Saving for a Long-Term Goal
Larger, long-term financial goals such as buying a house or a new car require more commitment and focus. Whether you’re saving for a new home or an investment nest egg, set a clear, specific goal and break it down into manageable increments. Look for ways to stay motivated and focused along the way. Once you’ve achieved your goal, don’t forget to set another bigger goal to stay motivated.
1. Setting the Goal
The first step in any long-term goal, whether or not it’s financial, is to define the goal. Writing down the goal often helps. To set a realistic goal, you might need to do a bit of research, likeinvestigating mortgage rates or housing prices.
When you’re defining your goal, you should be specific, and give it a definite time frame for achievement. The success of a financial goal cannot be measured if it’s not specific and lacks a fixed time frame. Giving your goal specificity and a temporal element enables you to know when you’ve definitely achieved it.
2. Breaking it Down into Increments
Once you’ve defined your goal, break it down into increments. These maybe practical steps or milestones at different stages along the way to the final goal. These incremental steps act as guiding posts and practical steps that you need to take in order to reach the ultimate goal.
For example, you might be intending to save up for a $40,000 deposit on a house. You’ve decided to save over a 12-month period. With $16,000 already in your savings account, you’ll have to save $2,000 per month in the year to achieve your goal.
You can break this down further to saving $500 each week. As you’re saving with your partner, you’ll each need to put $250 into a shared account every week.
You can give your goal further detail by outlining what each of you will be cutting back on to achieve this goal. There are hundreds of little ways you can save more money in all areas of life. You couldreconsider your daily coffee and bought lunch, or investigate power companies offering a cheaper electricity price and switch to a better deal to save on your energy costs.
3. Staying Motivated
Everyone has different ways of staying motivated for their financial goals. For some people, it could involve daily affirmations. Others might review their goal on a weekly basis to stay motivated, and some people could find visual cues (such as a photo of your dream house on the fridge) to be excellent motivators. Find a motivating ritual that works for you and stick to it.
On a practical level, reduce temptations and make it easy to save. Little things like automated payments into your savings account on payday can eliminate temptations to spend more than you earn.
4. Post-Purchase Considerations
Do look ahead and plan for the post-purchase stage. There may be additional costs that you need to factor in once you achieve a purchase goal, such as mortgage repayments or car maintenance costs.
Additionally, whenyou’ve reached a particular goal, don’t forget to review and reframe your financial plans, budget goals or savingsgoals. Set another financial goal and redo your budget. This will keep you on track to achieve lifetime financial goals and ensure you continue to spend and save responsibly.