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Setting Realistic Financial Goals for Your Future

When it comes to your finances, setting goals can be a great way to help you work toward your future. Whether you’re dreaming of your first home or you want to start thinking about retirement, here are some tips for setting realistic financial goals for your life. 

Mom and daughter putting money into a piggy bank.

Start with your next steps 

You might feel like buying a home is a world away. If that’s a few steps down the line, try looking closer to where you are now. Maybe your next step is building an emergency fund in your money market account or laying out a budget. Sometimes the most realistic goal is the easily attainable one. 


Break bigger goals up into smaller ones 

To keep with the house-buying example, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the size of your goal, it usually pays to break each large one down into more bite-sized goals. A good strategy is to set up daily to accomplish one small step toward your goal. Maybe it’s rounding up to the nearest dollar when you buy your morning coffee, saving the difference. Or it could be buying gently used items from Facebook Marketplace instead of getting brand new furniture in the name of growing your down payment. Making daily progress will also help keep your goals top-of-mind. 


Make sure they’re the goals you care about

If you’re saving up for something just because you think it’s the next financial step or it’s what the people around you expect, that goal might not be worth pursuing. Take the time to zero in on what you want, not just what’s expected of you. Often those goals you can’t stop thinking about, no matter how out there they are, are the ones that are truly realistic for you. Because when you care about saving for a trip around the world or purchasing your dream property to start a business, working toward them won’t feel so much like work. 


Couple dreaming of a new home.


Focus on the habits you’ll need 

When you’re setting goals, overthinking the end result can work against you. If you’re struggling to figure out a goal you have in mind, try working backward. Spend time thinking about the habits you’ll need to build to achieve it. 


You have a goal of sticking to your weekly budget and know that only eating out once weekly is critical. You find you’re too tired to meal prep on Sundays. You might need to factor more sleep time into your day, so you can have the energy to build the habit of cooking. Set your sights on your financial goal, and work backward to the daily habits that can help you get there. 


Sticky note reminding of a personal loan.


See what financial tools are available to you 

When setting goals, see what tools you have at your disposal. If your goal is to be able to afford new ski gear before the season starts, check for gear loans that could help. Or, if you’re hoping to boost your credit score, check for credit monitoring services like SavvyMoney so you can keep an eye on your credit’s movements and get recommendations for raising it. Or, if you’re trying to build your score from scratch, see what starter credit cards you can find. Exploring your financial institution's tools will give you some insight into what you can accomplish. 

If you need some more inspiration to take your finances to the next level, check out more from the RMCU blog.

Non RMCU links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Rocky Mountain Credit Union of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. RMCU bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external sites.

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