Reaching wealth goals and achieving personal ambitions are major objectives of the financial planning process. In order to make plans for the future, you need to know where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Wealth goal-setting is very much like creating a business plan. You need to know a starting point and ending point, the time frame for ‘exiting’ (or reaching your goals), and the estimated cost involved.
Types of wealth goals
The three most common types are:
• Retirement planning or property purchase over the very long term (15 years or more)
• Life events, such as school fees over the medium term (10-15 years)
• Rainy day or lifestyle funds to finance goals such as a dream sports car over the medium to shorter term (5-10 years)
Wealth goals that really matter most
It’s important to consider and plan for which wealth goals really matter most. Instead, many people muddle through their financial lives, spending to meet the day-today expenses that dominate their attention. That’s why to get what you want most, you must decide which wealth goals will take priority and work toward the lesser goals only after the really important ones are well provided for.
Approach to achieving your goals
The minimum time horizon for all types of investing should be at least five years. Whatever your personal wealth goals may be, it is important to consider the time horizon at the outset, as this will impact on your approach to achieving your goals. It also makes sense to revisit your goals at regular intervals to account for any changes to your personal circumstances, for example, the arrival of a new member to the family, or as you enter retirement.
Clearly define your specific goals
As a starting point, consider the goals you set previously, and reflect on what worked and what didn’t and why. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to clearly define your specific goals. Most people tend to set wealth goals that are more about money than about things that motivate them emotionally.
SMART goals you truly value
Goals that are tied to what you truly value are often easier to achieve than goals that are simply tied to money. Part of what gives this goal its power is that it’s SMART: it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and has a Timeline.
Wealth Goals Part II will cover ways to define your wealth goals.