Your Financial Goals Should Drive Your Investing Strategy

by Hank Coleman

What are you financial goals? Do you want to save for an early retirement or start your own business? Do you want to travel around the world after you quick working, or do you want to save for your family’s dream vacation? Do you want to get out of debt, or do you want to put your little genius through Harvard? Those are all very admirable goals, but most people cannot answer the main question. What are your financial goals?

Your financial goals should flow right off the tip of your tongue. But, they don’t flow for a lot of people. Most people actually have not given the question serious consideration. And, that is a major problem because it should be the starting point for your entire investing strategy.

Having Trouble? Are you having trouble coming up with your dreams? That is okay. Don’t worry. Take some time and really think about them. Write your goals down. Talk to your spouse about both of your goals or talk to a loved one.

Why It Matters. Are you saving enough money? Are you taking too much risk with your investment portfolio? Are you taking too little risk? You will not even come close to knowing the answers to these questions without knowing the end before you start. You do not have to have the 100% solution, but you definitely need to know about 75% of it. Many people are scared to dream their goals because they know that they will change in the future. But, that is okay. Like changing your major in college, it is okay to change your life goals and dreams as you continue to grow and figure out what you want out of life and retirement. Do not let that stop you.

Write It Down. I like to list out my goals for the short term, middle range (3 to 5 years), and long term. Below is how I write out my own goals. I continually focus on them as well by having them written out and posted around the house. They make for a great focal piece right next to my six year-old’s latest art project!

Short Term:

1. Max out Roth IRAs

2. ___________

3. ___________

Mid-Range:

1. ­­­­­­­­­­Save for trip to 2012 Olympics

2. ___________

3. ___________

Long Term:

1. College for two kids

2. Start my own business

3. ___________

Measure Success. If you do not know the end goal, it will be next to impossible to judget how you are doing. How are you investments doing? Are you on the right path? Do you need to increase your savings? You will have more success the more specific you get. List actual dollar figures to help you keep your focus on your goals.

This is just an example of some of my financial goals. It is meant to be a starting point for you. Take this and run with it. I would love to hear some of your goals. Please feel free to leave a comment below…

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