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How Effective Goal Setting Can Help You Reach Your Objectives?

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Financial Goals & Personal Finance

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Financial Planners normally have comprehensive knowledge of financial planning and many financial matters come to them quite easily.

In many cases consumers choose to work with financial planners because they feel they can get what they need and they don’t have to invest the time and do it themselves.

Over my 20 plus years of financial planning I have found that this can often be the wrong mindset for consumers to have.

Unlike other professions where the practitioner may have a more comprehensive knowledge of their field than consumers, personal finance is an area where the consumer should be engaged, willing to learn and apply information in a manner that will best serve their long-term interests.

A financial planner who is truly concerned about your success should want to educate you on all areas of your financial planning—not only for your benefit, but to make your financial planning more successful--and hence your payment of your hard earned cash a worthwhile investment!

It is not uncommon for consumers to lack confidence in their financial decision making and they look to financial professionals to help them devise competent financial plans to help them reach their goals and objectives.

For those who seek financial planners to assist them in creating a plan that they feel can be more effective than the one that they could come up with—it is still important that the financial planner educate them thoroughly on all areas of their finances so that they can more effectively improve their finances—on a consistent basis. 

It is important that you deal with a financial planner who is knowledgeable and competent in their area of financial planning. 

You should know what services they do—and don’t offer!

It is important that you understand that attaining your financial goals and managing your financial risks are highly correlated. 

Below we will list common immediate goals, short-term goals, intermediate goals, and long-term goals of many of our past clients:

Immediate Goals (1 to 6 months)

*Credit Card Payoff

*Properly Establish Emergency Fund

*Purchase Life Insurance

*Create Will

*Purchase Health Care Insurance

*Gain a meaningful understanding of the Financial Life Stages

Short-Term Goals (1 to 4 years

*Credit Card Payoff

*Properly Establish Emergency Fund

*Purchase Life Insurance

*Tax Planning

*Gifting Strategy

*Purchase Home

*Purchase Vehicle

*Medical Procedure

*Pay Car Off

*Eliminate All Debt Except House Payment

*Fitness Club Membership

*Golf Club Membership

Intermediate Goals (5 to 7 years)

*Plan Annual Vacations

*Improve Investment Returns

*Eliminate All Debt Except House Payment

*Eliminate All Debt Including House Payment

*Pay Mortgage Off

*Purchase A Boat/RV

*Have the time and money to contribute to their favorite   charitable causes

*Long-Term Goals (8 plus years)

*Have enough in retirement account income to replace at least 60% of current income

*Have enough investment income to purchase a vacation home

*Have a properly funded Education Account

*Revisit the need for Estate Planning

*Business Formation

*Eliminate All Debt Including House Payment

*Have enough money in Retirement Account to live at Pre-retirement level

*Have enough money in Retirement Account to live in retirement and do what you desire

*Purchase Long-Term-Care Insurance if Retirement Account is not on track to reach targeted amount

Keep in mind that many of the goals mentioned above may be immediate, short, intermediate or long-term depending on your individual or family situation.

A Financial Planner will help you establish a Financial Mission so that you can get a realistic idea of what you can accomplish in your future:

Once your mission is identified and embraced—a planner would then assist you in identifying your financial goals and objectives. 

Thereafter, alternative strategies could be created that you could choose from that you felt was the best fit for you and your family.

Once you choose a plan it must be implemented and monitored and feedback (from your planner) must be provided on the plan’s performance for the plan to be the most effective. 

Goal Planning does have the following limitations:

• Inflation

• Use of Estimates

• Use of Benchmarks

"Inflation" always seems to rear its ugly head.

In many cases you will have to adjust your stated investment returns for inflation to determine your real return.

In many areas of finance "estimates are used", and as you know an estimate is only an estimate!

Fair market value for your assets such as your home, boat, car and other assets used on personal financial statements are subject to the accuracy—or lack thereof—of your, your financial planner’s or other professional’s estimate.

Personal Financial Statements are rarely made public therefore you would have few "benchmarks" as a point of comparison.

However, keeping your housing ratio under 30% and your housing and debt under 40% of your monthly income are a wise use of benchmarks.

In addition, paying your revolving (credit card and other debt) debt off monthly and living below your means are not based on benchmarks—but are wise financial strategies. 

Final Thoughts On Reaching Your Financial Goals & Objectives

External Environment:

An experienced and highly competent financial planner will look at the external environment (political, regulatory, economic, social, technological and legal) as well as your goals, risk tolerance level, income and personal situation  and  analyze your personal financial statements and demographics to determine the best approach for assisting you in meeting your financial goals and objectives for you and your family. 

All the best to reaching your financial goals as you pursue a higher level of success...

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About This Article:


The above article was written by Thomas (TJ) UnderwoodThomas (TJ) Underwood is a former fee-only financial planner, a former top producing loan processor and is currently a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia. 

He is the writer behind The Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books that include The Wealth Increaser, Home Buyer 411 The Smart Guide to Buying Your Home, Home Seller 411 The Smart Guide to Selling Your Home, and  Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this MILLENNIUM.

In addition he is also the writer who created The 3 Step Structured Approach to Managing Your Finances, and CREDIT & FINANCE IMPROVEMENT MADE EASY—NEW GUIDE that you can download right now "(at MIMIMAL cost $3.95)" to learn more about his writing style and how you can achieve "more" success in the current economy.

He is the creator of where he regularly blogs about helping consumers improve their credit, finance and real estate pursuits in an intelligent, consistent and proactive manner. 

He’s always looking for ways to make intelligent finance improvement happen for those who “sincerely desire” success in their future. He was the first financial planner to coin the phrase "financially alert mind"  and he consistently writes in a style that is designed to provide consumers the ability to take control of their lives and achieve great results.

You can contact him from a number of sources but the most direct way is to contact him through the contact us block that can be found at the bottom of this page.  You can also get highly relevant tips on "living your life more abundantly" and link to and possibly earn revenue by logging on to

He is also an IRS registered tax planning professional with over 30 years of tax experience and can be reached at:



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