Setting SMART Financial Goals By Scott M. Coble

As the son of a 32-year educator and the father of a fifth-grade teacher, I have a great deal of respect for everything our educators are able to accomplish on a day-to-day basis.

I’ve seen from my mom and my daughter that a teaching career is both rewarding and challenging, as teachers assume a critical role in children’s lives. At the same time, they manage to take care of their own household needs and their own families.

Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo Florida Community Bank President

Scott M. Coble, Wells Fargo Florida Community Bank President

Sometimes we get so busy with our daily responsibilities and activities that we miss opportunities to focus on establishing short-term and long-term financial priorities, and determining a plan to make our dreams a reality.

The first step in creating an actionable plan is to establish those financial priorities. 

The key is setting goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Writing them down can help you visualize and determine necessary steps to prioritize and meet your goals, making those ideas seem less abstract and more achievable.

It is important to be consistent when it comes to building financial habits. Always paying bills first and setting aside the funds you may need for other expenses can help you determine how much you can add to your savings account each paycheck.

Also, remember that goals can be fluid. Life happens! Sometimes there’s a need to take a step back and reassess.

Sound financial planning includes preparing for unexpected emergencies by keeping a reserve fund in savings, enough to cover bills and expenses for three to six months. 

Take some time to explore, which is a free, online financial education learning center with resources for youth, adults, seniors, military, and entrepreneurs. On the site, you can learn more about money management and access materials like this printable personal goal-setting worksheet to help you track and assess your goals.

The path to financial success can follow many routes. Having a strategic plan and timeline can help you stay on track. If you happen to take a slight detour, there is always room to course-correct, re-evaluate and re-energize.