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Aug 31, 2021

How to set #MoneyGoals

#MoneyGoals. We know you’ve got ‘em! Maybe your money goals are focused on the short-term... like paying for a class trip or a phone upgrade. Or mid-term… like a car or college (two of the most popular Savings Goals around Greenlight, by the way.) You might even have a vision of your adult life. It could be retiring from work when you’re young or buying your first home in your twenties. 

The upshot: #MoneyGoals are for now and later. Just like any goal, financial goals get you from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. That calls for an action plan. Setting goals takes practice, and there’s a well-known strategy that helps make goals effective. And successful. Ready to try it out? Let’s get S.M.A.R.T.

S (Specific)

Once you have your goal set, begin to narrow it down and think about the details of how you’ll reach it. You’ll answer all the important questions like who, what, when and where. 

Let’s say your goal is to pay for your class trip to New York City. Nice! But let’s make it specific. Instead, it could be "Save $10 of allowance each week for 25 weeks — to pay for $250 owed for class trip to NYC."

M (Measurable)

Break the goal down into steps along the way. This makes it feel manageable and also helps you measure progress. If it’s measurable, you have a much better chance of getting from here to there.

Let’s use a car as an example. You probably already know that the price tag on a car isn’t cheap, no matter its age or model. Take your overall goal. We'll use $6,000 as an example. 

  1. Decide when you want to reach that goal. Let's say 3 years from now.

  2. Quick math! $6,000/3 = $2,000 saved every year. 

  3. Break it into smaller chunks to reach over time. We'll go with every three months. Divide $2,000 by 4 to get $500 every milestone.

It’s one overall goal (your first set of keys!) but a series of successes that get you there. It’s $500 each step of the way. That’s measurable.  

A (Achievable)

The goal has to be realistic. You don’t want it to be too easy, but you don’t want it to be hard either. 

It’s definitely not realistic to expect to save more than you’re earning. But what you can do is look at what you can change. Maybe it’s finding new ways to earn money. Or thinking about what you want to achieve in the future, after you get your first job. 

Key takeaway: Just because something may not seem possible now doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it happen in the long run.

R (Relevant)

Make sure your goal is important to you and that it’s moving you toward your long-term vision. Always match your effort to what means the most to you when spending your money and your time.

If it’s your dream to start building wealth while you’re young, maybe a car of your own in high school isn’t what you want. Hmm, if you didn’t contribute another penny to your car savings but invested it instead, how could that money grow? At 8% interest over 10 years, $6,000 could grow to nearly $13,000 before taxes and inflation. That’s more than double! Read on about investing.

T (Time-bound)

When do you want to achieve your goal? Set a deadline to help you stay motivated and meet all your steps along the way.

It’s nice to think about some day. But if you want that day to actually arrive some day, it’s better to put a date on it. Maybe you want to graduate from higher education without any student loan debt. Or take a year-long trip around the world before graduate school. What’s your S.M.A.R.T. goal?

Now what?

We’ll let you in on a little secret — we’ve got a goal for you, too. And that’s for you to grow up to be financially healthy. Achieving financial security your whole life and building long-term wealth. You’ve got this. Cast your #MoneyGoals. Greenlight can help you make it a reality, and here's how you can cash in on Greenlight's newest Savings Boosts.

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