30 Day Financial Cleanse Pledge: Day 2 Identify Your Financial Goals

As a reminder this post series is all about getting a handle on your finances! I heard about Personal Capital,a personal finance software company, and their 30 Day Cleanse and decided to take the pledge and encourage my readers to do the same!

Day 2: Identify Your Financial Goals

Make your goals timebound and concrete. "I want to pay down all credit card debt within 4 months" or "I want to retire at 50 with $2M saved to travel." 

I find this is one of the most important steps you can take towards addressing your financial goals and dreams (yes, dreams!). Without knowing what you are working towards, it makes it really hard to say no to impulse purchases. Before Tyler and I sat down together and wrote out our financial goals, we really did not know where we wanted to be in the next 5, 10, 15+ years. We found ourselves purchasing things unnecessarily and then having to use credit cards because we were buying things we couldn't afford (and let's face it, things we did not need), which ultimately was stressful. I think people avoid sitting down and taking a good hard look at their finances because they a) think it will be difficult and b) are scared to know the whole truth. I would say this was true for me but avoiding organizing myself was leaving me both in a difficult place and the fear was still there. It is actually incredibly liberating to know exactly what goes in and out of our bank accounts and whether it meets our financial goals. For example, Tyler and I know we spend a lot of money on groceries. We continue to work on decreasing that dollar amount but honestly, knowing we spend less than $50 a month on eating out and the fact that 1/4 of our budget goes to feeding our animal kingdom, helps us know that we are spending our money how we want to. There is no right way to spend your money. It is important to do it in a way that makes you (and your partner) happy and stress-free (or managable stress). 

So how to write a goal? Be SMART! Be Specific, make it Measurable, make it Agreeable (are you going to actually do it?), make it Realistic, and set a Timeline. 

Tyler and I did this a few months ago. After dinner, we sat down with my laptop and we typed out exactly what we wanted to do over the next 8 years (when Tyler turns 40, an arbitrary timeline). It included setting some goals around decreasing debt, increasing our savings and retirement, and starting to plan our dream home. 

Stay tuned for Day 3: Use an Aggregator! 


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