You’ve read up on them and you know you should have them. Heck, you might even have some written down somewhere or taped to your refrigerator at home.
But the big question remains… are they the right financial goals?
While our goals should be designed so that they’re individualized for our needs, there just seems to be too much contradicting information out there when it comes to forming the right financial goals.
With limited attention spans (And endless amounts of finance content), chasing the wrong financial goal(s) can not only derail your progress, but it can impact your finances long term.
Which is why I decided to ask 18 of the top money experts what their thoughts were when it came to deciding on the best money goals.
Here is what they had to say…
Financial Goals: 18 Money Experts Weigh In
Table of Contents
No Matter What, Save For Retirement
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Seven Figure Blogger at Making Sense of Cents
I think the best money goal a person can have is to save for retirement.”
-MICHELLE FROM MAKING SENSE OF CENTS
Yes, retirement can vary depending on the person, but I recommend saving for it at least in some form so that you can prepare for your future.
Whether you want to retire extremely early or later in life, saving for retirement is 99.9999% of the time a goal that everyone should have. Learning how to invest and save for retirement doesn’t have to be hard – everyone has to start somewhere.
Spend Less Than You Make.
Andrew Schrage – Founder & CEO of Money Crashers
One of the best money goals someone should have is to spend less than you make.
It’s pretty simple, yet lots of people can’t seem to get there. However, there are a variety of budgeting methods to achieve it.
One is to get on a personal budget and make sure that expenses never exceed income on a monthly basis. What’s good about that strategy is that you have flexibility.
For example, if you needed to spend an extra $200 on groceries one month because you had a family get together, you can simply cut out $200 worth of spending from your entertainment budget.
As a companion point, adopt the mindset that if you cannot afford to pay off a credit card purchase on time and in full, then you just can’t afford it. You should instead save your money until you can.
Additionally, another great money goal to have is to always be mindful of and look for ways to improve your credit score in any way that you can.
The reason why this is a great goal is that a great credit score will have far-reaching positive effects on your overall financial picture, and a bad credit score can hurt you in just as many ways.
How do you reach that goal?
Once again, there are plenty of options and strategies. Check your credit report in a timely fashion, look for errors, and get them fixed.
Don’t close unused credit cards because that lowers your score. Instead, use those for a few minor purchases each month and be sure to pay off the balance. Set a longer-term goal of getting entirely out of credit card debt, which also boosts your score.
Lastly, be sure to pay your monthly bills on time and in full. Lots of people don’t know this, but not doing this affects your credit score.
Do not open up too many new credit cards at once, and be sure to look at the individual spending limits on all credit cards.
Make 5x More Than You Spend.
Jeff Proctor, Co-Founder of Dollar Sprout
In my opinion, the most important “big picture” financial goal that someone should have is to get to a point where their income is significantly higher than their expenses.
How much higher?
I would aim for 3-5x… The higher the better.
If you can get to this point, most other financial problems (ie, debt) tend to solve themselves. There are only two levers you can pull to get to this point:
- Earn more
- Spend less
Reducing expenses will only get you so far, which is why I recommend tackling both sides of the equation.
There are unlimited opportunities out there to increase your income; it’s just a matter of finding the right outlet that combines your skills and passions. For some people, that might mean doing freelance work. For others, it might mean starting their very own business on the side.
I think people tend to underestimate their own ability to earn money. Your salary or wage at your day job is just the starting point – go out there and seize more earning opportunities!
Master Your Cashflow
Douglas Boneparth, Author of Millennial Money Fix & Financial Planner
Boneparth, author of Millennial Money Fix and one of the top financial planners in NYC said it this way when comes to spending:
Master your cash flow.”
Intimately know how money comes in and out of your life — track 12 months of your living expenses by categorizing them. Then, create a budget around your cash flow.
Money is Time.
Kelan & Brittany Kline, Six Figure Bloggers at The Savvy Couple
Both my answers talk about the same idea of creating more time in your life, not money.
First, focus on increasing your EHR (effective hourly rate).
After reading the book Work Less Make More I became addicted to figuring out how to increase my EHR. Just a year ago I started at around $20/hour with our online business.
Now I am regularly at $200+/hour implementing some of the tactics and strategies from Work Less Make More. Whether you have a regular 9-5 job, own a business, or are a stay at home mom trying to help support the family financially increasing your EHR should be your #1 focus.
The more money you can make in an hour the fewer hours you are forced to work. One of the reasons we are HUGE fans of starting an online business or side hustle.