In January 2016, the singer, rapper, and songwriter, Lizzo released a tweet with her goals for that year. One of those goals was simply “coconut oil.” It was an unexpected thing to write on a list of goals, but it turned out to have a lot of significance. That same year, Lizzo released her debut solo EP called, you guessed it, “Coconut Oil.” It’s an inspiring story, but what if I told you you could do the same with your short-term financial goals?
Why are both short-term and long-term financial goals important?
Short-term goals are those you want to achieve within a few weeks or months. Some examples example of a short-term financial goal can be:
Meanwhile, long-term goals are goals that you want to achieve in several years. This can be something like:
Whether short-term or long-term, goals are essential to financial independence and security. You’re more likely to spend more money than you should by not setting specific goals. When the time comes to pay the bills, you’ll regret not setting goals sooner.
It’s essential to have both short- and long-term goals. Having both will give you something to work towards. Focus on your achievable short-term goals first. This is because, typically, the first step of your long-term goals will be something you can start today.
Like Lizzo, you can put in the work and achieve your short-term financial goals this year. Whether it’s to save a certain amount of money or own a car or house, you can achieve it. But the reality is that there are a lot of factors involved. You need hard work, experience, determination, and a little bit of luck.
But I want to see you succeed, sis. So I’m going to let you in on my top 15 tips that will help achieve your short-term and long-term financial goals:
This list is about achieving your short-term financial goals, so why should you start with your long-term ones? That’s because achieving your goals years from now starts with what you can do today. Saving $50,000 in three years sounds tough, but saving about $1700 a month sounds much more achievable.
Many people get discouraged and give up after not achieving their short-term financial goals. This is why you need to ensure that your financial goals are achievable. This way, you can feel yourself making progress and keep moving forward.
You’re not going to grow if your goals are too easy to achieve. You need to make sure that your goals challenge you to build good financial habits. Otherwise, that defeats the purpose of setting financial goals in the first place.
Try to make a budget that will allocate enough money towards your goals every month. I typically recommend saving up about 10-20% of your monthly income. Remember, sis: a budget is only good if you can actually stick to it. I have a couple of articles that can help you set a budget. You can check them out here and here.
If you already have a budget set, you might want to adjust it depending on your goals. If you’re going to save more money, you should naturally try to reduce costs elsewhere. Doing this can help you budget more towards your financial goals. Here are 15 of my best tips on saving money.
To help you reach your financial goals, you might want to increase your income. This usually means that you should try and get yourself a better-paying job. Thankfully, there are a lot of great job options you can take.
Ready for a bit of job-hunting? Then check out my article on high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree.
Debt will be a major hindrance to achieving your financial goals. The first thing you should aim to pay off any kind of debt you have. Debts usually have a high-interest rate, so you should try to pay them off as soon as possible.
Once all your debts are paid, make sure you have a six-month emergency fund saved up. This is six months’ worth of expenses only during emergencies. This will give you a sense of security, take investment risks, and experience more significant gains. If you don’t already have one, then building an EF should be a priority–after paying off your debts, of course.
Many people have a short-term goal of getting a new car or house. If this involves a downpayment, then you better learn how to negotiate. Say the right things, and you may be able to shave off hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars off a down payment.
It’s easy to get caught up in your short-term goals and forget about your long-term ones. If you want to be financially secure, retirement should always be in the back of your mind. Remember always to set aside a portion of your income towards retirement. By the time you’re 60, you’ll be thanking yourself that you did.
Check out my article on retirement accounts if you want to learn more.
Remember that some of your financial goals can also be towards things you’ve wanted but not necessarily need. Saving up for your wants can help give you that extra push to hit your financial goals. This can be a new phone, a new wardrobe, or a vacation trip to the Bahamas.
You can challenge yourself to hit bigger short-term financial goals by learning new skills. Buying resources, like investing books, can be a huge help to achieving these more significant goals. If you’re a beginner, then you should check out my reading list for the top investing books.
Cutting down on expenses can be a great way to help you reach those financial goals. Lowering your monthly budget for food, entertainment, or even utilities can go a long way when you’re saving up.
You should try to cut off any unnecessary expenses. Things like late fees can add up over time and be a huge hassle when paying bills. These small expenses are the real silent killers of short-term financial goals.
It’s a good idea continually to monitor your progress at the end of each month. This will help you assess what changes to make to help you reach your short-term financial goals. Maybe you could save a bit more on bills, food, or another category. Sitting down and taking a look at your progress regularly is essential to achieving your goals.
There will always be more things to learn when reaching your financial goals. That’s why you should sign up for my financial fam! As a member, you’ll receive personal financial advice from yours truly every week. Occasionally, I’ll even throw in a freebie here and there as well. The best part? Signing up costs absolutely nothing! So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the financial fam today!
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Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
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