Tips To Save For Short-, Mid-, and Long-Term Financial Goals
Do you consider yourself “financially responsible?”
Are you mindful of how you use your money and where it goes?
If not, creating financial goals may be able to help.
Goals of any kind can keep you motivated as you take steps toward where you want to be. However, having a plan to reach your objectives is just as important. Without one, you may never succeed.
Cashay explains how to set short-, mid-, and long-term goals and offers tips to help you reach them.
Before we continue, you should understand the timeframe between each type of goal:
- Short-term goals are what you want to reach within three years
- Mid-term goals are what you want to reach between three and seven years
- Long-term goals are what you want to reach in seven or more years
These timeframes provide a timeline for achieving each goal, making planning for them more manageable. Next, we’ll discuss each type of goal using examples and strategies to save for them.
Short-Term Financial Goals
Short-term goals are the easiest to neglect. After all, you have bills to pay and mouths to feed — not to mention your children’s college fund or your retirement to save for.
People often put long-term and even mid-term goals first, mainly because they might have outside support like employer match or automatic retirement contributions withdrawal for 401(k)s.
But some of your expenses may actually be short-term goals. Building an emergency fund, saving for your dream vacation, and paying off your credit card debt are all short-term goals.
According to Cashay, one of the simplest ways to save for these goals is by setting aside a set portion of your income in a savings account, or alternative short-term savings account each month.
Mid-Term Financial Goals
Setting and reaching mid-term goals works similarly to achieving short-term ones. You may have several mid-term goals already. Perhaps you want your dream backyard, or to update your kitchen, or to contribute to your high-school-aged child’s college fund.
Whatever the target may be, focus on one or two, then calculate how much you can reasonably fund them. Then, set up automatic transfers between your checking and savings accounts (or an investment vehicle) so you don’t have to deposit the money manually. You can watch your funds grow until you eventually have enough to afford your goal.
Mid-term goals typically have a larger price tag, which can make saving for them overwhelming. If you cannot reach these goals within the timeframe, remember that having something saved is much better than nothing at all.
You have many options for mid-term savings tools. Cashay recommends using savings and investment accounts with longer endpoints, such as a stock mutual fund or a balanced fund. As you near your goal, transfer the money in these vehicles to a money market account. Doing so lowers your risk and the possibility of losing your savings right as you’re ready to cash out.
Many people prioritize long-term goals over everything else. It’s understandable — after all, these goals are usually the most important and the most expensive. Retirement, a down payment on a home, and other long-term goals are very difficult to achieve — if not impossible — without a plan or regularly saving.
Since long-term goals have such a long time frame and are so costly, you have a greater variety of savings and investment tools to help you reach them. These include mutual funds, certificates of deposit, or high-yield savings accounts.
Once you decide the best vehicle for you, you can select a preferred strategy from your employer’s available investment options. Generally, these options include money market funds, stocks, bonds, and stocks and bonds.
The investment option you select depends on your goal. For example, if you want to build a college fund for your newborn child, you could open a savings plan via your state’s college savings plan. Most states offer automatic investment plans that only require $25 each month while also providing a broad range of alternatives.
Or, if you want to save for your first home, you could open a savings or investment account exclusively for this purpose. You can then enroll in automatic transfers from your savings account to a mutual fund or some other type of investment vehicle. As you near your goal, you could deposit your funds into a savings account to protect your savings in case of an economic downturn.
Setting financial goals helps you do more with your money and get where you want to be. When you establish short-, mid, and long-term goals, you have a timeline and can take the first steps to achieve them.
Depending on the goal, it could take you as long as fifty years (such as the case for retirement) or as little as one (like paying off one of your credit cards). Now that you know why financial goals are essential, it’s time to set a few for yourself and make a plan to reach them.
- Fitness, Financial. “How to Save Money for Short-, Mid-, and Long-Term Goals.” Cashay, Cashay, 5 Feb. 2020, https://tinyurl.com/y6jmms3k.