Financial goals come in all shapes and sizes. Most importantly, financial goals vary widely on your unique situation. Any financial goals you set should reflect your personal goals. Setting SMART financial goals can help you make progress towards the financial future you desire. Let’s explore examples of SMART financial goals to help you start the goal-setting process.
Consider working with a financial advisor if you need help exploring SMART financial goals examples for your unique situation.
What Is a SMART Goal?
Before we jump into SMART financial goal examples, let’s define what a SMART goal is.
SMART stands for:
- S: Specific goals must be clear. If you set vague goals, it can be difficult to visualize your progress.
- M: Measurable goals have clear metrics to help you track your progress. Without a way to measure your progress, it can be difficult to make headway.
- A: Actionable goals involve making sure the goals you set are possible. You don’t want to set goals that you can’t complete without winning the lottery.
- R: Realistic or relevant goals ensure that your goals align with the larger picture of your finances. For example, you might need to prioritize a goal of saving for retirement over a goal to upgrade your vehicle.
- T: Time-bound creates a deadline for your goals. The timeframe will require you to take action to reach your goals in a timely manner.
Instead of setting goals with vague aspirations, SMART goals require you to think through your goal-setting process. When you put more thought into your goals, it’s more likely you’ll create goals that you can confidently meet.
SMART Financial Goals Examples
SMART financial goals can help you build the financial future you want. As we explore a few SMART financial goals examples below, consider how you might choose to adapt one or more of these goals to your own life.
Save for a Down Payment
If you have the goal of saving to buy a home, a SMART goal can help you move the needle.
First, take a look at our free down payment calculator to help you determine how much you should expect to put down on your home purchase.
In this example, let’s say that you need a $12,000 down payment. You want to purchase your home in two years. With that, you’d need to save $500 per month. Look for ways to trim your spending or increase your income through a side hustle to find a realistic way to save $500 each month.
With that, your SMART goal could be: I will save $12,000 in one year for a down payment on a house. Each month I will transfer $500 into a separate savings account to meet this goal.
Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Specifically, you can set the goal of paying off all of your credit card debt.
Measure this goal by adding up all of your credit card balances. In this example, let’s say that your credit card debt amounts to $1,000.
You can break this goal down into the achievable step of putting $100 per month towards your credit card debt, on top of your minimum monthly payment. It’s possible to make this goal realistic by cutting out $100 in discretionary spending each month or picking up a side hustle to make $100 per month.
Consider setting a deadline for yourself to achieve this goal.
Ultimately, your SMART goal could look like this: I will pay off $1,000 of credit card debt in one year by putting an extra $100 per month towards this debt. I will make room in my budget by cutting expenses or picking up a side hustle.
Save for a Vacation
It’s important to make financial goals for your hobbies. If you love to travel, consider using the SMART goal strategy to save for your vacation.
For example, let’s say that you want to take a $2,000 trip to Zion National Park in 18 months. With that, you’d have to save $111 per month to reach your goal.
Here’s what your SMART goal could be: I will save $111 each month for a trip to Zion National Park in 18 months. I will come up with the cash by slashing my entertainment budget or picking up extra hours at work.
Of course, these SMART financial goals examples are just the tip of the iceberg. You can use this goal-setting strategy when saving for retirement, building an emergency fund and more. And remember, setting a SMART goal is the first step. Once you’ve set the goal, you need to take action to achieve it. Use the SMART financial goals examples above to kickstart your goal-setting process.
Tips on Financial Goals
- Setting financial goals is a smart move. But that’s not the end of your journey. If you need help making your SMART financial goals a reality, then consider working with a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- It’s important to build your SMART financial goals into your budget. Use SmartAsset’s free budget tool to get started.
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