On Goals

On Goals _ AnythingYouWantBlog.com

I’ve talked a bit about my personal finance philosophy in the past, but in summary I think that personal finance is personal and that your money should be spent (or saved or invested) in line with your personal goals, values and priorities. Those goals, values and priorities will surely vary from person to person, and even from time to time within a given person’s life. This means that there really is no right or wrong, just what works best for you.

I’ve also used myself as a test case for a lot of the personal finance topics I’ve discussed (like investing and budgeting).  I’ve shared these examples in the absence of the central tenant of my personal finance philosophy: what goals do my financial practices support?

Today, I’ll share what my goals are and how that impacts the way I manage my personal finances.

Use money as a means to an end                                                                             

My ultimate personal finance goal is to live in a manner that allows me never to worry about money. This may sound ironic coming from someone who clearly spends a lot of time thinking and writing about money. But it’s the truth. In fact, I would argue that part of the reason I think about money so much is so that I don’t have to worry about it. By focusing on saving, living frugally and investing smartly, I know that I have enough money in the bank to meet my wants and needs.

In this regard, money is purely a means to an end, so I don’t think of my goals in terms of attaining a certain net worth. My goals are much more personal, but of course they all require money.

Some of the goals that I am able to recognize now are as follows. I expect that this list will continue to grow and evolve throughout my life, and that’s ok.

  1. Have a meaningful career through which I make a positive contribution to society. At some point, I may take a pay cut or decide not to work for money at all in pursuit of a more meaningful job. My goal is to save and live frugally so that I can pursue work that interests and excites me, not work that just pays well.
  1. Travel. I know it’s a cliché, but I want to see the world. I’m OK with travelling on a budget, but travelling, especially internationally, is expensive no matter how you slice it. My goal is to have enough money to be able to travel without guilt or financial hardship.
  1. Have a family. Kids are not cheap. When I have a family, I want to raise my children with an awareness of money but not a fear of money. My goal is to always have enough, but never spend too much.
  1. Pay for my children’s education. Goodness knows how much college will cost by time my currently non-existent kids get there, but I will bet that it will be expensive. My goal is to pay for my children’s college and possibly beyond.
  1. Have flexibility. Maybe when I have kids I’ll want to take a few years off from work. Maybe at some point I’ll want to pack my family up and travel the globe for a few months. I don’t know what I’ll need the flexibility for, but my goal is to have enough money to give me the freedom to make these types of choices.
  1. Relax. I guess this is what some might call retirement, although more and more I’ve started thinking about it as occasional re-charges throughout my career. I’ve learned during my summer in Europe that a few months away from the grind can do wonders for your happiness, and my goal is to have the financial means to pursue relaxation as needed throughout my life.

I know that most of these goals aren’t terribly concrete. That is both scary and exciting for me. I’m trying to be OK with the unknowns in life (a challenge for a type A personality like me) and make decisions today, financial and otherwise, that will support these goals now and into the future, regardless of how they might evolve.

It is also worth noting that these are my broad strokes, lifestyle goals. These are always in the back of my mind, but I often have short-term goals, like increasing my net worth by 46% this year, that help me work in the right direction.

What are your goals? How does your personal financial strategy support them?

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22 thoughts on “On Goals

  1. These are great goals. Mine are very similar. I think the flexibility one is the most important for me. Yes, I have solid ideas of where I want my finances to be and for what, but life is crazy and being able to up and move to Europe for a year immediately would be awesome. If I’m not financially ready for the flexibility, I’ll miss out!


    • Exactly! Who knows what I’ll need the money for, but I’m sure I’ll need it for something and I want to be ready to say “yes” to whatever that something is!


  2. I have all the same goals, except for 3 and 4! We won’t be having kids, but I do plan on giving more to charity, or maybe helping out friends’ kids.

    I’ve always been fascinated by people who go on long bicycle tours. So this weekend I went deep on CrazyGuyOnABike.com, reading some of the journals by people who toured around Iceland, a country I’ve always been fascinated by. So I invented a new goal, as an early retirement gift to myself, to combine my two fascinations and do a month-long solo bike tour around the whole of Iceland. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before, but I think that will be the new ultimate goal I’m working towards.


    • Your bike tour sounds like an amazing goal! One of mine, more on that scale, is to ride an elephant in a country where elephants naturally live. I lump it into my broader “travel” goal, but is one I want to be sure not to miss!!


  3. I’ve always been terrible with money. I think I worry so much about it that worrying actually contributes to my poor spending. It’s like, “I have money! But it won’t last so I might as well spend it on things that make me happy!” Which is not always a good way to go about it.

    I also want a career that is meaningful, but also fun. I want to buy a house so I can stop renting. I want to be able to save money instead of living pay cheque to pay cheque.


    • Those are great goals! I can see how worrying about the future could lead you to spend more money today. After all, who knows what will happen tomorrow! I like to think of it on the flip side though: who knows what will happen tomorrow, so best to save and have a financial cushion so that I can deal with whatever comes up.


  4. Since I am a freelancer, I save more than the recommended 20%, so my goal is to have 6 months in my emergency fund. I can travel cheap as long as I go to non expensive counties, like I spent the past summer in South America and lived fine on $800/month – except for the Galapagos Islands (it was $1,000 for a week, including the $400 plane ticket!). Usually the flight from the states costs the most.


  5. Love this. And travel is def. a goal of my husbands and mine. There have been points in our marriage where both of us didn’t have to work, but we did to use a salary as our travel and emergency fund. Right now we are both working to support us as a family, but we are working more in the travel field now, which allows us to still travel. Until we have kids, its one of our priorities.


  6. It’s always good to have an overarching vision of what you want your life to look like. They you can create mini goals, which you are doing, around that. If you have no vision, you have no sense of direction. And hey, it’s OK if that changes later or doesn’t.


    • I completely agree! I like to know where I think I’m heading, and I always have in the back of my mind that my direction could change at any time, and that’s OK!


  7. Rue says:

    I love the idea of the recharges throughout your career. SO many people think that they have to work constantly and wait until retiremement to relax beyond occasional vacations.
    That’s one of my goals…to work because I want to not because I have to.


    • It does seem to be the prevailing opinion that you should work until you’re old. I figure you need to enjoy the journey and take time off along the way too!


  8. Great post! My financial goals are somewhere in between keeping track of details (I used to be the type scared to look at a bank statement) and not hating myself over the small things. Since I started freelancing at the beginning of the year I’ve been able to throw all that money in a savings account — my family lives off my husband’s monthly income — and I have a goal to have a 6 month emergency fund saved up.


    • That is such a tricky balance! I also struggle with getting down on myself over the small things. But it sounds like you’ve got a great plan in place – good luck saving for the emergency fund!!


  9. They’re great goals… In both finance and life. Mine are very similar. I guess the main thing is to be flexible as they can change a lot. Thanks for sharing.


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