Financial Literacy Series: Lifestyle And Financial Goals

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Continued from here

First, let’s talk about the importance of goal setting.

Goal setting involves thinking about where you want to be in future and motivating yourself to turn this vision of the future into reality. Before you can achieve any goals, you must determine what those goals are in the first place. Goals should be specific, measurable and time-targeted. Without goals, it’s easy to coast through life from day to day without achieving anything meaningful. Once you have goals however, this means that you have desired end results in mind, and can then take day-to-day actions to help you get to where you want to be.

So we have talked about goal setting in general. One area in which goal setting is important is the area of one’s finances. The financial goals which you set will most likely first focus on your basic needs before moving on to wants and luxuries.

Your way of life, that is your lifestyle, can either help or prevent you from achieving your financial goals. Let’s say, for example, that you have a financial goal to make or save enough money to buy a house by a certain date in the future; the way you live your life today, that is your lifestyle, goes a long way in determining whether you will achieve that financial goal or not. If you spend all the money you make every month buying nice clothes, nice shoes, handbags or even maintaining a car you cannot really afford, then it is not likely that you will achieve your goal of buying your house.

Let me ask you a question – do you have financial goals? Do you have certain things which you would like to achieve and for which you will need funds – whether it is owning a house of your own, higher education or even buying a car? Investing wisely can take you closer to achieving these goals. However, the first thing you need to look at is the way you live. Honestly examine your lifestyle and ask yourself if your way of life supports your financial goals. Are you setting aside a portion of what you earn as savings and only living off the balance? Or are you spending lavishly so as to maintain an extravagant lifestyle? If your honest answer is that you are spending too much, then you will certainly need to make some changes to your lifestyle if you want to achieve your financial goals. There are two things which you can do – reduce how much you spend or increase how much you earn. Neither of these two is necessarily easy to do but the truth is that in order to achieve any goal, you must make conscious day-to-day decisions that bring you closer to where you want to be.

If you do not have specific, measurable and time-targeted goals, then consider creating a list. Decide what you want, write it down, and make it happen. With careful management of your finances, you can maintain a comfortable lifestyle and still achieve your financial goals.

This has been courtesy Standard Chartered Bank as part of The Bankers Committee Financial Literacy Public Enlightenment Programme brought to you by The Bankers Committee, comprising all the commercial Banks in Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

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