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Setting Financial Goals

Posted On: 2007-01-02
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Happy New Year and welcome to Money Girl's quick and dirty tips for a richer life.

Today's topic is setting financial goals. The beginning of the year is a great time to set goals, including your financial goals. Did you know that the vast majority of people have no written goals? Now who do you think is more likely to achieve their goals, someone who has just a vague idea of what their goals are, or someone who has put them clearly down in writing? Listen to this, in a 1979 survey of 1,000 graduating Harvard students, 84% of them had no particular defined goals. Thirteen percent of them had goals, but they weren't in writing. Only 3% of the students had written goals. Ten years later the very same students were surveyed again. The 13% who had goals but not in writing, earned, on average, twice as much as the students without a plan, but the 3% who had written goals earned, on average, 10 times more than the other 97% without written goals. Isn't that amazing? The moral of the story is to write down your goals. Writing down your goals radically increases your chances of achieving them. Besides writing your goals down, the second most important thing you can do is to share them with others. Sharing your goals with others reinforces them and creates accountability. It also gets others interested in seeing you reach your goals. So think about what you would like to achieve this year that involves money. What financial goals do you want to set for 2007? Maybe you want to increase your income or the amount you're investing for your kids college educations. Maybe you save for a vacation or buy an investment property. Maybe you want a higher return on your investments or to increase your net worth by a certain amount this year. Whatever your goals are, write them down. And when you write them down, it's really helpful to be specific. Instead of writing "I want to save more for retirement," write "I'm contributing 15% of my salary to my 401K for the entire duration of this year." Personally, Money Girl likes to keep quarterly, as well as yearly, and even some longer term goals. I carry my quarterly goals with me so I can look at them often, and I like to chart my progress as I go. Now that the start of 2007 is here, take a little time to reflect on what you want to accomplish financially this year, and write down goals that will help you achieve the outcome you want...

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