If you speak to a financial adviser, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Do you want to expand your investment portfolio? Get on the property ladder? Maximise your income in retirement? Pass on a generous inheritance to your loved ones?
All these are laudable ambitions that a financial adviser can help you work towards, but when you’re setting goals, it’s really important to look beyond the headline, so you can plot the route to your destination. You can do this by setting SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that can help you set clear, defined goals, and identify what steps you need to take to achieve them.
Specific: Instead of saying, for example, “I want to retire early”, say “I want to retire at the age of 50”. Or instead of “I want to save more money”, say “I want to save an extra £500 a month”. By putting a definite figure on it, you can have a tangible goal in sight, rather than some abstract ambition that you can’t pin down.
Measurable: You need to monitor certain metrics so you can see if you’re on course to achieve your goal, identify if you need to change your strategy, and say when you’ve reached the finish line.
Achievable: Be realistic. While there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, ultimately, your goal has to be something that you can feasibly accomplish.
Relevant: Does your goal align with your wider lifestyle and financial objectives?
Timely: Set a date for when you want to achieve your goal.
Stay focused and motivated. Without clear, tangible, realistic aims and firm deadlines, it can be easy to lose focus and motivation, and become frustrated when you don’t feel you’re seeing any results or returns. But by setting SMART goals, you can keep a firm eye on your target and take practical courses of action to get there. You’ll also be able to see when you hit certain milestones, which can give you the added impetus to stay on your course, and belief that you’ll get to where you want to go.
It has to be acknowledged, however, that it can be disheartening and dispiriting if you feel that working towards an objective is hard work and leaving you drained. With that in mind, it’s well worth taking steps to make the journey as simple as you can. For instance, if you have a savings objective, why not set up automated payments into your savings account, so you don’t have to lift a finger?
And if you ever feel daunted or unsure, remember your financial planner will be at your side; giving you the information, guidance and support you need to reach your goals. That can really take the pressure off and give you the added confidence you need to know that you’re taking the right course of action.
If you have any questions about setting financial goals and how you can work towards them, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. Information within this article does not provide individual tailored investment advice and is for guidance only. We cannot assume legal liability for any errors or omissions it might contain. Ethical Futures llp is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.