We'd like to be completely free from debt. We'd like to retire early. We'd like to build our dream home. We'd like to pay for our children's college education at a top school. We'd like to open our own shop.
The challenging part is transforming those financial dreams into financial goals. Taking something so enormous and so nebulous and turning it into something that you can actually achieve in a specific timeframe is hard. It's not easy for anyone, even the people who achieve their goals.
Regardless of your specific goal, there are few steps you can take that will drastically increase your chances of success.
In fact, focusing on shorter timeframes is a powerful way to achieve a financial goal.Let's say your goal is to save INR500,000 for seed money for a business. Rather than setting such a large number as your goal after, say, five years, break it down into smaller milestones.
When you break your goal down into small pieces with milestones, the day-to-day actions you need to take to achieve those goals becomes clearer. It's easier to figure out how to save INR 6000 this month than how to save INR 500,000 over the next five years.
Once you have your goal broken down into small milestones, automate the entire plan. Set up an automatic savings transfer at your bank that transfers INR 6000 to an investment account.
Doing this serves two purposes. First, it locks you into a plan that moves you toward your goal without having to make active decisions along the way. Second, it puts you in a position where you focus on dealing with how to live after making room for your goal – not trying to decide whether to make room for it.
Once your saving begins, it can be very tempting to tap into that money for other purposes. But there should be no way for you to access that money immediately because impulsive decisions will do nothing but undermine your goal. You should not be able to access your savings via an ATM card, for example.
Instead, save your money in a remote financial institution. The decision whether to use a savings account at a bank or an investment account at an investment house is up to you, but your savings for your goal shouldn't sit in a place where you can grab it at a whim. That's what an emergency fund is for.
Taken together, these steps can help guide you toward almost any financial goal you can imagine. All that's needed is the dream and the commitment.