LaToya Westbrooks Keeling
5 Helpful Tips to Reach Your Financial Goals in 2023!
Let me share a story with you. Taylor started 2022 with a plan. She was excited to accomplish her goals of reading one personal finance book a month, paying off $10k in credit card debt, saving an emergency fund of $2,000, and maxing out her 401(k) contributions by the end of the year.
By the end of 2022, she had done all that and more! Taylor couldn’t believe it. Never in her life had she accomplished so much in one year.
You see, Taylor had lived most of her 20s trudging through work, the early years of marriage, and juggling credit card accounts. Then something happened that she never expected—her husband got sick. She had an awakening of what really matters in life.
Taylor never wanted to be in a situation where money was what she worried about, instead of her husband’s health, ever again.
So, she dreamt about what she wanted her future to look like, made a list of short- and long-term goals, and recruited people who she knew would cheer her on. And by the end of 2022, she ticked off all her short-term goals and is now ready for the coming year with bigger and better things coming her way...
When Money Rules Your Life
Perhaps you haven’t experienced a life-changing event like your partner getting sick with a terminal illness. But I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced really hard times that knocked you off your feet at one point or another.
No matter what, we can all relate to not wanting money to rule our lives. Money is an incredible tool, but no one wants their decisions to be controlled by their finances. It’s far better for you to be in control of your finances, rather than the other way around, so that your money provides you with choices instead of roadblocks.
So if you’re here for some financial goals examples or you’re wondering what good financial goals are, you’re in the right place. And like Stephanie, you can reach your financial goals. All you need is to dream, plan, and implement! Read on for more details.
Reflect On Your 2022 Financial Goals
The best place to start is to reflect on how things worked in the past. There’s so much we can learn from looking back on the previous year and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t.
For instance, perhaps you steered clear of the bargain section at your favorite store, but inflation still increased your budget in ways you couldn’t control. Reflecting on this helps you to realize that your increasing budget isn’t actually due to spending decisions you made. (In fact, you made good progress!) So next year, you can take a different approach to keep your budget in check.
As you’re reflecting on the previous year, consider the following questions:
What were some of your absolute favorite purchases this year?
How much money were you able to save this year?
What money habits did you develop this year?
Did you pay down the debts you planned to this year?
Did you accumulate more debt and now you need to work that into your 2023 budget?
Did you max out your 401(k) or IRA contributions?
Did you make any investments (or start investing) this year?
Even if you didn’t budget in 2022, invest, or save a dime, now is the perfect time to plan for 2023 and take a step forward.
Plan For Good Financial Goals In 2023
Let’s talk about Taylor again. Taylor knew that if she wanted something to change, she had to try something new. In the past, her goals were just ideas that never had a plan.
So when it comes to setting good financial goals, you must make a plan too. Consider your dreams, your income, and your financial profile, and then use that information to create specific goals that launch you into a stable financial future.
But how do I make good financial goals, Latoya? I’m glad you asked. One way I advise folks to tackle their financial goals is by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Specific - What do you want to accomplish, why do you want to accomplish it, what’s the end goal, and what resources or limits are there? Envision your future and get down to the nitty-gritty details of why specific goals are important to you.
Measurable - How much or how many? How will you know when you’re done? How much money do you want to save a day, a week, or a month? Plan it out and budget. Even better, set up automatic payments to automate your savings.
Achievable - Saving a $20k emergency fund this year while also paying off your student loan debt on a $60k salary may not be very realistic. But, not buying a $6 coffee every day and instead saving $30 a week, $120 a month, or $1,440 a year, might be more achievable! It’s not always what you do to achieve your goals, sometimes it’s what you don’t do that will get you closer to success.
Relevant - The goal needs to be important in your life. If you’re not planning on buying a house in the next 10 years, there is no need to aggressively save for a down payment just because other people are. But if you hope to retire in 15 years and have no retirement savings, then you’ll want to create an aggressive retirement plan.
Time-bound - Goals are usually lumped into short, medium, and long-term goals. But it’s important to remember that these time frames vary between persons. One person might be able to save for their emergency fund in six months while it might take another person two years. Be sure your goals include a reasonable time frame.
When you create S.M.A.R.T. goals, you’re giving yourself a concrete plan to achieve your financial goals. The more time you devote to strategically planning your financial goals, the more attainable they become.
5 Helpful Tips to Reach Your Financial Goals
Part of setting and reaching your financial goals isn’t just about deciding what they should be and how to get there. Some tools and habits can make reaching your goals much easier. Try to incorporate these 5 habits into your goal-setting process and reap the rewards of your diligence.
Mindset: It’s a buzzword right now yes, but for good reason. Your mind is a powerful tool and if you struggle with money or an abundance mindset, take the time to work on it in 2023. It might be a great addition to your short-term goals.
Write down your goals: Speaking of your mind, it’s full! Of recipes, appointments, and an endless to-do list, so take one thing off your shoulders—write down your financial goals in a place where you can see and easily access them.
Break your goals down: Remember that you want to keep your goals in three categories—short, medium, and long-term. But some goals need even smaller milestones, so consider breaking down goals by the day, week, or month you want to see them checked off your list.
Track your progress: I don’t know about you, but there is something so satisfying about checking an item off your to-do list. Checking off a task is good for our brains and communicates that we are successful. So remember to track your progress, even the little things like saying “no” to a coffee run.
Accountability: Recruit someone you love, trust, and can depend on to keep you on track. This person shouldn’t be the friend who asks you for money or to go on a spontaneous trip. Rather, this person should be dependable and encourage you to stay true to your goals and cheer you on every step of the way—a trusted financial coach, perhaps? *wink wink*
Creating a healthy financial future starts right now. 20 years from now, you don’t want to be thinking, “If only I had started sooner.” Celebrate that you’re here, right now, doing the work.
Financial Goals Examples
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to create good financial goals, the following is a list of some ideas to help you when planning. Read through these financial goals examples and start dreaming about what these types of goals can do to change your life.
Short-term financial goals
Review your 2022 budget
Plan a 2023 budget
Read a personal finance book
Pay off small debts
Create a personal fun fund
Medium-term financial goals
Pay off medium-sized debts—car loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, etc
Finish building your emergency fund
Save for a down payment
Long-term financial goals
Pay off a mortgage
Save for your child’s college education
Start investing for retirement
Working toward any or all of these financial goals examples may be the right move for you. Imagine where you want to be in 3 months, 6 months, 1-5 years, and beyond. Then list out your goals and give each goal a reason why it needs to be done and an end date to check it off the list.
Remember Taylor? She wanted her money to work for her, not the other way around. Once she set her goals and was motivated to accomplish them, her whole financial outlook changed.
Add Wealthly to Your Accountability Team to Reach Your 2023 Financial Goals
At Wealthly, your financial success is what keeps us motivated. We love to help you and your family create strategic financial plans and to meet your goals. To get started, email me at email@example.com or click here to fill out a contact form today. We’ll be in touch soon!
Content in this material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.