You have probably seen the “SMART” goal-setting acronym, which stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.  These principles apply well to our financial goals as well as other goals.  Here are some brief reminders to help keep you focused and SMART this year!

Specific: When setting a saving or investing goal, I suggest you specify a dollar amount or percentage of income that you want to save.  If your goal is to get out of debt, add it up to the penny so you know what you’re dealing with.

Measurable: Check in at intervals to keep track on your way to your goal.  In other words, pay attention, but there is probably no reason to look at your accounts daily, especially for longer-term goals.  Think of your long-term investment accounts as newly planted oak trees.  We don’t measure a tree’s growth in daily increments but rather over years.

Achievable: Focus on what you can do, like adding funds to a retirement account, even if it seems small at first.  Adding your “expected” future lottery winnings or inheritance to your retirement goal is probably not achievable.

Relevant: Comparing your net worth to others is NOT relevant.  While Mr. Musk and Mr. Bezos battle for the title of the wealthiest person in the solar system, that has nothing to do with you and your goals.

Time-Bound: By when do you want to achieve your goal?  Set a specific date, and then, when you achieve a goal on time, celebrate the accomplishment.  Time is of the essence, and it is fun to enjoy the miracles in our lives.  That’s called gratitude.

Here’s wishing you a year of Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound Success!