Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Financial Goals

I am one of those people that actually does make New Year's resolutions.  I always make a resolution that relates to my health in some way.  I usually pick something small, but sustainable.  In 2008, I was in a car accident that left me with some soft tissues injuries.  Nothing catastrophic, but I was definitely undergoing medical care for the better part of a year, and wouldn't be signing up for any races for a while.  The accident was during the holiday season.  As the new year started to roll around, I found myself thinking "What can I do this year that will actually be doable, given my recent injuries?"  I thought carefully about it, and finally came to a resolution.  I was going to stretch every morning that I had to go to work during 2009.  I am happy to say that the habit formed nicely, lasting far beyond 2009...but what made it successful?  I was very careful in how the goal was constructed.  For example, I was specific.  I said "every morning."  So, I had set myself a time frame.  Since I had to be to work at a certain time in the morning, the time frame was pretty specific.  It is also measurable.  You know, "How will I know when I've succeeded?"  Well, if I did it every day that I had to go to work that week, I succeeded for the week.  That's pretty simple.  The goal was attainable, meaning I could actually manage to DO it.  There is no point in setting  a goal that I can't actually meet.  By stating that I would do this every morning "that I have to go to work," I build in some hookie time.  I gave myself room for human error.  If I woke up Saturday morning, and didn't want to stretch, it was fine because I didn't have to go to work that day.  Now, truth be known, once I got into the habit, I found myself doing it 7 days a week, but that's not the point.  The point is that I was being realistic.  It also has a time frame attached to it.  If we don't give ourselves timelines, we frequently drag our feet and fail to deliver.

Little did I realize at the time, I had created what is known as a "SMART" goal.  Each letter in the word "SMART" stands for something that you need to consider when you create the goal.  If you look it up, you will find a few variations, but it basically goes like this:

S  is for Specific (no vague goals)
M is for Measurable (How will you know that you succeeded?)
A is for Attainable (Don't pick something that is totally out of reach)
R is for Realistic (Kind of like attainable, but it's more like "Will you really do this?")
T is for Timely (When will you do this?  For how long?  You know, attach a time frame.)

So, looking at my financial life, I know that I have several goals for 2017.  In general, I plan to have all of my private student loans paid off.  Then my partner and I will be doing some serious saving.  Right now, I am going to make a SMART goal for one of them.

I think I am going to be able to pay off the private student loan by June, but to be safe, I will say August.  I am going to make a payment toward  this goal in equal installments every payday (twice a month for my partner and I).  Unless something unforeseen happens, this will  easily have this goal met before the end of the summer.  Once that goal is almost complete, I will reevaluate and set a new goal.

What goal do you plan to set?


  1. Joyous to know about these financial goals and hope it will help me in finding right Las Vegas certified financial planners. Want to know many things about management of finances and need to find someone who is unbiased.

    1. Fabulous! Professional help is wonderful, but self-education is super important. No one will care more about your money than you will!