Financial Goals – why are they important

Everyday all of us get up in the morning, go for work, some love their jobs some don’t, but irrespective, we all work for at-least five days in a week. Some do six. For some it is worse. For what?

I have realised that some of it has to do with living well today, but a larger part is about living well tomorrow, if you are lucky enough to see it.

Living in the moment is amazing, it is exciting. But if you kind-of survive this moment and the next and then the next, moments will turn into a day, days into a week, weeks into months, months into year, years into decades and there will come a time when you will have no idea what hit you!

Your child will be eighteen and raring to go to college and you may not have what her education would cost. Or you may never be able to retire because what will pay the bills? You may have a lot and yet not enough.

You would want to rewind and go back to that first moment and start saving. But then life does not work that ways, life is built on decisions and you may find yourself sitting on a heap of bad ones.

I myself was introduced to the concept of financial goals about an year ago. It was one of those concepts that are so obvious once known that you wonder why it took you so long. It also gives you perspective, it sure gave me mine.

For one, I could look down and see the heap of bad money decisions I was sitting on and realised why it hurt my back so much!

Financial Goals – The inevitable

Financial goals, in the lamest term, are the bigger life milestones that will inevitably be reached, if you continue to live.

Like retirement

There will come a time when you will either not want to work at all or work where the heart is without a worry about the money. It may come after twenty years or two, but it will. And you need to think, what after that?

Like your child’s education.

If you have a child, her education is a given. Whatever field the child decides to pursue, she will need money. If the child is a dropout, she will need money to do her own thing. If child decides to do nothing, she will need money to stay afloat till she learns that she will have to do something eventually. You get the drift right?

Financial Goals – The heart’s desire

Financial goals, are also your life goals. Things you know you would like to do to feel worthy, to feel happy, to feel successful, to be content but that will need some good money. Only good intent won’t work.

Like owning a house

If the dream is to own a house, to gift a house to your parents who have never had one, to gift a house to your kids because you never got any in inheritance or just to have a house you love, you need money. And lots of it.

Going Dhoom way and looting a bank is always an option, but let’s just say we want to stay civil.

Inheriting a lot of money is an option, but then, if your parents have that kind of money I doubt “house” will fall in a dream category for you. It may, I will stay away from judgements. Either way, unless owning a house is a dream, it may not be the best investment you make.

I will speak for my tribe. No-inheritance-no-money tribe. We need to plan for it, because as much as we would like, money ain’t growing on trees.

Like exotic vacations

Till about an year ago I thought yearly vacations was a big deal. And exotic ones were for the wealthy. Now I don’t. I know that with simple planning, I can actually ensure that I take annual vacation till my physical health allows me to. With my husband, then kids, then grandkids may be.

Vacation relaxes me, I love that I can do nothing when I am holiday-ing. I prefer short vacations and really start missing my home pretty soon. It is just one small part of a lifestyle I want to live. For some, it is their passion.

Either way, it needs money.

Like buying a car

So this is about ultra luxury cars okay. Because I don’t really see any sense in buying a regular car now. Too many options to book a cab – chauffeur driven or self.

But if I could buy a Mini Cooper, now that’s something! Or may be a Tesla (because I love Elon Musk and would love to own a small part of his quirkiness.)

Luxury has a price tag, and a fat one at that.  

Like taking a break to follow your passion

On this one, I have a lot of opinion! But here, I will stick to the context of financial goals.

You want to go on a year long world tour, do a chocolate tempering course, join an art school, retire to himalayas and write a book, become an actor, start a business, whatever be it. It is the most dearest of your heart’s desire.

It is one of those life milestones, an experience you know you need to live, to feel fulfilled, to feel worthwhile.

It will cost money. Even if the passion in itself can be pursued at no cost, you will need money to ensure that money is never a reason you have to quit your passion.

How I see financial goals

I think financial goals are for mental peace. For one, you actually say it out loud and get clarity on what you want to do with your money. Then you also realize if your aspirations is in line with your current capabilities or you need to do more.

Surprisingly, you also realize if you are doing more than required by compromising your present to the extent you don’t need to.

How? Will write on that soon!

Also, setting and achieving financial goals is not a secret recipe to a happy life. Life may throw you a curveball anytime. Financial goals will only ensure that you are not crippled by your finances to deal with it.

I should tell you my parents don’t quite agree to this approach. They say and I quote, “If we would have planned like this, we would have never did whatever we did with raising three kids, their education, wedding etc. You should just live your life, things fall in place eventually anyhow”.

May be they are right. They, off course, have been and are splendid as parents!

What I know is this. If we had planned for the “breaks” we took in our career, we may not have seen the days we had to see. I know we will never regret the breaks, but we will always regret that money took us away from our passion. That may probably be a reason why this goal approach appeals to me.

How about you ask your parents’ views on this? It will make for a very interesting discussion I tell you 😉

Also, how about sitting down and actually thinking why are you doing what you are doing with your money? Where do you want to reach? What do you intend to achieve? Do you know how much you need for all what you want? Will you get there by what you are doing?

Let me tell you wealth creation is also a goal. When rest of your goals are taken care of.

Now, try to answer below questions for all your goals.

  1. Name your goal
  2. What does it cost today?
  3. How much time do you have for it?
  4. How much do you need to keep aside to achieve it?
  5. Is what you are doing today going to hep you reach there?

It is not a five minute exercise. It is actually clearing your head about what you want from life.

Because the bigger purpose is to understand and realise that when you have it all, what would you do with your time. With money concerns taken care of.  

And if that prospect excites you, it is worth giving a thought.


Also published on Medium.

9 Comments

  1. You are writing all very relevant post. I don’t know about majority Indians, my family was very naive financially. We never were taught to plan this way. I realise it is important. But we never had the kind of money to make so much advance planning. To some extent we were limited by our imagination. We never dreamt of a dream holiday or a fancy car or a big house. I guess society has changed in a big way. When I went for my higher studies abroad, only thing in my mind was to get a good degree. But my dear friend made a force full argument that when I went abroad my parents must have thought of my potential earning potential. However, we were totally naive and never ever had any discussion.

  2. This topic is indeed debatable to the extent that everyone has a philosophy and an approach towards financial independence. For some less is more and vice versa.
    Needs are always few, it’s the desires that don’t let us sleep.
    Very aptly presented and explained.

    1. And they keep us going too! You are right, I saw a differing view within family. Everyone build their approach as they move ahead. Thank you for sharing your views 🙂

  3. I believe that the day one starts earning, they need to have their financial goals in place immediately. Short term and long term savings plans, investment options and consideration of landmark events like wedding, children need to be accounted for. Very informative post again.

    1. Thanks Sonia for sharing your thoughts on this. It would be ideal if youngsters were trained on money management before work. A lot of us learn on the way though.

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