Everyone sets goals. Typically, these goals fall into two categories - short-term and long-term. Short-term goals may consist of saving for a well-deserved vacation or shedding 10 lbs. before summer. Long-term goals focus more on what you want to accomplish in life and retirement planning.
But what about mid-range goals, such as five years? A great deal can happen in five years, no matter your stage in life. Perhaps you plan to graduate, retirement might be your next step, or maybe you plan to buy a new home. Mid-range goals help significantly shape your future because they are short enough to remain focused but long enough to make big changes.
So, ask yourself, where do you want to be [financially] in five years — and how will you get there?
Step 1: Set Goals
The first step to setting goals for the future is to determine where you want to be in the next five years. Will you have a new job? Maybe you’ll be married, have a home, or preparing to start a family?
Write down where you would like to see yourself five years from today. The trick is to be as specific as possible so that you can truly envision your future life. Once completed, review your detailed goals regularly, possibly daily, to keep yourself motivated and on track.
Step 2: Work Backward
What steps do you need to take throughout the next five years to make those goals possible? For example, if you want to buy a home in five years, you must first set an ideal price range.
Utilize tools from your local realtor or even a calculator on the internet to determine your estimated closing costs and required down payment. Take this amount and break it down over 60 months to see how much money you will need to save monthly to reach your goal.
By working backward, you can determine from the beginning what will be needed to reach your goals, rather than blindly working to achieve them.
Step 3: Stay Motivated
A lot can happen in five years, and it’s easy to lose sight of the goals you’re working hard to achieve. Position reminders of your goals strategically throughout your life. Place sticky notes around your home, in your car, and set alerts on your cell phone calendar to remind you to check in on your goals.
Let’s face it - five years is a long time. If you find yourself becoming derailed from your plans, there is an ample amount of time that allows you to correct your course and get back on track. Reminders are a great way to nudge you back in the right direction and inspire you to keep going.
Step 4: Focus on Your Progress
Life happens, and not everything will go according to plan — but that does not mean you should give up. Step back and take a moment to look at and appreciate how far you have come over the past months or years. You’re not the same person you were five years ago, and you will not be the same person that you are now in five more years.
The ultimate goal to achieve along your journey is progress, not perfection. Whether your goals are fueled with financial dreams, are career-oriented, or come with total lifestyle changes, you must create a plan and monitor your progress. No matter what you choose to do or not do, the next five years are going to happen anyway — why not do all that you can to make these years special?
We’re Here to Help!
No matter what stage of life you’re in, each phase comes with significant milestones. As your credit union, we’re ready to help you make the best financial decisions to ensure you achieve your goals. Whether it’s planning for retirement, saving for a family vacation, or buying your first home, our team is here for you.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 202-479-2270 to learn how we can help you plan and achieve your financial goals.