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How to Set SMART Goals for Your Financial Future

Setting financial goals can be easier said than done, especially when it comes to your retirement. You know you want to enjoy a happy and comfortable financial future, but how do you get there?

Here's where S.M.A.R.T. goals come in! S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Following the S.M.A.R.T. framework is a helpful way to clarify your retirement goals and stay on track.

How does it work? Let's walk through the basics of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals for retirement:

S: Specific

Even if your retirement is still decades away, it's wise to set specific goals that reflect the life you want to live in the future. If your retirement goals are too vague, it's difficult to know if you're making meaningful progress.

To get started, ask yourself:

    • At what age do I want to retire?
    • Do I want to continue working part-time in retirement?
    • Where do I want to live? (Maybe you want to move closer to family. Or, maybe you dream of owning a vacation home!)
    • What do I want to do in retirement? (Examples might ​include traveling or taking up a new hobby)
    • What do I want to give to my children, grandchildren and the causes I care about?

M: Measurable

Your retirement goals should also be measurable so you know when you reach them. For example, if your goal is to retire by age 67, you can use a pre-retirement calculator to give you a sense of how much you'll need to save each year. Tracking your progress will help you stay motivated in the long term!

A: Attainable

It's great to dream big for your retirement, but your goals still need to be realistic for your current financial situation, savings habits and personal timeline.

For instance, retiring early isn't attainable for everyone. Maybe you need to adjust your retirement age, or consider cutting back on some expenses. At Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU) one of our CFS Financial Advisors available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. * can help you set realistic and attainable goals as you plan for retirement.

R: Relevant

Saving for retirement is a journey, not a destination. As you save for long-term financial goals, you'll also need to find a balance between shorter-term savings goals such as vacations, home renovations or paying for a child's college education.

To stay focused, make sure your retirement goals are relevant to you and your current financial situation. Automating your savings is a great way to organize your goals and save for multiple things at once.

T: Time-Bound

Last but not least, your retirement goals should have a timeline. Knowing exactly how long you have to achieve big financial goals will help you break them down into smaller goals with deadlines. For example, you might aim to set aside a certain amount each year, each month or each paycheck.

Put Your Retirement Goals into Action!

The CFS* financial advisors and registered representatives on WPCU's Retirement Solutions Team, available through CFS,* are here to help you identify your unique goals and develop a plan that will help put you on a path to success.

Contact us today to learn about retirement planning options and schedule your complimentary, no-obligation appointment.​

​​​​​​​​*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered brokerdealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Wright-Patt Cr​edit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. Before deciding to retain assets in an employer sponsored plan or roll over to an IRA an investor should consider various factors including, but not limited to; investment options, fees and expenses, services, withdrawal penalties, protection from creditors and legal judgments, required minimum distributions and possession of employer stock.
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