By Angela Epley
#SquadGoals. #HairGoals. #InvestmentGoals? OK, maybe the latter isn’t trending on your social media feeds, but maybe it should.
Maybe you think investing or investment goals are things only people your parents’ age need to think about, but they’re actual game-changers if you can get your head around them while you’re still young. That may sound dramatic, but it’s the truth. Figuring out how you’re going to secure your future can be achieved in multiple ways, one of the them being by way of investing.
You invest to reach your financial goals. Think of these goals as the reasons why you invest in the first place, almost like a vision board to inspire, motivate and inform actionable steps you need to take to have a better chance of making your dreams a reality. You can be as specific as you’d like with your goals, too. Maybe your top reasons to invest amount to physical items (or tangible assets) like your first home, your dream job (like being your own boss and starting your own business), the ability to take more vacations, or have enough to retire early so you can quit your job at a moment’s notice and travel the world.
Not sure where to start? Try these investment goals on for size to spark inspiration:
- Start a business
- Retire early and travel the world
- Ensure that one day that work becomes optional
- Go back to school to earn that advanced degree
- Provide for the big family you’ve always dreamed of
- Take care of your parents
- Buy a house, boat (or a houseboat!)
The idea here is to clearly identify the things and experiences in life you want, because investments can help you afford them to make those dreams a reality. And the more details you can add about these goals, the more you can customize clear next steps to make them possible -- via investments. Ever heard of SMART goal-setting? It’s an acronym that stands for:
- Timely (or Time-bound)
Adding SMART details to your goals plays a huge role in informing how you move forward with investing. Is your goal something you’d like to happen this year, or in 3 decades? Is it for your benefit only, or does it affect others as well? How well do your investment goals match with your current financial situation?
These SMART details will inform everything from the kinds of investments you may choose, to the types of accounts those investments should live in, and might even give you reasons to reconsider or adjust your goals to make sure they’re truly possible.
For example: if you want to retire at age 45 to travel the world but aren’t able (or willing) to do what it takes to sock away the money each month to make that possible, reconsider what “early retirement” means to you. Maybe you can live with retiring a little later, at 55. Or maybe your “retirement” could include some part-time work to bring in a little extra income and buy a bit more breathing room. You get the picture.
Set SMART goals. Take the time to search your soul and identify what you really want in life, today and tomorrow, and add those SMART details to be crystal clear!
Get real about your spending and saving habits. You have to save money before you can invest money, and you can only save money if you spend less than you earn. How do you know for sure that you’re able to save money each month? By tracking your spending or making a budget. This can be intimidating for newbies, but there are online budgeting tools (including one for members on USAA.com) that requires zero spreadsheets and will do all the math for you.
Investing in securities products involves risk, including possible loss of principal.
Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers, and affiliates.
USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Financial advice provided by USAA Financial Advisors, Inc. (FAI), a registered broker-dealer, USAA Investment Management Company (IMCO), a registered broker-dealer and investment adviser, and for insurance, USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California, License # OE36312). Investment products and services offered by IMCO and FAI. Life insurance and annuities provided by USAA Life Insurance Co., San Antonio, TX, and in NY by USAA Life Insurance Co of New York, Highland falls, NY. Other life and health insurance from select companies offered through USAA Life General Agency, Inc. (known in CA (license #0782231) and in NY as USAA Health and Life Insurance Agency). Banking products offered by USAA Federal Savings Bank and USAA Savings Bank, both FDIC insured. Trust services provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank.
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