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Meeting personal and lifestyle goals

Goals-based investing is an approach which aims to help people meet their personal and lifestyle goals, whatever they may be. If you do not know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? This is very true about financial goals.

You need to set financial goals to help you make wise financial decisions, and also as a reward for your efforts. Goals should be clear, concise, detailed and written down. Unwritten goals are just wishes.

Goals might be to maintain your same standard of living (planning for retirement, or in the case of an entrepreneur, anticipating the sale of his business), buying property, paying for children or grandchildren’s education, passing on a proportion of your wealth, making charitable donations, covering unplanned financial needs, etc. Each of these goals will make up a specific portfolio.

But in order to achieve all of your goals, you will need a plan. Starting from assets you already have available, you will need to determine how much more you need to accumulate and when you will need it.

Don’t neglect to consider that the price of your goal items might actually increase as well. Depending upon how you invest your savings over time, you might receive interest, dividends or capital gains to help you along – you should consider this as well.

Specific
Your financial and personal goals need to be as specific as possible, because otherwise they won’t give you enough direction to follow through. Look at your goals like a lamp lighting the way – the brighter the light, the clearer the road ahead. If you don’t have clearly defined goals, you procrastinate. Think about your life and what you want to achieve, and what action you need to take to achieve the outcomes you want.

Measurable
Give yourself realistic deadlines. Adding specific dates, amounts, etc. makes your progress quantifiable to complete your goal and visualise a finish line.

Attainable
Be honest with yourself and set realistic goals. Decide what you want to accomplish. So, start with the goals that are highest on your priority list. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, so start simple.

Relevant
Align your goals with the direction you want your life to take. Balancing the alignment between long term and short term will give you the focus you’ll need.

Time-bound
Having a finish line will mean you’ll get to celebrate when you accomplish your goal. Having set deadlines gives you a sense of urgency that is lacking when goals are open-ended.

Setting realistic goals
Each goal will be assigned an amount, an investment period, a level of risk and an order of priority. Do you have the means to make additional investments necessary to accumulate the required assets to achieve your goals? Don’t neglect to consider the effects of taxes on your savings and investments.

After considering the foregoing, you might determine that you can achieve some goals in less time. Or you might find that it could take longer. The time horizon is important to setting realistic goals.