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4: Make Your Plan

Set Goals Aligned with Your Values

The word Goal surrounded by cloudsOne of the first things you need to do is give yourself permission to want the things you want and pursue the goals that matter to you. This basic step starts with your values and your goals.

  1. If haven’t already done so, complete SAM’s LifeValues Quiz to learn about the values that shape your financial decisions.
  2. Set goals that keep you focused on your priorities and aid your decision-making as you build momentum.

Focus on your goals for the four main areas used to determine your financial health: your net worth, your credit score, your short-term savings and long-term savings. Identify actions you could take in each area.

For example, use this simple phrase to help you set a goal for your emergency fund:

I want to have $ in an emergency fund by [Date] .

I will aim to save $ each (paycheck, week, month, etc.) to reach my goal.

Identify short-term, mid-term and long-term goals using this SMART Goals worksheet. Make SMART goals that are:

Smart Goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound

arrow shot into a target with the word challenge on it

In the short-term, you may just focus on gathering information: get your credit score, assess your retirement savings rate, and calculate your emergency fund savings and net worth.

For mid-term, maybe you shift to writing specific goals in each area (net worth, credit score, short-term and long-term savings) that you want to achieve in the next six months.

Lastly, your long-term goals might focus on where you want to be in five years. Even though that’s not very far off, it is very likely your goals will change as time goes by. Start with this “near-future,” monitor and modify as you need.

Transform “I Can’t” to “I Can”

The power of your inner language is amazing. Today, take stock of how many times you tell yourself you can’t do something or don’t have time or will do something later. Transforming those avoidance phrases into positive phrases and actions can have life-transforming (and finance-transforming) upshots.

Stay focused and positive. What reward will you give yourself to celebrate reaching milestones? Who will you ask to help you celebrate? What will you do to eliminate negative self-talk?

Read here about a saver from AmericaSaves.org who found out what she could do.

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