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Be Wise With Money

5 SMART Tips for Meeting Your Money Goals [Worksheets]

Set SMART financial goals with these easy tips

SMART tips

You have financial or money goals – big and small. Maybe they're as immediate as going the day without spending any money. Or maybe they're future-focused, like saving for a down payment for a house or setting aside money for your retirement.

Sometimes sheer willpower is all you need to achieve short-term goals. But for medium- or long-term goals, you need to clearly define them in a way that reflects your values, is realistic and is backed by a how-to plan.

If you just need an easy way to remember things, think SMART. Here's what each letter means:

Specific: Goals should be focused, not general.

Measurable: They must define exactly what you intend to accomplish.

Achievable: Ask yourself, "Is it realistic for me?" Keep your personal circumstances in mind when setting your financial goals.

Results-based: Goals should be focused on getting to a specific endpoint.

Timed: Goals should have clear deadlines so that when met, you'll be able to say, "I did it!"

Writing down your goals and making sure they're SMART helps you make intentional choices about managing your money. Plus, it helps you focus on the important decisions.

Which of these are SMART financial goals?

  1. Pay off my credit card as soon as possible.
  2. Put money into my retirement savings account.
  3. Open an emergency savings account by the end of the month, and deposit $100 into it each month.

While they're all goals, No. 3 is the only SMART goal.

Take action today

  1. Discover your top three values. Do this quick financial exercise to find out what's most important for you.
  2. Create your SMART goals statement with this how-to worksheet.
  3. To learn more about how to create smart goals and actively manage your money decisions, connect with a local financial representative.

Additional information

Search for a financial education workshop in your area to help start you on your path to SMART financial goals.

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