6 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

A DirectTalk with Benni McCarthy by DirectAxis

Benni was lucky to have a financial adviser who could advise him about longevity for his money. What is your financial goal? It could be something specific like paying off your debt or saving for a deposit on a car. It could also be things like living within your means, sticking to a budget, improving your credit rating or saving for your kids’ education. Whatever your goal, having one is more likely to get you to success than living aimlessly from paycheck to paycheck. We know it can all feel rather overwhelming, so let’s look at the process step by step.

1. Decide what really matters

Begin by writing down the number one thing that keeps you up at night, for example “I want to have an emergency fund of R10 000” or “I want to afford my kids’ school fees”. Also write down the things you dream of, whether it’s travelling abroad, opening your own restaurant or owning a motorbike. 

2. Check your financial well-being

Next, take a good look at your current money situation. Your income, expenses, debt and credit rating. Create a budget if you don’t have one yet and try to get it to a 50/30/20 split – that means spending 50% of your income on needs (e.g. rent, childcare, medical aid, transport), 30% on wants (e.g. shopping and entertainment) and 20% on savings and debt repayment.

3. Cover your bases

There are some basics of financial planning that can’t be ignored, such as having an emergency fund, saving for retirement and paying off your debt. Before you start working on other goals, be sure to have a plan for these things as well.

4. Set your priorities

Once you have your list of goals, sort them into short, medium and long-term goals. Decide how much money you need to save to reach each goal and break it down per year/month so it feels more manageable. 

5. Find extra money

Make a list of all the ways you can come up with extra cash to reach your goal. If you need to find extra money for a short term goal look at cutting on expenses or selling unwanted items. For long term goals, learn the magic of compound interest. 

6. Share your goals with others

It’s important to hold yourself accountable so bring up your goal next time you are with friends or family. Sharing your goals with others will keep you motivated. 


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