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10 Examples of Financial Goals and How to Achieve Them

Examples of Financial Goals

This post shares examples of financial goals and helps you find ways to achieve them!

Financial goals provide a clear roadmap for your financial journey, enabling you to make informed decisions, establish healthy habits, and track your progress along the way. They serve as beacons of motivation, empowering you to take control of your finances, build wealth, and secure a prosperous future.

Whether you’re a young professional just starting your career, a seasoned entrepreneur aiming to expand your business, or someone simply seeking financial stability, setting well-defined financial goals is a crucial step towards realizing your dreams.

In this article, I’ll share some common examples of financial goals that you can set for yourself to help get you started!

Table of Contents

What Are Financial Goals?

Financial goals are intended to provide direction and motivation in the pursuit of achieving a certain level of financial security.

These goals should be specific and achievable, taking into account the current state of your finances and any limitations that may exist. Setting realistic goals can also help keep you motivated on your journey toward achieving success.

In general, most financial goals can be sorted into three time based categories:

  • Short-Term Financial Goals: These are the financial goals you can quickly achieve, typically within a year. Some examples include going on vacation or paying off a debt you have. 
  • Mid-Term Financial Goals: These are the financial goals you can’t accomplish quickly, but they shouldn’t take too long to come true (between 2-3 years). Some examples may include upgrading or replacing your vehicle or starting a business.
  • Long-Term Financial Goals: These financial goals take the longest to come true, typically over 3 years. Some examples include putting a down payment on a home and saving up for college. 

Questions to ask yourself when setting financial goals

You probably could guess that everyone’s financial goals are very different. That being said, there are a few things that most people should do to help set realistic financial goals.

The most important thing to keep in mind when setting your financial goals is what matters the most to you. I’m a firm believer that money is a tool. As such, you need to use this tool to help shape the kind of life you want to live!

Here’s are some questions to ask yourself when prioritizing your financial goals:

  • What matters the most to you? Consider everything in your life and try to make priorities on the things that matter to you and what you’d like to achieve financially.
  • What does a realistic budget look like? You can’t create your financial goals with unrealistic expectations. Instead, create a realistic budget that you can achieve.
  • Which goals are the most obtainable? When making multiple financial goals, sort them out by dividing the ones you can easily achieve, separating the ones that need slightly more effort, and marking the goals that might take more time to complete.
  • How will I track my progress? Try to monitor your progress and see if you’re hitting the given goals or not. If there’s something wrong with your progress, try to evaluate what’s going wrong and how you can improve the situation. 

10 Examples of Financial Goals

If you’ve never set financial goals before, you may be unsure about which goals would be appropriate for you and your needs. Because of that, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some common examples of financial goals people make.

Here’s a list of some excellent examples of financial goals you could make today:

  1. Saving up an emergency fund
  2. Paying off credit card debt
  3. Investing for retirement
  4. Building generational wealth
  5. Starting a business
  6. Paying off student loans
  7. Putting a downpayment on a home
  8. Saving for college
  9. Going on vacation
  10. Upgrading or replacing your car

Saving Up an Emergency Fund

Building up an emergency fund is essential for protecting yourself from unexpected expenses or a job loss.

In an ideal situation, this amount should cover at least three to six months’ worth of your living expenses. This can be a lot of money depending on if you live in a high cost of living area, are still a student, etc.

If this seems like an overwhelming number, start with something more obtainable like $500 to $1,000. Most people can save this amount over the course of the year by simply saving $41-$83 per month respectively.

Even if you aren’t able to obtain your “goal” emergency fund, you’ll find that any amount is a blessing to have in times of crisis!

Paying off Credit Card Debt

Paying off credit card debt can be one of the quickest ways to improve your overall financial situation.

Credit cards tend to have insanely high interest rates. According to Forbes, the average credit card’s APR is 24.12%. Because of this, it often makes more sense to prioritize paying this debt off aggressively. You’ll likely want to prioritize clearing consumer debt over other debts, such as student loans and mortgages, because of the insanely high interest costs!

If you are looking for ways to pay off debt, you might want to look into the avalanche or snowball methods. A fun way to pay off debt is by joining a debt pay down challenge! For those of you who have particularly high levels of debt, you may even consider debt consolidation.

Investing for Retirement

Even if retirement seems like a long time away, it’s important to start contributing as early as possible in order to take advantage of compound interest over time. Consider investing in tax advantaged accounts such as a IRA or your employer’s 401(k).

Even doing basic calculations can help you determine how much you need to save to have a comfortable retirement. An easy rule of thumb to remember is that you will want to have about 25 times your annual expenses to retire comfortably.

