The first step toward taking control of your financial life is identifying your priorities and creating objectives. Ultimately, money is a tool that should be used to improve your life and support your goals. To begin the process of exploring your priorities in life, follow these steps:
1. Identify your life priorities
Everyone has dreams and goals that they want to accomplish in life. Perhaps you’re looking forward to a relaxing retirement or spending more time with your family. Maybe you dream of owning a beautiful home or putting your kids through college. Think carefully about the priorities that make you feel confident, comfortable, and excited about the future because these feelings will help you understand what matters most to you in life.
2. Create goals to support them
Once you understand what you want most out of life, the next step is to distill those thoughts into actual goals. Think about what it would take to make your goals a reality and write down short and intermediate steps. By being as explicit as possible, you make it much more likely that you will begin to take action to achieve them. For example, instead of saying that you’d like to be able to afford to take a dream vacation, make your goal actionable by saying: “In [Year], I want to travel to [Place] with my family for two weeks.” Crystallizing your thoughts will make it much easier to create strategies to achieve your goals.
3. Prioritize your goals
If you’re like most people, you might have a lot of short, intermediate, and long-term objectives. To accomplish your goals, you need to identify which ones are most important to you and put them at the front of the line. For some people, a comfortable retirement that gives them the freedom to enjoy life is a cherished dream. For others, paying their kids’ college expenses is equally or more important. If you don’t prioritize, you’re not likely to make progress toward any of them.
4. Get professional advice
Preparing for the future while living a comfortable lifestyle today is a serious challenge. Professional advice can help you understand where you are now and how to get where you want to go. We recommend working through the steps in this exercise with your spouse or loved ones and sharing your goals with a financial expert. Together, we can develop strategies to help you achieve your goals and create the life you want.