Learn how proper financial planning techniques can help you better reach long-term finance goals
When someone hears the term financial planning, the thought of setting large, long-term goals may immediately come to mind. These can range from retirement to accumulating money for a child’s college education. For some, the idea of setting such large goals can often seem so overwhelming and intimidating that the person gives up before even trying to bring the goal to fruition.
One way to lessen the intimidation of financial planning is to break larger goals into smaller, achievable goals. By setting “bite size” milestones, and being successful in achieving them, each small win can motivate someone to press on to the bigger picture. In fact, research suggests that the satisfaction that comes from achieving small goals positively impacts our brain chemistry, and fuels the desire to keep moving forward. Achievement seems to set off the dopamine transmitters in our brain, which makes us feel good, leaving us wanting more…and eventually turning the desire to reach a small goal into an ongoing habit.
Let’s take a quick look at the popularity of the fitness device FitBit and how it breaks down a large goal for people into something achievable and desirable. If you put the following resolution on your New Year’s list, what would your initial thought be? “ I am going to walk 1,825 miles this year.” For some, this could seem like an overwhelming and unreachable goal. But one of the reasons FitBit is so popular is because it breaks this down into 5 miles per day for its user, and then breaks that down even further into 10,000 steps for day. Because the user sees progress being made each day, 10,000 step seems more attainable…and over time, he or she is walking 5 miles per day.
The same rationale can be applied to financial planning advice. Let’s take a saving goal as an example. Let’s say you wanted to save $100,000 for a college fund for your newborn son or daughter. This could be broken down into saving roughly $220 per month for 18 years and investing it with approximately an 8 percent return. But what if $220 seems like an exorbitant amount each month, and so unfeasible that you give up on the goal all together. This is when it comes time to break down the goal a little further by looking at your spending and making some modifications first.
It is in these types of situations that a financial advice professional is crucial. Perhaps you have $50 to $100 in recurring subscriptions and debits being automatically taken out of your bank account that aren’t necessary. Maybe some adjustments can be made to your eating out or shopping budget. And perhaps some cheaper options can be looked into when it comes times for a family vacation. By breaking the goal down into smaller sections, you may be able to make enough modifications that allow for a greater savings – making your ultimate goal not seem so out of reach.
When creating these smaller goals, be sure you are setting SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (having a specific deadline). Here are some tips to help you determine if you have set a SMART goal:
- Specific – Has a smaller, bite sized goal been identified?
- Measurable – Have you come up with a way to measure and track the progress of the bite size goal?
- Achievable – Is the goal realistic and small enough to seem achievable?
- Relevant – Does the short-term goal line up with the long-term vision you have identified?
- Time-bound – Do you have a hard deadline on the goal so you can determine if it was successfully achieved or not?
There are many additional tips on how to set up small financial planning goals, and how to track your progress. Be sure to sit down with an advice professional to learn how to better achieve your long-term goals through proper financial planning. To learn more tips, visit www.SummitBrokerage.com
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About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.
Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.
About Cetera Financial Group
Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial planning advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions. Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.
Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations. Independent financial advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and financial planning and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology. For more information, visit www.ceterafinancialgroup.com.
*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.