According to the Social Security Administration, the US national average wage was $60,575 in 2021. This means that the average worker will need about $1,514,375 to retire comfortably.

Have no fear! Most of us have a 30-50 year timeline to retirement. This means that the interest on your investments will likely account for over 50% of that money… which is why investing ASAP is key.

Another thing to keep in mind is how your lifestyle might change. Many people who retire consider moving out of state to help get more value for their hard earned dollars. For example, I found these 55 and older communities in Utah for sale and they only cost around $600k to get a home! In my state of California, the starting prices for homes are in the millions and you are probably still looking at something tiny and in need of serious repairs.

Early Retirement Calculator

Building Generational Wealth

This post already discusses saving for retirement and briefly touches upon retiring early. While these are both awesome goals, some people want to go even further and set up money for their kids and other descendants. This is what is commonly referred to as generational wealth.

This type of financial goal requires extensive planning and (often) a substantial income. That being said, it is a wonderful goal to aim for! And while most of us may not be able to set our future generations up for life, helping with certain expenses like education is often obtainable.

Starting a Business

Although starting a business may seem out of reach, it’s definitely a possibility you can achieve. Start by creating a business plan, and consider the funding you need. Once you have a clear goal of the funding, you can start saving up and finally become your own boss!

I started my business at 24 years old and it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I’ve picked up tons of new skills and have leveraged those into both job opportunities as well as obtaining new clients.

You can start out with freelancing and work your way up to entrepreneurship. I’ve always enjoyed the stability of having multiple streams of income, so don’t let people convince you that you have to quit your day job to be a “real” business owner.

Paying Off Student Loans

If you still have student loans you haven’t paid off, it might be a good time to prioritize paying them off by creating a financial goal. By setting clear expectations, and deciding on a budget, you should be able to collect money quickly and pay off your student loans in under a year.

That being said, if yours are currently part of the interest-free federal student loan forbearance… you might want to prioritize your other financial goals first!

Putting a Down Payment on a Home

Owning a home is a long-term investment that requires a considerable amount of money. Because of that, it’s always a good idea to create a financial goal for putting a down payment on a home. This type of financial goal would save you money in the long run, as the higher the amount of your down payment the better the terms of your mortgage tend to be!

Saving for College

In the year 2022-2023, the average price for college tuition is around $39,400  for private colleges and around $10,940 for public colleges. Since the prices of everything, including college tuition, keep rising, it might be a good idea to set up your goal of saving for college.

There are sometimes even tax advantages to doing so! 529 accounts are great because they can be used for more than one person. You can even use it for other types of education, not just college.

You can save for your higher education, use it for your kids, or even for extended family. Since school expenses often come up, this can be a great way to plan for a wide variety of financial futures.

Going on Vacation

If you want to have a stress-free vacation without thinking if you have sufficient funds to enjoy your trip, you can create a vacation financial goal. Saving for this type of financial goal can include everything from tickets and lodging to food and special activities.

Vacations don’t have to be expensive either! Planning for weekend trips or day trips can also be great ways of making sure your budget stays intact.

Upgrading/Replacing Your Car

Upgrading your current car or buying a new vehicle can be pretty expensive. That is why getting a new car or upgrading your current is a great financial goal.

Depending on where you live, the average cost of a used car can be anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. This means a downpayment will likely cost you at least $2,500, which makes this a medium-term saving goal.

If you are looking into a car, you might consider saving up the first few months of payments in addition to the deposit. I have seen many people lose their care completely when an unexpected expense destroys their budget. This hurts you financially in two ways, both the inconvenience of losing your transportation as well as the money you’d already invested!

How To Achieve Your Financial Goals

To achieve your financial goals, you’ll need to track your finances and make the needed changes to support your vision.

Here’s a list of things you should do that will help you achieve your financial goals:

  1. Create a budget and stick to it
  2. Track your spending
  3. Anticipate future bills
  4. Utilize windfalls wisely
  5. Be flexible

Create a budget and stick to it

By creating a budget and determining the amount of money you can spend during a specific period, you’ll be able to make your financial goals come true. Budgeting will help you account for everything you need. Over time, this helps prevent overspending or splurging on unnecessary items.

If you are completely new to budgeting, you might want to start with this guest post by A Dime Saved on, Why is a Budget Important, or this guest post by The Coin Savvy Aunt on, How to Make a Personal Budget (& Pay Down Debt!).

Basic Budget Calculator

This calculator allows you to see how much your basic budget adds up to over the course of the year. You can use this to determine if there are areas in your spending that you can save on.

