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Your financial goals are within reach. You just need a plan to get there. Here are 5 steps to take for you to crush your financial goals!

1.Determine your goals

If you already have financial goals, great, write them down now. If you’re still a little unsure, set a timer for 1 minute, close your eyes and envision the life that you want to live. Who are you with? Where do you live? What are you wearing? What are you eating? At the end of the minute, write everything you imagined down. Chances are, what you have envisioned costs money. Whether it be a house, a vacation, college education or a fancy car, you’re going to need money to get there. What you envisioned are your financial goals. Spend some time reflecting on what you want and how it would feel to have it. Now, get excited to crush those goals!

2.How much do you really need?

Before you start saving money to reach your financial goals, find out a realistic estimate of what your goals cost. The internet is great for preliminary research on what your goals cost but it is in your best interest to really dive deep into the research and uncover the actual cost. This is a great time to talk to a financial advisor, call a loan officer, get renovation quotes, and map out exactly how much that all-inclusive vacation costs with tax, tips, excursions, etc. This preliminary research will help you to set an accurate and realistic number. When in doubt, err on the more expensive end. Things always end up costing more than expected and if they don’t, you’ll have extra money left over.

3.Pause: Do you have an emergency fund?

Having an emergency fund is the #1 rule of finance and if you don’t have one, it needs to be your first financial goal. An emergency fund is considered cash, or other liquid assets in the amount of 3-6 months of your expenses. An emergency fund is used for unexpected expenses that you may not be considering as a financial goal. It can be used for things like emergency home improvements (think new roof), car issues, or in the case that you lose your job. Saving for and having an emergency fun should be your #1 priority when getting your finances in order. If you don’ have one, get one. If you do, move on to the next step.

4.Set up milestones.

Just like setting fitness goals, don’t expect to reach your financial goal immediately. Anything worth having requires hard work and time. And just like getting fit, reaching your financial goals requires making small healthy changes and staying consistent.

Depending on the size of your goal, your cash inflow/outflow and number of other goals you are working towards, the time it will take for you to reach your goal will vary. This is a good time to talk to a financial advisor if you haven’t already. A good financial advisor can review your goals and your budget and work with you to create a realistic roadmap to reach your financial goals. Once the financial goal is set, you can set milestone goals of where you want to be in a month, a year, a few years. Milestones help make the big goal feel more achievable. As the saying goes – “What’s the best way to eat and elephant?” You got it – “One bite at a time!”

5.Goal for the goal

As you put your action into practice, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, everyone is on their own path to reach their own personal financial goals. It does not matter where everyone else is on their path to their financial goals. All that matters is that you have a plan and are working toward your goals. Stick to your own path and trust that you have the best plan for you.

Second, live your life for your current self and your future self. Stay balanced. Don’t deprive yourself right now, but also recognize that, most likely, there will be a future self for you to provide for.

Lastly, continuously reflect on your financial goals. As humans, our lives are constantly changing. What our initial financial goal was, may not be our current goal. Allow yourself the flexibility to make changes as you grow into your future self. After all, your financial goals are for you!

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