How do I decide what my financial goals are?

The answer is not simple, and I can’t answer in a few paragraphs. But I can give you some ideas for making your goals more concrete.

If you are having trouble articulating your goals, think about your financial problems or worries.

Step One: What are my problems?

For example: “My credit card debt stresses me out.”

Now ask yourself:

Why does my credit card debt stress me out?

Does paying 20% interest really hack you off? Are you having trouble making minimum payments on the credit cards? Is all your extra money going to pay down credit card balances and not for enjoyable activities? Does the debt spark an existential crisis of identity: “I owe, therefore I do not own myself.”

Why do I have this debt?

Do you routinely spend more than you earn? Did you have large expenses in a short period for which you were not prepared?

Step Two: What is the fix for this problem?

Keeping with the example above, let’s say you had credit card debt because you spend more than you earn. The fix would be two-fold – Stop spending more than I earn and pay down the credit card debts.

There are two financial goals for you. But there’s more you need to do to ensure success in achieving your goals.

Step Three: How will I achieve my goals?

Here is where you get into the nitty-gritty by creating a plan of action to achieve your goals. Here are some questions that can help create your plan:

  • How much money do I spend every month?
  • Do I cut my spending, or do I earn more money?
  • What spending could I cut out or reduce?
  • Is there a way for me to earn more money?
  • How much money could I allocate each month to pay down the credit card debt? Answer this question with a specific dollar figure.
  • If I pay and extra $XXX.00 each month to my credit cards, how long will it take to pay off? Is that fast enough?
  • Do I need to stop charging new expenses to my credit cards?

Step Four: Do the work

Here is the point where you start the long, arduous discipline to achieve your financial goals. This separates the diligent from the unmotivated. To help you stay diligent, remember your answer to “Why does my credit card debt stress me out?”

Do you have questions about organizing your finances? Leave a note in the comments!

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