“At the end of 2021 I wish I could open an emergency fund…”
As an individual, family or business owner, setting short-term, medium and long-term financial goals are critical to achieving the things you need. Goal setting is the blueprint for achieving what you desire in your life or business. But in goal planning, it is critical that you separate needs vs wants.
With no guiding vision or plan, you tend to drift, may experience wasted efforts, or even cause chaos in your life. Once you set goals, you tend to stay focused and as a result, achieve your desired outcomes. So let’s get started.
Short term goals are those to be accomplished in one year or less. Whereas, long-term goals are for the distant future, usually over five years. For example, you may be saving for the downpayment on a home that you plan to buy in one year, planning to start a new business in two years, or perhaps you want to provide university education for your children. Maybe your goals are even longer-term, and you’re building a nest egg for retirement in twenty years.
Whether you are kick-starting your investment or already a seasoned investor, setting goals are the foundation upon which long-term wealth is built. Time is important because the longer you have towards achieving a goal, the more aggressive you can be in your investment choices. Conversely, when you have less time, it is more prudent to consider lower-risk investments.
S.M.A.R.T. is a useful system to ensure that your selected goals are motivating and more likely to be achieved.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are:
S: Specific – Wanting to buy a car is not enough, you must do the necessary homework to find out the price of a new car versus a locally used car and what makes better economic sense to purchase in line with your budget.
M: Measurable – Measurable goals can go a long way in refining what exactly it is you want. Decide how much to put aside monthly to purchase your car and how long it will take to accumulate.
A: Attainable – Weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal will take against your other obligations and priorities. Is the car that you would like to have attainable, given your income and expenses?
R: Realistic – The goal must be realistic. Can you afford an Audi or Benz when your salary screams frugality?
T: Time-bound – Every goal must have a timeline. Timelines can be categorised in short (0-1 year), medium (1-3 years), and long term (3 or more years). The Smart methodology gives your goals form and shape with clear cut steps on how to make your aspirations a reality.
These days, a lot of people are venturing into entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, as in any other aspect, it is critical to have short-term, medium and long-term goals.
It is vital to write down your vision as the long-term goal and set Smart short-term and medium-term goals to attain this it. Your vision may be to obtain a dollar value amount in profits or obtain a certain number of customers monthly. Your short-term goal may be to develop a digital marketing plan, hire more employees to fulfil orders or set up your business bank account. All these goals will help you to attain your long-term goal of increased profits.
The path to achieving your goals takes time, serious thinking, disciplined effort and most importantly, patience. By setting well-defined defined financial goals, you can take pride when you achieve them. And you'll see progress in what might have been a long, pointless grind.
The TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce thanks the TT Unit Trust Corporation (a signature platinum sponsor member) for contributing this article.