Midlife is a wonderful opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to dust off those dreams and great aspirations and turn them into meaningful financial goals. However, even though you may know the lifestyle you want to create, without knowing where you stand financially now and how to get there, it’s going to be challenging to make them happen. When mapping out your future, creating a concrete plan for your dreams and defining your targets are critical.
Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific
While it sounds simple enough, writing down the dreams you want to achieve is the starting point to making them a reality. Take out your favourite journal and write down your top 5. In this way, reaching specific goals may become more predictable. Without making them specific, they will continue to stay wishes. Now is your opportunity to make them achievable.
Short-Term, Mid-Term, and Long-Term Dreams
Financial goals are savings, investment or spending targets you hope to achieve over a set period of time. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your dreams by short-term, mid-term, and long-term in order. By managing your time wisely through careful planning, you will make sure that it is spent efficiently and you can ultimately reach your goals. B
Short-term dreams and goals can be defined as something you’d like to accomplish within the next year. For example, if your short-term dream has always been to plant an English garden in your yard or outdoor space, what will it take financially to see this come to fruition? Depending on what time of year you’re beginning, here’s how that might look.
Dream: Plant an English Garden
Start Date: April 15
Target Date: September 30
Total Cost: 2,000 £
Monthly Savings: 600 £
How to Achieve it: Create a separate savings fund.
Immediate Action Required: Research plants, soil, and other requirements necessary.
Values Achieved: Beauty in the yard.
The time-frame for mid-term dreams is anywhere from two to five years. If your dream has always been a get-away summer home or villa, saving up for the deposit would be a mid-term goal.
Dream: Summer Home by the sea
Start Date: April 1, 2021
Target Date: December 30, 2026 (or sooner)
Total Cost: While the amount of a down payment will vary, it is usually 10% to 20% of the home price.
Monthly Savings: 800 £
How to Achieve it: Set up automatic savings each month.
Immediate Action Required: Open a separate home account.
Values Achieved: Holiday serenity.
A long-term dream is something you’d like to accomplish that would typically take five years and beyond, such as financial independence. If you have shorter and mid-term dreams to accomplish, this will probably take longer than five years, depending on your situation.
There are various factors involved, such as being free of debt, owning your home outright, and having enough consistent income coming in every month to sustain your unique lifestyle. This will be different for everyone, and here’s one example of how that might look.
Dream: Financially independent by age 70
Start Date: April 1, 2021
Target Date: December 30, 2031
Total Cost: 30,000 £
Monthly Savings: 300 £ to pay off credit cards; 100 £ extra to pay off the mortgage
How to Achieve: Set up automatic savings each month.
Immediate Action Required: Do not take on new debt; review income options; research methods of debt reduction (snowball, avalanche, or a hybrid of the two)
Values Achieved: Security
For any dream to be achievable, it must first be clear and definite. The key is to stay in the doing mode and not leave anything to chance. Instead, schedule the work necessary into a real calendar. Whether you prefer a written or digital one, you need to plan everything with reminders to not miss a single day or week due to losing track of your schedule.
Take Daily Action
Look at your calendar every morning and follow through on the criteria you’ve set for yourself to get things done. Did you set up the automatic savings? How about the research for the immediate action necessary? Remember, every small financial step completed is one bigger step toward your dream. There is nothing else that can result from daily activities other than success when you think of it this way.
Review Twice Monthly, Quarterly, and Annually
Finally, review the financial steps twice monthly, quarterly, and annually. The real secret is in doing one step at a time, moving in the direction of the map that you’ve planned out for yourself, you will get to the end, and you will be a success. As you make progress, allocate time each year to make sure you think about what you want to achieve with your money.
Accountability and Tools to Help
Whatever you are dreaming of, make sure to write down the following as you go through the process.
- Why are these dreams and goals important to me?
- When I achieve these dreams, what will be different in my life?
- What strategies will help me reach these goals?
- What milestones can I set to keep myself on target?
Reaching your goals is just a matter of getting specific and creating an actionable financial plan and steps to make them happen. You can start today. The life you crave is out there, waiting for you.