How to Write Out your Money Goals

If you're on this website, there's a good chance that you want to learn how to be good with money.

But have you stopped yet to think about why you want to be good with money? In other words, have you thought about your goal?

The idea of setting goals is not new. Self help authors have written about setting goals as "Beginning with the End In Mind" (Steven Covey), "Definiteness of Purpose" (Napoleon Hill), When I wrote out my personal finance steps, I made sure that step zero was the "why" - why bother being good with money at all?

Have you thought about it? Do you have a money goal?

Goal Setting 101


It helps a lot to really contemplate what you want and put your goals down on paper. Only after you do this can you start to form a plan to reach these goals.

If you start doing random things to improve your finances, like negotiating better cable and auto insurance prices and saving a couple bucks a week, that's fine. It will help, but you need a big picture view to give you clarity about what you really want out of your financial life.

You've got to paint the big picture before you can step back and view the big picture.

I've provided a worksheet for you to write down your money goals. It is based on Napoleon Hill's famous book, Think and Grow Rich. Hill talks about definiteness of purpose as being an important part of meeting your money goals and suggested writing down your goal like this and reading it out loud twice a day.

This worksheet will help you gain that clarity. Fill it out, even if you think you already know. There's a huge benefit in putting the words on paper. They become more real that way.


The Worksheet


My main money goal is: (be as concrete as possible)

_____________________________



I plan to reach it by this time:



_____________________________



To get there, I will: (Name the work you plan to put in, or the sacrifices you need to make to get there.)



_____________________________



Why do I want this:



_____________________________




Here are two examples. Neither of them are mine (mine's private, sorry!) but these are examples from real, anonymous people. Make your own!


Example Worksheet #1:



My main money goal is:

To become debt free.

I plan to reach it by this time:

by July 1st, 2032 - but hopefully sooner!

To get there, I will:


  • Throw all my extra money at paying down my debts, starting with the highest interest rate and working my way down.
  • Reducing how much I spend at restaurants!
  • Negotiating the best possible salary for my job
  • Meeting my monthly and yearly pay-down goals!


Why do I want this:
When I get to my money goal I will feel much more free. I will have more monthly cash flow to meet my other goals, like buying a house and starting a big family.

Being debt free will let me live with less stress, more security and more options.

Example #2

My money goal is:
To save a million dollars.

I plan to reach it by this time:
by the time I retire at age 65 - on October 1 2052.

To get there, I will:

  • Stay debt free
  • Spend less than I earn
  • Max the heck out of my retirement accounts


Why do I want this:
I want to give my kids and my kids' kids a better life than the one I grew up in.

Example #3


My money goal is:

  • Save up to buy a new car all in cash!
  • I plan to reach it by this time:
  • Three years from today
  • To get there, I will
  • Contribute $400/month to my car fund
  • Slash my clothes shopping, alcohol, and restaurant budget until I have the car


How to Use Your Money Goal Worksheet


Revisit this worksheet often. Train your brain to act with the goals in mind. This worksheet comes from Napoleon Hill's ideas. If you've read Hiwhich contained a lot of woo stuff about the subconsious and universal energy. However, even without the woo - our lives are made up of habits, and our goals are achieved not by one big act of victory but by thousands of little habits.

Keep checking in- are your daily actions in line with the goals you wrote down?

Are these still your goals?
Goals do change sometimes, and it's important to stay candid with yourself about what you really want. Maybe you were saving for a Chanel purse, but then you had a kid and now you're saving so you can... y'know... feed him. That's fine.

Your Goals are Private


Nobody is going to see these goals but you, so write about what you really want! I don't suggest sharing these goals with others, because the temptation to write what others expect with you can easily overwhelm your true hopes and desires.

The next step:


With the goal in mind, you're now ready to move forward and make changes to your financial life. Head over to the Personal Finance Basics to get started!

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