by Shane Adair, Marketing Manager
When you have clearly defined financial goals and a manageable path to reach them, you enjoy a lot of benefits. From increased peace of mind to attaining key financial milestones like dependable retirement savings, the reasons to set financial goals are clear. Creating plans for the money you earn from employment, investments and other sources is a task you should consider sooner than later.
Let's look at how to make effective, individualized goals, as well as the strategies and tools you can use to achieve them.
You can balance your long-term financial goals by considering what you want to do in the years and decades to come in the context of sound, practical advice about universal needs like retirement savings and emergency funds. If you have a lifelong love of travel, have a major interest in a hobby, want to expand your education or have any number of other initiatives that require a financial commitment, you should include these in your financial goals. At the same time, you should recognize that basic needs like the previously mentioned retirement savings and emergency fund are crucial on a more foundational level.
Emergency fund: Improving your chances for financial stability in the long run starts with a few important considerations. CNN said a fully funded emergency reserve, containing enough to cover three to six months of basic living expenses, is a must-complete goal by the age of 40. Of course, it's even better if you can achieve this goal before reaching that milestone. An emergency fund is vital because it stops you from having to increase credit card debt or trying to find a loan when facing a financial setback, not to mention serving as a security blanket of sorts. When you know you have an emergency fund, you can start working toward your other goals.
Retirement plan: Retirement savings plans vary from person to person, based on the options their employers may offer, as well as other considerations like existing savings and investments. Pensions often don't require as much attention as 401(k) plans or Individual Retirement Accounts, where individuals direct their own level of contribution and/or specific areas of investment within an established framework. The ideal amount to invest varies greatly based on factors such as your income, current age, future career plans and desired retirement age. The Balance offered an in-depth guide that helps you understand these variables to determine the best contribution to your 401(k). NerdWallet provided a similarly detailed explainer for those who maintain an IRA.
Large debts: Student loan debt is a major financial consideration for about 41 million Americans, Student Loan Hero said. There are other major forms of debt, too, like accumulated credit card spending that was never fully paid down. As you move forward, you need to have a plan for addressing these costs. The longer they linger, the more money they can drain from your income and savings through compounding interest. Paying down long-term debt should be a priority. While you may not have the luxury of paying off such debt in a short period of time, the sooner it's paid off, the less interest you'll owe.
Homeownership: Owning a home through a mortgage involves debt, of course, but it differs from many other forms (ranging from car loans to credit cards) by offering a generally stable, long-term asset in return. If you want to own a home instead of rent, there are a few major considerations to make. You'll have to set some money aside for needs like the down payment and the many fees associated with closing costs, and make sure your monthly income can comfortably handle the addition of a mortgage payment. You should also take the time to hunt for the best possible mortgage rates and terms, which save you money in the long run.
Hobbies, travel and other interests: You don't need to travel or have a hobby in the same way that you likely need a retirement plan or emergency fund. But the enjoyment these things provide is important to your well-being and can create a number of benefits now and in the years to come. As you look to create your financial goals, don't ignore your interests - just make sure there's a balance with your mandatory long-term savings needs.
Your pension, 401(k) or IRA will do the heavy lifting for retirement savings, but you need more for a fully functional plan to reach your financial goals. From a savings account to keep your emergency fund liquid and readily available, to a checking account for direct deposit and paying off debt as well as mortgage payments, the financial basics are crucial. TAB Bank is here to help you establish and maintain these foundational elements of a long-term financial plan. To learn more, reach out to us today!
For a more in-depth look at ways to accomplish these goals through your bank we offer the ebook, "What are my options for saving and growing money though my bank?" Click on the tile below to download this ebook today.
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