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How to set financial goals and achieve them

Is it possible for the process of saving and paying off debt to be fun and rewarding in its own right? You betcha! Use the power of visualisation to turn financial goals into reality and build good financial habits while learning how to set financial goals and achieve them.

Five tips to help you make good financial habits and set financial goals

These five visualisation tools, including a free financial goal setting template, will help you move towards good financial habits and financial goals with confidence and clarity.

1. Create a vision board

One of the challenges when figuring out how to set financial goals and achieve them is that they can sometimes feel far away and kind of abstract. A 25 to 34-year-old couple, for instance, earning average Sydney incomes would need to save for six-and-a-half years for a 20 percent house deposit. How do you stay motivated in the meantime?

A vision board can be a great solution to start forming ideas and building good financial habits. Typically created on a pinboard, you create a vision of your future life with pictures, words, and other items. You might include clippings of your next holiday destination, the floorplan of your dream home, a photo of your favourite band or the logo of the school you want to send your kids to—whatever images that convey a picture of your desired life.

A vision board collage with different images that represent a person’s 5 year goals.

Source: Pinterest

“If you’re wondering where to put your vision board,” says personal finance expert and MyBudget founder Tammy Barton, “I’ve encouraged my teenage kids to put them on the back of their bedroom doors. They get a daily reminder of what they’re working towards whenever the door is closed.”

Tammy’s other advice is to make sure your budget includes a mix of big and small financial goals.

“Saving for a house, new car or big overseas holiday is great. But you also want to enjoy life along the way,” says Tammy. “Setting aside money for date nights, concert tickets and weekends away can keep you motivated while you work towards your longer term goals.”

2. Create a top 5 goals list

Most people have more than one financial goal. For example, you may want to try saving and paying off debt on your credit card, renovating your home, buying a new mattress, saving for a holiday, building up your emergency fund and start putting aside Christmas presents.

These are all great financial goals! The question is: in what order will you tackle them? All at once? Too many goals can result in achieving no goals at all.

Tammy’s advice is to work out your ‘WIG’ first. WIG stands for Wildly Important Goal. This is the goal that trumps all other goals.

“In my experience of helping people with their finances,” says Tammy, “I’ve discovered that most people’s Wildly Important Goal is the one that relieves the most amount of stress. For example, paying back a debt you owe to a friend or replacing the gearbox in your car. They bring a sense of security or relief or accomplishment, and then on to your next WIG”​

A pink background and 5 white lines with the text: “My top 5 financial goals:”

Download our top 5 financial goal setting template for free

The idea is to put your Wildly Important Goal in position one and then your next four goals in order of priority below. Keep this list somewhere you can see it daily – as the wallpaper on your phone, pinned to your bathroom mirror, stuck on the fridge, glued in your diary, etc.

3. Colour your goal milestones

Do you have a big goal you’re working towards? Perhaps a debt you want to pay off or a goal you’re saving for? To stay motivated, divide it into bite size chunks with a visual tracker.

Colour the sections as you achieve them or write down your payments or deposits as you go. The idea behind this approach is to celebrate incremental progress and to stay accountable to your final destination.​

how to set financial goals and achieve them: An animated money jar filled with coins is used as a saving tracker. There’s a ‘goal’ amount, a ‘saving’ amount, as well as columns for both ‘date’ and ‘amount’ to help MyBudget clients track their savings journey

Download our Visual Financial Goal Tracker for free

This is great if you’re looking for a fun way to learn how to set financial goals and achieve them. If mindful colouring books have taught us anything, it’s that adults get as much out of these visual-tactile activities as kids. So, don’t hold back. Use colourful textas, pencils, stickers or any other devices that are fun for you.

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4. Gamify good financial habits

A powerful way to make achieving a financial goal easier is to turn it into a game. Gamification works by showing a clear path to victory (what winning looks like) along with the desired behaviors to get there (what you need to do).

When your local café stamps your coffee card, that’s gamification. When you review your Uber driver based on characteristics set by Uber, that’s gamification too. These approaches drive desired behaviours and help set good financial habits. That’s why you should reward your own positive behaviours like saving and paying off debt, or finding budget-friendly ways to meet your needs.​

how to set financial goals and achieve them: MyBudget’s financial fitness bingo to help clients track their financial fitness.

Download our Financial Fitness Bingo Card now

Tammy’s advice is to create a system to support your goals. “Ask yourself what habits or actions you need to put in place to be successful. You might find that taking your lunch saves an extra $50 a week or that opening a separate bank account stops you from accidentally spending your savings.”

5. Use the MyBudget App

Instead of working hard to try and figure out how to set financial goals and achieve them, why not automate your financial goals? Imagine, just by pulling your phone out of your pocket, you could see your exact financial position and future outlook, with all your bills, expenses, savings and goals mapped out for you.

Whenever you make a change to your budget, see your short and long-term projections change before your eyes. Don’t worry about setting aside savings or paying off debt manually – it’s done for you, directly from your budget. ​

A screenshot of the MyBudget app

This is not the future – this is what you get with MyBudget right now! Along with caring experts to do the heavy lifting, it’s the secret behind why MyBudget clients are so successful at achieving their financial goals, and saving and paying off debt.

Whatever your money goals, there is a MyBudget solution to help you reach them.

Ready to find out more? Call 1300 300 922 to book your free budget consultation or enquire online.

Ready to find out more?

Call 1300 300 922 or get started today

This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

All customised budgets and consultations with money experts are subject to MyBudget’s qualification criteria. We recommend that you read and consider our Product Disclosure Statement.

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