According to Jonathon D. Pond, a recipient of the Malcolm Forbes Public Awareness Award for Excellence in Advancing Financial Understanding and a recipient of an Emmy for a TV series on economics in the 21st century, financial security should be your primary goal. According to Pond, author of "Your Money Matters" and "Safe Money in Tough Times," you must live beneath your means before as well as after retirement, in order to achieve financial security.
Your financial stability is based on clearly defined goals. Your financial goals are what you want to achieve with your money in a given time frame. Common financial goals include saving more money regularly, paying off debt, attaining proper insurance coverage, buying a home, going back to school or taking a vacation.
Be specific about your goals by writing them down in detail. Reevaluate your list as needed to accommodate your changing needs. For instance, if you recently had a child, you may wish to include saving for that child's education.
Prioritize Your Financial Goals
Prioritize your financial goals by deciding what's most important to you. Some goals take much longer to reach than others. Categorize your goals by deciding if they are short-term goals, intermediate goals or long-term goals. Your short-term and intermediate goals may pave the way to fulfilling your longer-range goals.
Your short-term goals should be reached within the next two years. These goals may include paying off smaller debts, saving a certain amount of money for a desired purchase, or taking a vacation.
Your intermediate goals should be attained in two to five years. These goals may include achieving a college degree, having a child, or buying a new car or piece of equipment.
Your long-range goals will take you more than five years to achieve. These goals may include paying off a mortgage, paying off student loans, or paying for your child's college education or future wedding.
Cultivate Discipline and Money Managment Skills
According to McGraw-Hill.com, an online learning center, many Americans do not achieve financial stability in one of the richest countries in the world. This is attributed to poor money management habits, the misuse of credit, and the availability and abundance of consumer goods that are media endorsed. Your must discipline your spending and saving in order to make your financial goals a reality.
Make a Schedule
Schedule when you plan to achieve your short-term, intermediate, and long-term goals. Be realistic about your goals. Don't give up if your goals take you longer to achieve than you had first anticipated. For example, if your goal is to save $10,000 for a personal emergency savings fund in three years, don't give up if it actually takes you four or five years to reach that goal.
Do Your Math
Use online calculator websites like collegeboard.com (click "Pay for College" after initially logging onto the website as either a parent or a student), or practicalmoneyskills.com, to estimate the cost of achieving certain financial goals. Additional websites that offer tools for you to manage your money are choosetosave.org and bankrate.com.
Tracy Stefan began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performing arts from the Evergreen State College. Stefan is also a graduate of Dell'Arte.