Friday 14th June 2024

Ditch financial goals and just focus on your what you want out of life

Financial goals are really important. But we should ditch the ‘financial’ framing and take them for what they really are: our life goals, writes Mouthy Money editor Edmund Greaves.

Financial goals are important. Pictured: writing on a notebook saying "make it happen"

Financial goals are really important. Without them we have no plan. We’re just nihilistic beings floating around with bank accounts in disarray.

But the problem with financial goals is they are daunting. So let’s make it easy. Instead of thinking “what are my financial goals?” just say to yourself instead: “what are my goals?”

Everyone has goals. If you don’t then…well, I can’t help you. But if you do, you’ve come to the right place. 

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My own goals used to be really clear. I wanted to settle down and get married to my girlfriend Ellyn. I wanted to own a home to start a family. None of these are financial things.

But figuring out the financial requirements inside those plans was key to making them happen. 

To achieve them, it required budgeting, saving and some careful cash flow planning (God knows I love a Google spreadie). 

I know I’m making it sound like it was easy as pie but it wasn’t. But what made it possible was having clear outcomes in our minds, putting a number on achieving those outcomes, and using that focus to motivate our discipline.

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Unlocking financial goals

Unlocking these financial goals means peeling back all of the complexity and starting from the very beginning.

Everyone has their own goals in life and this is totally fine. Want to travel the world? Awesome. Planning on buying a rambling country cottage in the Yorkshire Dales? Go for it.

First figure out where your finances are now, and where you think they need to go to get to that dream. Then make a plan for how to get there.

This is of course not easy either, but we are blessed with such a mad array of tools, guides, budgeting apps and whatever else to help you make that plan that the only thing stopping you getting there is your own enthusiasm to do it. 

And yeah this does sound trite coming from someone who has bagged his goals, but I have new ones that include paying off lingering debt (that I should have paid off first but didn’t) and making a better effort to save for my long-term future other than just with my workplace pension. 

No one in the world has neat and tidy finances. Money is messy, but you just have to stay on top of it the best you can. If you don’t stay on top of it, it will get on top of you. That’s life.

Want to hear more about financial goals and how to achieve them? Listen to the latest Mouthy Money podcast with hosts Edmund Greaves and interactive investor’s Myron Jobson. 

Photo by Bich Tran

Edmund Greaves


Edmund Greaves is editor of Mouthy Money. Formerly deputy editor of Moneywise magazine, he has worked in journalism for over a decade in politics, travel and now money.

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