Female hand holding a pen and pointing to financial documents and graphs.

Bridging the Gap: Turning your Savings Goal into a Reality

By Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education

When it comes to savings, there are three undeniable truths. 

1) Savings goals are life goals.

When people make a savings goal, they are doing so to fill a want or a need – to purchase a house, to fund a secure retirement, to build up an emergency fund, to take a vacation. Before taking that first step to reach your goal, it is important to understand the why behind your goal. While many people have similar savings goals, the why is unique to you. Drilling down to your why, the reason behind your goal, will provide you with motivation to draw upon if/when an obstacle arises on the path to reaching your savings goal.

2) A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Now that you know the why behind your goal, it’s time to put a plan in place. Research shows that having specific savings goals and using savings rules increases your probability of saving. We’ll call those rules your plan. Whenever you set a goal, make sure that goal is a SMART goal. What’s SMART stand for?

S – Specific
Write it down. Define the what, the why and the how.

M – Measurable
Indicate a specific $ amount, interim milestones and a specific deadline to allow you to measure your progress.

A – Actionable
Figure out the changes you need to make and/or the steps you need to take to reach your goal.

R – Realistic
Ask yourself, Do I have the time and the resources to make this goal happen, or a support system to help me get there?

T – Timely
Make sure you have a time frame. This creates a sense of urgency to keep you moving forward.

3) But most importantly, help is available.

And when it comes to meeting your goals, it can make a world of difference. If you made a fitness goal, you might hire a personal trainer. If your goal was weight loss, you would probably consult with a nutritionist or dietitian. For savings goals, we recommend connecting with a financial counselor, planner or coach. But first, do your research. Not all financial professionals are created equal.

Consider working with an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®). An AFC® works with individuals and families from all backgrounds and income levels. Regardless of your financial history or current financial status, an AFC® will meet you where you are and help you establish healthy money habits and behaviors that can lead to financial freedom and ultimately, achieving your unique savings goal.


Are you trying to save money? Let Military Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. We'll keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

TAKE THE PLEDGE


There are 3 undeniable truths when it comes to savings. Learn what they are here and how they can help you reach your savings goals >> http://bit.ly/2Cl7gCr @AFCPE @MilitarySaves

Tweet this now

Tip of the Day

  • Written by | April 17, 2014

    Check out these "6 Tips to Help Reduce Credit Card Debt" at http://t.co/kPuiEOOyGA

Saver Stories View all »

Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

Read more...

Involving Kids in Family Finances

Written by | April 19, 2019

 

One of the best lessons we can share with our kids is about money. By middle school, kids should have a good understanding of how money works as well as the importance of saving.

Read more...

When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

Read more...