New Year, New Financial Goals – Plan, Persevere, Celebrate!

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Man celebrating the success of his financial goals.
Set financial goals to get ahead.

Setting financial goals is extremely important; goals allow you to budget, save and spend your money for maximum effect. If you aren’t working towards any goals, then it’s nearly impossible to know where your money is or isn’t going.

At the beginning of each year, a number of us make resolutions we’d like to see come to fruition over the upcoming 360-some days. In my mind, there’s no reason not to include financial goals as part of your year-long resolutions–especially because appropriate financial goals can be achievable and life-changing.

Most people make short-term financial goals, and some people make long ones, too. as well. Short-term goals can usually be attained within a year or two (setting up an emergency fund, beginning to save for retirement, paying off debt), while long-term goals will take multiple years to achieve (saving the proper amount for retirement, paying off a mortgage or debt, paying for college).

Here are some examples of great financial goals you can set for 2018:

Create a budget

Creating a budget is easily the smartest financial move anyone can make–though, if you don’t make the right one for you, they can be really tough to stick with. If you don’t already have a budget, this should be your main financial goal. Stay tuned for a multi-part blog series, right here, all about budgeting.

Start an emergency fund

If you don’t already have an emergency fund, you can start one in conjunction with your budget. An emergency fund is crucial; it’s what will keep you afloat after unexpected financial expenses arise. It’s recommended that you have three-to-six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund–which should be separate from your regular savings account. DCCU’s customizable Savings Builder account is perfect for starting and growing your emergency fund.

Begin saving for retirement

The sooner you start setting money aside towards retirement, the more rapidly your savings will grow, thanks to compound interest. It’s never too late to start, and every little bit counts. Click on the IRA Toolkit button for a bunch of great retirement information and to open an IRA.

Knock out your debt

Be it student, home, car or credit card debt, make this the year you take on your highest-interest loans first. On top of your minimum monthly payments, put extra funds towards the accounts with the highest rates, and watch your principal decline.

 

The most important thing is to set a goal and determine realistic steps towards making progress. Small successes tend to keep snowballing until you reach your goal. Then it’s time to set off some fireworks and celebrate!

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Tom S.

Tom is a 2006 graduate of UW Madison, currently residing in Verona with his wife and 2 girls. He has been passionate about writing ever since he was 15 years old, and displays that same enthusiasm in his work today. When he’s not sharing insightful financial wisdom, you can find Tom chilling on the Union Terrace, enjoying craft beer at the Great Dane, or hiking at Governor Nelson State Park. In the Fall he loves to take his family to Badger Football games!