Financial Goals: How to Set and Achieve Them

Now that the dust has settled on the New Year and a mountain of resolutions that you’ve probably already decided you won’t really pursue at least half of. I want you to focus on setting financial goals.

Specific financial goals.

Attainable financial goals.

Financial goals that you will accomplish this year.

Now you may already have surmised this financial goal is sounding a whole like a SMART goal, and it is, but I’m not going to lecture you on what a SMART Goal is.

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What’s your number 1 financial goal for 2017?

You might recall I have a few financial goals for 2017 including paying off my car loan and my bar loan. So how do I pick my number one goal? I set my number one goal by figuring out what goal I can set that will influence and help me to achieve all my other financial goals.

My number one goal is to earn more income in this first year of self-employment than I did when working a typical 9-5. I don’t just want to earn a little bit more than I did last year, I want to kick some serious income ass. My income goal for 2017? $80,000. Take time right now to assess what your number one financial goal is for 2017.

Is your goal too big?

Now I didn’t just pull $80,000 out of thin air, its about a 25% increase over my 2016 salary. It’s a reasonable jump. Sure I would like to earn more, and I hope I do, but it’s a fine line between making sure you are stretching to reach your goals and setting yourself up for failure. $80,000 in a year comes out to about $6,700 a month. Which isn’t easy but is also far from impossible. What does your number one financial goal look like on a monthly basis?

What is your action plan?

Goals are all well and good, but you won’t get anywhere near accomplishing them if you don’t have a plan. Breaking it down to what a monthly level is just one part. What do you need to do to reach that goal each and every month? For me, it means 90 hours of work at my goal hourly rate of $75.

Now admittedly sometimes the work I am doing (like writing this post or pitching new clients) doesn’t result in any actual payment, so these are additional hours I work. So I’m looking to complete at least 22.5 hours a week minimum of work that is directly paid for, some work doesn’t pay as well or may take me longer to do so my hourly rate can fluctuate. In that case, I’ll be working more than 22.5 hours to complete work that results directly in a paycheck.

What is your action plan?

What do you need to do to put that plan into action?

Now, knowing what I need to accomplish (22.5 hours of paid work each week) to reach my number one financial goal ($80k in 2017 income) is just the start. I then need to break it down further. Do I need to charge more for my services, get more clients, branch off into other kinds of work? Hopefully a bit of all three in good time.

Right now my focus is getting more clients and building other income streams. If your number one goal is an income goal what do you need to do to accomplish it? If it’s a goal to pay off a debt or save an emergency fund, what do you need to do? Do you need to cut back on expenses or earn more income or both? Decide what you will do to help you reach your number one financial goal for 2017.

Cut Back on Expenses?

If you need to cut back on expenses download my 45+ ways to save money and still have a life worksheet. Need to save money – try using something like Chime to save for you.

Earn More Money

Need to increase your income? Check out the Make More Money Blog posts for ideas on side hustles.

How are you going to hold yourself accountable?

What system are you going to set up to make sure you check in on a regular basis and are holding yourself accountable? I’ll be sharing income reports along with my debt accountability posts to make sure I’m staying accountable.

While you don’t have to start a blog to hold yourself accountable, maybe consider an accountability buddy. Or look into a facebook group that is based on what your goal is about. Mark a day on the calendar each month with a “check in with my goals” time. Have a picture on the wall to keep track and remind you what you are working towards. Whatever is going to work best for you, do it. Make 2017 a kick ass year where you accomplish your financial goals.

What’s your number one goal for 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Money tools & resources i recommend

Chime (for saving) works by starting a spending account (takes 5 minutes) and opting into the automatic savings plan. (Learn more about getting started with Chime).  Every time I use the Chime Debit Card it rounds up my purchase to the nearest dollar and puts in in savings. Right now they also offer a double round-up bonus on those savings. All those withdrawals add up over time. Chime is free to use, with no monthly fees. With Chime, you end up saving money without having to think about it.

Qapital (for building savings & reaching money goals) Qapital can help you reach savings goals. Once you have the Qapital App installed and a bank account (or in my case three) connected you set up a goal or goals.  Then you set savings rules for each of your goals. For example, I have a round up to the nearest $2 rule, a guilty spending rule -when I buy Dominos. Qapital is free to useBonus, when you use my link you'll get $5 after your first savings.

Qoins (for debt repayment) When you sign up for Qoins, you connect your bank account and then spend as you normally would. Qoins will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that change towards an extra debt payment. Learn more on How Qoins Can Help You Pay Off Debt Faster

SoFi (for refinancing) If you have private loans or your debt to income ratio allows, consider refinancing with a company like SoFi. Learn more about what it's like to refinance with Sofi. Refinancing my bar loan with SoFi ended up saving me over $1,000. Use my link to refinance your student loan and you'll get a $100 bonus.


Liz is a blogger helping people with personal finance and working for themselves. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

  • Yudith says:

    Earning 25 % more than you did in your 9-5 job sounds like a great goal. Becoming self-employed is a big step and your post is inspirational because in your first year of self-employment you are already achieving a financial goal above the previous year with employment. Thank you for sharing how you set your financial goal number

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