ensures you have enough to pay the bills as well as enough contributions to fund the rainy days.
3. Procrastination and fear
Waiting too long to start achieving your financial goals and building wealth is a major reason why some are unable to achieve their financial goals. This can be a result of the fear of losing money or making investment mistakes and this prevents some from investing or taking other actions that can positively change their financial trajectory.
What can you do to achieve your financial goals?
You may consider doing the following:
1. Write out those financial goals
As simple as it sounds, you need to know that you won’t be able to put your goals into action if you don’t write them and commit to them. So get into action now and write them out.
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2. Be accountable
You need to find a trustworthy person to talk through your goals and also to check your progress against your financial targets.
3. Keep track of your expenses
You have to stay on top of your spending by tracking your expenses. This can be achieved by making a budget, recording your expenses every week, and finding where you are going over budget.
4. Reevaluate your goals regularly
If your goal seems tough to achieve, it does not mean it should be abandoned. Regularly evaluate your goals and make changes so your financial goals fit your current circumstances and your financial targets.
You don’t have to inherit money, win the lottery, or even be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett to become financially secure. What you need is discipline, knowledge, and a lot of consistency to enjoy the comfort which can come from your income. Keep your financial goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound) and you will find out that reaching reasonable goals is not as difficult as it seems.