5 steps to help prioritize savings goals - for now and in the future

Achieving multiple goals at the same time is possible

We all have things we want to do in life. It’s the things that are just around the corner, like a beach trip with the family or a new big screen to watch as we cheer on our team. And it’s things down the road, like helping to pay for child’s wedding or being able to live our golden years comfortably.  

So how do we handle those dreams around the corner and down the road at the same time? We just need to do a little prioritizing. Here are the 5 steps to help us make that happen. 

1. Know the goals 

To get started, we need to know what our goals are and when we hope to reach them. In some cases, time can be our best friend, allowing us to save a little bit each month and let compounding interest work its magic. In other cases, we’ll need that money sooner, so it’ll be on us to commit to saving a certain amount each month.  

The good news is that we won’t need to have it all figured out down to the penny. A ballpark number can give us a rough figure to aim for, and give us the flexibility to modify that goal as we move along. 

2. Look at our budget 

We need to figure out what we have in our budget to put toward these goals. This is a good chance to understand what’s going where. And maybe even identify some money that we could free up. If you don’t have a budget, check out our worksheet to quickly see where you stand. 

3. Determine an amount 

How do we decide which goal is most important? Or which goal should get the most money? Let’s consider a few situations. 

Say you’re 25, finally getting settled in the working world and knowing it’s time to save for retirement. You might have seen some retirement calculators that tell you it’ll take some big number to kick back and relax in old age. But by starting to save for retirement in your 20s, you won’t need to devote a huge portion of your check each month. 

You’ll have time and compound interest on your side. Check out any retirement calculator to see how much you should put away each month. 

Or say you’re in your mid 40s and you’re eyeing a tropical vacation. You start checking out flights, hotels and local attractions to get an idea of what you’ll need for the get away. Once you have a rough idea of what it will take, you can start planning how much you need to put aside each month and for how long.

4. Identify milestones along the way 

The goals we have might take years or decades to achieve. And that’s okay. But we’ll need some way to keep ourselves motivated along the way. That’s why we need to plot milestones that we’ll hit along the way. It could be when we hit $500 increments for our goal. Maybe it’s saving $1,000 of the $2,000 we’ll need toward that beach vacation. Or maybe it’s $10,000 for a down payment on a new house.  

Stopping to celebrate when we hit these milestones gives us a sense of accomplishment. More importantly, it gives us the motivation to keep working toward that next milestone. 

5. Adopt the right mindset 

If we’re going to do this right, we need a mindset for success. Sure, achieving our goals might take a good amount of money. But the good news is we don’t need to come up with every dime overnight. We can see real success if we get ourselves in the planning mindset and give ourselves permission to celebrate along the way. 

Need a little extra help? We have a whole ebook full of great tips to help you rule your tomorrows.

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