It’s the new year, which means we have a fresh start. Our slate is wiped clean, and the world is our oyster. With renewed energy and enthusiasm, it’s time to go after our money goals. Although I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions or vision boards, I take goal setting seriously, both in my personal and professional life. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or unsure which direction to take this year, this podcast episode offers lots of examples of short-term financial goals you can tackle this year.
Listen to the podcast episode here.
Throughout this podcast episode, we’ll cover:
- What are financial goals?
- Why are financial goals important?
- Why is goal setting important?
- Types of financial goals
- Examples of short-term financial goals
If you want to learn more about my philosophy, I break down how to set yourself up for financial success by goal setting. I share how it’s important to connect emotionally to your money goals and how your goals should stretch you but not break your spirit.
Listen to the podcast episode here.
What is a Financial Goal?
A financial goal is a milestone or objective you’d like to accomplish with your finances. That can include paying off debt, investing in the stock market, saving for vacations, or saving money for emergencies.
I’ve found the most success when my financial goals are tied to my wants, needs, and deepest desires.
While a financial goal states what you’d like to accomplish, you still have to take action to achieve those goals.
Financial goals evolve
When setting financial goals, remember to consider lifestyle and responsibility changes.
In 2022, I had a baby. I quit my job to work for myself the year prior, so life looks very different than it did five years ago or even a year ago.
Also, while many people set new money goals in the new year, consider revisiting them periodically and assess if they still make sense.
You can change your mind. Your goals will evolve.
Nothing in life is set in stone, and your personal finance goals shouldn’t be either.
Why is Goal Setting Important?
Goal setting allows us to visualize and create our future.
It helps us assess where we are now and determine where we want to be.
Starting with what you want to achieve or what you want out of life is a great way to find clarity.
Having goals also helps us be decisive. We get to decide what we want to focus our energy on, how we want to show up in the world, and who we want to be in the future.
Goal setting is important because it keeps us on track and helps us define and achieve success.
Types of Financial Goals
There are three types of financial goals: short-term financial goals, mid-term financial goals, and long-term financial goals.
Accomplish short-term financial goals within 12 months.
Short-term goals are often milestones or stepping stones to a much larger goal. But they can also stand alone.
Short-term financial goals typically focus on budgeting, saving, and paying off debt.
Mid-term financial goals are set for a 1-3 year timeframe, while long-term money goals have a 3+ year time horizon.
Long-term financial goals focus on retirement planning, wealth building, and financial freedom.
For non-time-bound money goals, One Big Happy Life has a great video on how to set better financial goals with (4) other types of financial goals.
20 Short-Term Financial Goals (and Money Goals Examples)
Here are 20 examples of financial goals you can set right now. Many of these yearly goals I have accomplished myself.
1. Save for a house
A home provides shelter but can also be a wealth-building tool.
If you have your sights set on purchasing a home, saving for a house may be a great short-term, long-term, or even mid-term money goal, depending on your circumstances and the timeline for purchase.
Listen to Episode 103 for common types of mortgages and what homeowners should know about them.
2. Home renovation
Are you overdue for a home makeover?
Do you want to remodel your bathroom, boost curve appeal with a new walkway or purchase new furniture?
Set savings goals for upcoming home renovations and furniture.
Listen to episode 104 for the (3) bank accounts aspiring homeowners should have to better manage their finances, including a mortgage fund, a home renovation fund, and a separate bank account for home emergencies.
3. Save for an investment property
Want to earn semi or passive income monthly? As a landlord, this is possible with rental properties.
4. Save for a vacation
Not every money goal you set has to be super serious. Spice things up by having a healthy mix of fun goals like saving for a vacation, memorable experiences, or hobbies.
If you want to go on a romantic honeymoon, backpack around the world for a year, or whisk your mom away on a mother-daughter getaway, saving for vacations is a good money goal to set.
Make travel part of your lifestyle by reading Affording Travel Saving Strategies For Financially Savvy Travelers. In this book, I break down step-by-step how to make travel a financial priority.
Want to take an adult gap year, a year off from work to rest and travel? Stephanie Perry walks us through how she funded and planned an adult gap year in Episode 49.
5. Save for a car downpayment
In the United States, the average new car costs $48,000, while luxury cars cost $67,000.
The general recommendation is to save for a downpayment between 10% to 20% of the vehicle price.
Paying off your car loan may be another short-term financial goal or mid-term goal.
6. Boost emergency savings
Preparing for the unexpected is necessary, especially in today’s economic environment.
Prepare for unexpected or unplanned emergencies like a job loss, disability, natural disasters, broken appliances, or a pricey car repair by building an emergency fund.
Money experts recommend saving 3-6 months of living expenses but if you’re an entrepreneur, consider saving 12+ months of household expenses.
Also, if a recession hits, you’ll be prepared – here’s how to financially prepare for a recession.
7. Max out retirement accounts
Max out or increase contributions to retirement accounts like a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or 401(k).
In 2023, the maximum you can contribute to a Roth IRA is $6,500 ($7,500 if age 50 and older), which equates to $542 per month.
Employee 401(k) contributions for 2023 are $22,500 — a $2,000 increase from the $20,500 cap for 2022.
At a minimum, meet your employer’s 401(k) match requirements because this is literally free money.
Check your employer’s policy to know exactly how it works; each 401(k) plan is different.
For my previous employer, as long as I contributed 6% of my annual income, I was eligible for a 6% retirement match.
In episode 77, Jay breakdowns down the order to prioritize investing and why getting a company match is the first step on the investing ladder.