It’s useful to know that the 3 biggest spending areas for most people are housing, transportation and food. As housing tends to be a fixed expense, finding ways to reduce your food and transportation costs can be an easy way of controlling your budget.

Track your spending

By monitoring the expenses you are paying and tracking your spending, you can save money and achieve your financial goals. Once you learn your weak points and understand your spending habits, you’ll be able to switch any bad habits for good ones and learn how to have a better relationship with money. 

There are many different apps you can use to help you track your spending. My personal favorite is Personal Capital because it gives you a birds eye view of your financial situation. It also helps you keep track of your monthly spending averages.

Two other popular options are Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB). You can also check out this list of Wealth Management Apps to find one that works best for you.

Anticipate future bills

By anticipating future bills, you can create more realistic financial goals that align with your current budget and living situation. Future bills includes everything from your recurring utilities to medical emergencies like having a wisdom tooth removed… and everything in between!

A lot of people are left in a bad situation because unexpected expenses can wipe out their emergency fund. The reality is that unexpected expenses can also be planned for and anticipated.

It may seem counter intuitive, but the best way to plan for the future is by looking at the past. When I was in college, I took the time to calculate how much my “big unexpected expenses” cost me each year. It didn’t matter what the reason for the expense was… all that mattered was if it was over $300 and unexpected.

Low and behold, I found that each year I had about $2,000 in unexpected expenses. So I started to prepare for it by ensuring that the minimum I had in savings each year was that amount! This was the minimum I’d (try) to keep on hand, in addition to whatever my emergency fund was.

Use windfalls wisely

A windfall is any money that comes to you (somewhat) unexpectedly. A small windfall might be a $20 gift from a relative for your birthday. An example of a large windfall would be your tax refund!

The issue with windfalls is that most people have a YOLO mentality and spend this money quickly. Without a second thought, it goes to a night out on the town or a new TV. No matter the amount of the windfall, most people make it disappear in less than a week.

As you could guess, I have a different mentality when it comes to windfalls. I like to take 10% to use on “fun” and throw the rest into my savings. Ideally a retirement account.

You can decide on your own “rules” for spontaneous money. I encourage you to find some useful way to contribute it to your budget while still enjoying some of it!

Be Flexible

This may be the most important tip I have when it comes to achieving your financial goals. A lot of people like to set a super high goal or plan all their goals for the year in advance. While this is great for keeping you on track, it can be super demotivating if something happens that is outside of your control.

To use a personal example, this year my husband and I set many wonderful new goals in January. We are newly weds, he had obtained a new job, we moved to Singapore, and I was going to go all in on my business.

In May, during our annual vacation to the US, we found out that the start up he was working for had run out of funding. This meant that he was let go unexpectedly and, as you can imagine, completely upended our lives.

This can (and is!) insanely stressful. I’ve been taking it well because I’ve always had the mindset that goals can and should change. In many ways, this keeps me constantly optimistic and looking for new opportunities.

Maintaining flexibility in your financial goals helps you both mentally and when it comes to revisiting/revising them throughout the year. Not hitting a goal on a particular timeline is not a failure. It simply means that you have new goals to prioritize instead or circumstances that you need to account for!

Why are these examples of financial goals so important?

Over 83% of people who set their financial goals feel better about their finances in just a year. Looking at examples of financial goals can go a long way towards reducing money related anxiety.

Just implementing a few of these financial goal examples can help you on your financial journey. They allow you to stay on track and give you the tools needed to improve your financial situation.

These examples of financial goals will also enable you make smaller sacrifices for your greater goals. This help you stay focused, disciplined and motivates you to push further until you reach them!

Regardless of the things you want to achieve financially, financial goals can help, but you need to stick to them and ensure you follow them through to succeed. 

Final thoughts on financial goals

Having clear financial goals is essential for maintaining motivation and focus on the journey toward achieving financial security.

Remember, each individual’s financial journey is unique, and the goals you set should reflect your personal circumstances, values, and ambitions. By understanding the various possibilities and taking steps towards achieving them, you can pave the way for financial independence, increased financial security, and the fulfillment of your dreams.

From saving up an emergency fund to building wealth through investments, setting achievable goals will put you well on your way!

I hope that this post helps you get started on this exciting and rewarding journey.

What are some of your favorite examples of financial goals? What is your biggest financial accomplishment to date?

Kathryn Rucker is a sales consultant and content writer. With 7+ years of sales experience, she is passionate about helping businesses and individuals grow their sales pipelines by improving their online presence.

She has been traveling full-time since 2018 thanks to the location and financial independence she has gained from her business, Kat Rucker Consulting Group. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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