Become a goal-setting guru with these 5 tips

For many, a new year means new goals. And for investors, setting goals can be the key to achieving financial freedom. So what better way to kick off 2022 than with some of our top goal-setting tips!

1) Decide what you’d like to achieve, then categorize

If you’re unsure of where to start, thinking about what you’d like to have or achieve in the future can be an excellent place to begin. It often seems lofty to plan so far in advance, but looking at your long-term goals first can help you decide what your priorities should be in the short to medium term as well. Smaller goals often act as the stepping stones to achieving larger goals. For example, if you’re saving for retirement (a long-term goal), then a medium-term goal of purchasing a home (a long-term asset) may help you get there.

From a financial perspective, it’s good to gain an understanding of the things you need to afford now and would like to afford in the future. Factors such as income, age, and future outlook all influence these motivations. It can be helpful to think about financial goals in three main categories:

  • Short-term goals: lifestyle aspirations (holidays, cars, or a rainy day)
  • Medium-term goals: significant life goals (education or purchasing property)
  • Long-term goals: financial independence or retirement planning

2) Use the SMART framework

Over 500 studies have shown that people who set specific, challenging goals perform better than those who set “non-specific or “do-your-best” goals”1. So when it comes to creating your goals, it can be beneficial to follow the SMART framework. This framework suggests that great goals should be: 

  • Specific: clear and well-defined
  • Measurable: can be measured by a specific outcome
  • Achievable: needs to be practically achievable 
  • Relevant: has real relevance to what you want to achieve
  • Time-based: defined by a time-frame

3) Set the budget

Once you’ve set your SMART goals, you can then set a budget (if required) for each of them. Sticking to a budget can be difficult, so ideally, the budget is realistic and affordable. It may be helpful to re-evaluate your money management techniques and create strategies to ensure you stick to your budget for each goal.

When it comes to investing, an easy way to regularly contribute funds towards investing is by setting up recurring deposits from your bank account. This way, you can grow your investments faster without lifting a finger, especially if you have automated investing strategies.

Importantly, setting investment goals doesn’t mean you have to make life-altering changes. Even minor adjustments can go a long way to generating wealth in the future.

4) Put your goals in writing

There’s nothing like a physical reminder to keep you motivated! We suggest putting your goals on paper. Not only does this help you categorize and keep track of your goals, but it also helps you to visualize them.  

To help you get started, we’ve created a simple goal planning template where you can log your short, medium, and long-term goals.

5) Revisit and reassess!

Goals are moving targets. So once you’ve set them, make sure you set regular reminders to revisit your goals. Your priorities today may be different in a week, month or year. Therefore, by revisiting them, you can ensure they stay in line with your expectations and motivations for the future. 

If you aren’t already a goal-setter, it’s never too late to start! Even small goals can make a big difference in achieving lifelong aspirations. For more on how you can align your financial goals with an investment strategy, read our article on the value of setting investment goals.

Disclaimer:

This is a marketing communication and in no way should be viewed as investment research, advice, or recommendation to invest. There is no guarantee to get back the invested amount. Past performance of financial instruments does not guarantee future returns. Investing in financial instruments involves risk; before investing, consider your knowledge, experience, financial situation, and investment objectives.

Footnotes:

  1. Seijts, G. H., G. P. Latham, K. Tasa, B. W. Latham, and M. Journal (2011). Goal Setting and Goal Orientation: An Integration of Two Different Yet Related Literatures. Academy of Management Journal 47 (2), 227–239.

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