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It can be easy to feel like you need to achieve all your financial goals at the same time — maxing out your retirement contributions, paying off thousands of dollars in debt, saving for a house, saving for your kids’ college tuition, purchasing a car and more. That list can be overwhelming to even start thinking about.
In some cases, it might even be necessary to work on more than one goal at the same time. For example, most financial experts nowadays recommend paying down debt and investing money simultaneously.
This can feel daunting and sometimes even impossible. But taking a few small steps can help you get clear on which goals to work toward and how to begin managing them all effectively.
Make sure your goals are attainable
Select previously spoke with Mint CFP Brittney Castro who explained the importance of making sure that the financial goals you set aren’t too extreme. According to Castro, when your goals are too extreme and you’re going in with an “all or nothing” mindset, you essentially set yourself up to fail because you don’t account for all the “gray” areas of life that may pop up.
For example, if your goal is to save $500 a month, but you haven’t even started saving $50 a month, it will be very hard to take the necessary steps to make sure you have room to make it to $500 each month.
Plus, when you’re too extreme with your goals, it makes balancing everything feel so much harder than it needs to be.
Setting more attainable goals starts with taking a look at your spending plan or budget so you know how much room you actually have to progress toward each goal. You can use an app like Mint, which allows you to connect your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts and other financial accounts so the app can automatically categorize your transactions. This gives you a low-lift way to figure out where your money is going each month.
Or you might gravitate more toward software like You Need A Budget (better known as YNAB) for a zero-based budgeting approach.
Prioritize your needs and wants
Prioritizing your goals can help you feel confident that you’re taking the necessary steps at this time. Imagine putting a ton of energy behind one goal all year only to realize that it would’ve been more prudent to put some of …….