Many people believe that taking steps to reach their financial goals is something that they will do “later.” As a money coach for women, sometimes I hear “I really want you to work with you once I accumulate more money.” Defining financial goals is one of those super important but not urgent tasks, like making a will or buying insurance. We know that these things are very important, but delaying them one more day almost certainly won’t affect our lives today.
What are financial goals anyway? My simple explanation is that they are goals to attain an estimated amount of money at a future date to enable you to achieve a life goal. Here is where we get into the powerful stuff; those life goals are the things that matter most to you. The accomplishment of your goals is the realization of those deeply meaningful attributes that money cannot buy, but we attain those attributes by using a defined amount of money to get them.
To illustrate, a goal may be saving funds for a fabulous family vacation. The goal outcome is far more than a sum of money for travel; the outcome is fun, adventure, connection and education. Overlooking the joke about “family vacations” being an oxymoron, we could probably also include love and joy in this list.
Another goal example may be having the funds to launch your own business so you can do meaningful work you truly enjoy. In this case, the outcome is experienced as freedom, giving, personal development and a better lifestyle.
When our financial goals regularly receive our focus and attention throughout our lives, we can create the life we want, not just hope to get it one day in the future. Let’s remove the myth of financial goals as being something that provides benefits only later in life, with outcomes such as maintaining an acceptable lifestyle during “retirement” or the ability to pay for a good nursing home. Why not instead embrace and steer our financial future and lifestyle starting today?
With this notion in mind, when you define what you really want in life, you are activating a purposeful and deliberate life. This paradigm immediately moves you into one of empowerment and accountability and out of potential dependence or even victimhood. When this shift happens, your life changes for the better because you see that you can choose what you want, and you have the ability to make it happen in most situations. Not only this, but your daily actions around money change from one of urgency to one of priorities and vision.
Spend some time journaling about what you really want to have in your life. Once you get clear about what you want, assign time frames and dollar amounts to those goals; these are your financial goals. Sure, it makes sense to plan for the distant future, but that doesn’t need to come at the expense of a rich life very well lived.
Money coach and 2012 Texas Conference for Women speaker Camille Gaines, founder of Fiinancialwoman.com and bestselling author, inspires and motivates women to define, live and reach their financial goals by giving their money attention, increasing their income and making smart investment decisions. Learn more at http://www.financialwoman.com/