Think about the times your parents told you to save money and if you asked why; the answer was simply because it’s for your future. What did that really mean to you? The problem with thinking this broadly is that the future could be tomorrow or 40 years from now. That makes it difficult for most people to see the value of saving. One of the best ways to making savings an important aspect of your life is to set goals. Whether you are an individual or a family this simple rule with help you focus. You should start by preparing a dream sheet that lists up to 3 short term goals (3 months -1year), 3 medium term goals (from 1-5years) and 3 long term goals (5-10 years). This will allow you to focus your goal of saving to specific areas of importance in your life. Below are some sample goals for your goal sheet. Try preparing your own and you may find savings fun and rewarding.
Short Term Goals (3mos-1year)
1-Emergency Fund ($1000)-Oct 2012
2-New Furniture ($1000)-Nov 2012
3-Trip to Bahamas ($600) –April 2013
Mid-Term Goals (1-5 years)
1-Purchase a New Vehicle
2-Down Payment on a Home ($5K)
Long Term Goals (5 or more years)
1-Start College Fund for Children
2-Contribute to my Retirement Fund
3-Save for a Vacation Home
Following the above sample your goals need to be specific and they need to have a start and end date. This will keep you on track to meet the goal that you set. You can either make one person accountable for each goal or you can both decide on a set amount that you will put aside to meet them. This dream sheet should be reviewed quarterly to ensure that it still corresponds with your life track. Allow the entire family to be involved in setting the goals so that not only you learn the value of savings but your children as well. Have the children set up their own personal goal sheets. This gets them to start thinking about their futures now. This one little piece of advice will save you parental headaches later. You will travel down many roads and some of the needs or desires my transition and your goals must be meet this requirement. Open a savings account specifically for your goals so that the money is not comingled with daily living expense funds.
Try this today and see if it changes your life. A little bit of planning goes a long way. My mother once told me “People, who don’t plan to live a long time, always do!” This means that if you don’t prepare for the rest of your life it will happen upon you and not pleasantly. So start setting goals today and mold your life into what you want it to be.