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Four easy steps to help you work toward your financial goals

By Steve Ciaccio, MBA, CPA, CFP®

Once you have financial goals, working toward them can be very satisfying. Making progress toward your goals can be very manageable when you take the right approach.

You will likely have many financial goals. You might have goals such as a comfortable retirement at a certain age, purchasing a house, having a certain dollar amount of savings by a certain date, and many others. This example is a long term savings plan but you can use this approach for other goals as well.

  1. Motivate yourself with achievable goals. If you have realistic goals and you know that you have a reasonable chance of achieving them with your current situation, you might feel more motivated to move forward. It is important to challenge yourself, but consider keeping them manageable so that you might be more motivated to work toward them.

  2. Keep your eye on the goal, but focus on your steps. It is important to always keep your ultimate goal in mind, but do not focus solely on the end result. Plan for intermediate and short term goals along the way. Think of it like walking toward a large hill several miles away. If you focus solely on the hilltop from a long distance, each step that you take toward it seems insignificant. If you have a goal of getting to an intersection a block away, your progress is more noticeable. As you realize that each step toward the short term goal is really bringing you closer to your ultimate goal, the importance of each step becomes more evident. Realizing that you are in fact making progress helps you move into a good stride and makes each step easier.

  3. Stay on the path. When striding toward a goal, you might at times feel distracted. In the example of a long term savings plan, you might be distracted by things that you can buy with the money that you saved, or you might simply want to spend all of your future income instead of saving some of it. This is a time to push the distractions aside and keep moving toward your goal. Ask yourself “How happy will I be in the future if I continue toward my goal?” Remember, you can always set those desired items aside and keep saving for one more day, one more week, then one more after that, and so on. There might be times when you have to focus on managing your spending each day in order to meet your weekly goals. By staying focused, you will have a better chance of making progress.

  4. Celebrate each win! In this example, if you reached your short term goal of weekly or monthly savings, take a brief look at your bank statement (or cookie jar) and enjoy the moment. Regardless of how your goal is measured, take a moment to enjoy each success. It might motivate you to continue toward your goal, and might even motivate you to accelerate your effort. If you get ahead of schedule, consider setting a higher goal. It was once said that success breeds success. It seems to be true. Enjoy each win and motivate yourself to meet and exceed all of your goals.

Every journey is really a series of steps. I hope that these four steps make each step of your journey a bit easier.

All the best!

Steve Ciaccio, MBA, CPA, CFP®

Steve Ciaccio, MBA, CPA, CFP® is the founder of Ciaccio Wealth Management, Ltd., located at 232 South Batavia Avenue, Batavia. He can be reached at 630-454-4599, The opinions voiced in this article are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment or tax advice for any individual or entity.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Copyright Steve Ciaccio 2018

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