8. Buy a course or attend a conference
Thanks to Google, YouTube, blogs, and podcasts, there are many ways to learn for free online. However, free content isn’t usually offered in a step-by-step format.
Investing in courses, coaching, or attending conferences and workshops provide guidance and direction to get quicker results with less guesswork.
To determine what to invest in, here are some questions to ask:
- What do you want to learn?
- What skills do you want to improve?
- Who is teaching these skills?
- How much do their programs cost?
For example, as a podcast marketing coach, I help my 1:1 podcast coaching clients grow their audiences and authority in their niche. I provide feedback, offer guidance and accountability, and share step-by-step strategies so they can reach their goals. Learn more about my podcast marketing coaching program.
9. Saving for parental leave
Have plans of starting or expanding your family?
Taking time off to recover, be with your baby, or finalize the adoption process, can be financially stressful if you aren’t prepared.
As an entrepreneur, our family saved months of living expenses to take time off to be with our son for 3-4 months.
Even if you work for an employer, you may want to take unpaid leave to extend your parental leave. The same can be said for taking time off to care for a sick loved one.
For these types of life events, saving for parental leave is helpful.
10. Pay off debt
Credit card debt, hospital bills, personal loans, and student loans can all get in the way of you living your best life.
Free up all your debts and remove the weight off your shoulders. Shuffle that money into other areas of your life like travel, investing for retirement, or savings.
Reducing your debt (or liabilities) will also increase your net worth.
Listen to this podcast episode where Bianca Alba from This Latina Travels shares how she became debt free and ways moving to Puerto Rico improved her financial situation.
11. Save for gifts
Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, gathering for Thanksgiving, Christmas gifts, and New Year’s celebrations, the holidays are one of the most expensive times of the year.
Plan for it by saving for Christmas gifts, anniversaries, birthday parties, and other celebrations.
12. Create a will
What would you like to happen to your possessions and wealth after you pass away? Who would you like to care for your children, dependents, or pets?
By creating a will, your loved ones will know how to distribute your assets and who manages the distribution process.
If you already have an updated will, consider enrolling in life insurance.
In this video, Acquania Escarne, a life insurance agent and the founder of The Purpose of Money, shares how to protect families with life insurance.
13. Increase savings rate
While saving a particular dollar amount can be one financial goal, an alternative is increasing your savings rate, which is the percentage of savings compared to your total income.
If you are pursuing Financial Independence (FI), increasing your savings rate will speed up your timeline, helping you reach FI or Coast FI faster.
14. Give to charity
If donating to your favorite causes and charitable organizations or tithing at church is important, add this to your list of financial goals.
15. Improve credit score
Credit impacts many aspects of our lives, from the ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or get a new credit card.
A good money goal to set can be improving your credit score.
Here are some practical ways you can improve your credit score:
- Pay bills on time.
- Reduce credit card spending, which decreases the utilization rate.
- Fix issues on your credit report.
16. Make extra mortgage payments
Have dreams of being mortgage free one day?
Did you know biweekly mortgage payments can help you pay your mortgage faster.
Or that you can save on interest while reducing your repayment period by simply adding a little extra to each mortgage payment. Rounding up to the nearest $100 and making one additional payment a year are other options.
These simple strategies have helped me pay off close to $50,000 of my mortgage in five years.
17. Negotiate a raise
Boost your earning potential by asking for a raise.
Make a case for why you deserve a raise or promotion, and showcase your work with tangible examples and results.
If your requests are denied, how will you proceed? Will you stay and try again later, or will you look for a higher-paying job?
If you are open to new career possibilities, update your resume and network on LinkedIn.
18. Read one money book a month
Improve your finances or expand your horizon by joining a reading challenge where you read one new personal finance book per month. Topics range from budgeting, investing, financial independence, marriage and money, and much more.
Some popular personal finance books include:
- Get Good With Money by Tiffany Aliche
- We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers
- You’re a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Our Money Stories by Eugenié George
- Affording Travel Saving Strategies For Financially Savvy Travelers by Danielle Desir Corbett (me!!!)
19. Start investing
Investing in the stock market is one way to build wealth. With different types of assets at your disposal, you can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), or crypto.
Check out my entire investing series for beginners:
- Are you a short-term or long-term investor?
- How to pick good companies to invest in
- Best stock research tools
- Common investment terms to know
20. Start a side hustle
Long are the days of pursuing one income stream. Out of necessity, side hustles are the norm.
Some start a side hustle to improve their financial situation, while others turn a hobby into a thriving business.
Side hustles have helped me get out of debt, stay out of debt and go full-time in my business as a creator and podcast coach.
In episode 72, Daniella Flores shares how to create a lucrative side hustle, ways to manage all of your income streams, and how side hustling helped her take back control of her life, career, and future.
Now that you have a good idea of which financial goals you’d like to pursue, write these goals down on paper. Research has found that writing down goals produces better results.
Next, set target amounts for each short-term money goal and identify action steps, especially the first step to take so you can start off strong!
Listen to the podcast episode on Spotify.
Read Next: Why Budgeting is Important
Have more goal setting ideas? What are your short-term financial goals?
Danielle Desir Corbett paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries, including her favorites, Iceland, China, and Bermuda. Go here to learn Danielle’s incredible story, from struggling financially and in debt to finding creative ways to earn more and live on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast, where Danielle shares how you can creatively travel more and build wealth regardless of your current financial situation. Reach out to Danielle by contacting: thethoughtcard (at) gmail (dot) com.