How detailed do I need to be in setting financial goals? - Nerdwallet

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How detailed do I need to be in setting financial goals?

February 1, 2013

Advisor answers

Catherine Hawley

Catherine Hawley

Monterey, CA

Most of us would like to, “spend less” or “save more” but we need to be much more specific if we want to set effective goals. When I work with clients to establish what they want to accomplish, I think in terms of creating goals that are realistic, quantifiable, and have a timeline.

Realistic goals can help you stay on track because you’ve set a manageable goal so you’re less likely to get discouraged and give up. At the same time the goal should challenge you and help you rise to the occasion . . . it’s a fine line! Fortunately, re...

Lyman Howard

Lyman Howard

San Francisco, CA

Your financial goals need to be:

a. Achievable – you cannot set “win the lottery” as a financial goal. You can, however, say that you wish to pay for your children’s college, retire before a certain age, or buy that nice house in the suburbs.

b. Measurable- having a “comfortable retirement” may feel and sound good to your ears, but it is too vague. You need to translate that into a recognizable definition. Some people are quite comfortable living in a cubicle with fluorescent lights, while others are thinking “Ritz”. You should qua...

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