Setting goals that will make you financially independent

If you haven’t reviewed and set your financial goals for 2019 yet, you may be missing the boat to your personal financial success and well-being! Now would be a great time to get on board and do so.

Financial goal-setting is vitally important for anyone’s peace of mind – it’s simple and doesn’t take much time, nor is it only for the super wealthy.

Just like your work year planner or a bucket list, you should have a personal financial plan that sets out smart, achievable goals for the medium and long terms. Simply review your personal circumstances and income, what your needs are, what you can afford, and what you would like to accomplish. Then set your financial goals accordingly.

It’s an excellent way to help you become truly moneywise and financially independent. And don’t we all want that!

The benefits of financial goalsetting are many

  • You’ll be more conscious of managing money better and wasting less.
  • You’ll be better focused on living within your means and sticking to your budget.
  • You’ll take better ownership of your bank balance and expenses.
  • It will be your compass towards achieving all that you want in life.
  • You’ll learn to save and invest wisely, securing your future.
  • You and your family will benefit, even if you don’t have one yet.
  • You’ll grow and protect your wealth to achieve real financial independence.

10 tips for setting financial goals to get you started

  1. Set a budget and stick to it. It’s the only way to live within your means, cover all expenses and still be able to save for the future. Set your budget in a spreadsheet and keep track - see what’s coming in, what’s going out and where you are deviating from your budget. It nurtures financial discipline, effective money management, avoids nasty surprises and helps you achieve your goals.
  2. Pay yourself first – save for the long term. Direct a specified portion of your monthly income by debit order to your savings account, retirement annuity or other savings vehicle before you begin paying monthly living expenses or discretionary purchases.
  3. Get rid of short-term debt fast. Things like clothing accounts and credit cards cost a fortune in interest and service fees. Pay them off as quickly as you can – more than the monthly minimum, double that if you can. Avoid using them unnecessarily.
  4. Create an emergency fund. Don’t be caught by nasty surprises. Save a realistic amount in an accessible short-term account for things like an unexpected car service; and try to save up 3-6 months’ salary in a medium-term fund to cover lost income in case you lose your job or get retrenched.
  5. The earlier you start saving the better. Saving a small amount each month over a long period provides greater returns than saving large sums over a short period later in life by understanding the value of compound interest and how it works better for you over the long term. For retirement savings, start investing early in a retirement annuity even if your work provides a pension fund. And, because education costs are rising at an alarming rate, start saving for your children’s education from the day they are born. But always start saving as early in life as possible.
  6. Live within your means. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses or spend on unnecessary things like a flashy new car, unnecessary lunches in expensive restaurants, clothes you don’t really need or other unnecessary items when you could do without them and rather save the money.
  7. Educate yourself about different investment and savings options. Learn about the different savings and investment vehicles that are available, like tax-free savings accounts, fixed-deposit accounts, unit trusts, retirement annuities and endowment policies. If you don’t have any of these, investigate what’s available, learn about them and weigh up their benefits and associated risks, and how they can help you realise your goals. Here the advice of a professional financial planner will be most valuable.
  8. Regularly update risk and insurance policies. Circumstances may change, so annually review and update your risk and insurance policies such as life insurance, income protection or medical aid, if you have any of these. If you don’t have any, find out about them and what they can do for you, and invest in what best suits your needs.
  9. Consider ways to earn passive income. Wise investments can earn you additional income with little effort. Supplement your salary by e.g. launching a money-earning blog or website, having a side-line business that takes little time or active involvement, or by letting part of your property or sharing your apartment. Read up about how to earn passive income in ways that won’t interfere with your day job or family time.
  10. Seek professional advice. Contact a professional, qualified Financial Adviser to help you achieve your financial goals and make sure you stay on track.