How to create and achieve financial goals at any age
Whether you’re just starting out, taking a step up or heading for retirement, planning your finances is all about being able to enjoy the present while safeguarding your future.
While financial planning can seem like a daunting topic, it’s really just about helping you achieve your goals and focusing on what matters most to you.
We’ve put together a quick guide to help you create your financial goals and achieve them at any age.
What kind of lifestyle do you have and want to live?
The amount of money you need is entirely dependent on your way of living.
Some people get by very comfortably on an income that others would find difficult.You need to decide what your priorities are and set up the financial safeguards to protect them.
Whether you’re a single income earner who saves to afford holidays, a family trying to cover school fees or a couple planning retirement, smart financial goals can help you shape and maintain your lifestyle.
What should you save for?
When you figure out your goals, factor in the expenses that are really important to you. Although personal loans will let you afford many of these things sooner, you will eventually need to pay back what you borrow.
Contributing as much of your own money towards the cost in the first place will help you in the long run. For instance, you might be saving for:
- A wedding: Every bride and groom wants to plan a perfect day, but it can be a very expensive exercise. ASIC has calculated that the average price spent on an Australian wedding is a whopping $36,200.
Before you commit to turtledoves and helicopters, think about the other purchases you will want to make as a couple after you’re married.
- Home renovations: If done wisely, renovations can increase both the livability and value of your home. However, they can be costly so it’s important to do your research and get multiple quotes for every trade. Decide what’s a “must have” and what’s a “nice to have”, and prioritise your budget from there. You may need to scratch some things off your “nice to have” list and complete these later in life.
- Retirement: We all want to have a comfortable retirement. Good planning and healthy superannuation will make it more likely. The ASFA Retirement Standard estimates that most Australian couples will require between $35,000 and $60,000 a year to support themselves in retirement. You need to factor in that your retirement could last decades.
- Travel: The costs of travelling vary wildly depending on location and style. Before you plan a holiday, set and save a realistic budget that factors in accommodation, food, activities and emergency expenses. Ask for a quote from a travel agent or do your research online.
Are my goals realistic?
Setting goals and financial planning is all about finding a balance.
There’s no point laying everything on the line for one big expense or investment that could cause permanent financial harm.You need to consider not just what you want today, but what you might need down the line.
To effectively manage your money, you should have a clear understanding of where you stand. Know how much you earn every year, what you spend and how much disposable income you have to play with.
Budget Planner Calculator help you set and maintain a realistic financial plan. Our Budget Planner Calculator will measure your budget up against the investments or purchases you wish to make, both in the short and long term.
Entering or in your early adulthood?
The first few years of adulthood are pivotal in shaping your financial future. Establishing healthy saving habits and learning to manage your money will prepare you for the larger obligations to come over the subsequent decades.
At this time you probably use tools like an everyday savings account and a credit card. Now is also a good time to grow a healthy amount of savings if you can - while you’re still free from major financial responsibilities.
Establishing and growing wealth?
After working for a number of years, you may find yourself with a whole new set of financial commitments. You might be planning your dream wedding, starting a family or buying your first home.
Perhaps you want to start your own business or just grow your income.
Now is the perfect time to acquire assets, maintain healthy loan repayments and plan for your future. Building a healthy nest egg will help you achieve all of your short and long-term goals and prepare for any unexpected costs. Take care of your finances now and reap the benefits later.
Getting ready to retire?
You’ve been working hard for years and now you’re ready to start preparing for the next stage: retirement. Proactively manage your superannuation fund and check if you’re eligible for Federal Superannuation Co-contributions.
Also consider researching other long-term investments such as property, business, the share market or utilising term deposits. To free up your future, you should try to pay off significant debts such as mortgages during this time.
Your retirement is a time to relax and enjoy post-work life. If you’re prepared for retirement, you should have superannuation and other savings to support yourself.
If not, check whether you’re entitled to a government Age Pension to keep the funds coming in.
Also, carefully monitor any investment strategies and manage your assets to minimise tax and maximise profit.
At this stage, you may also want to consider estate planning.
As you can see, creating realistic financial goals takes into account a range of habits, lifestyles and situations. That’s why every financial journey is unique. It’s important for you to manage your finances so you can reach your goals and enjoy what matters most to you in life.