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Demystifying Investment Structures: A Simple Guide for Investors

Hello again all, Shane Brennan here. In the fifth article in my series, I’m exploring the world of investment structures. Imagine standing at the threshold of a vast financial landscape, each investment avenue beckoning with promise. Investment structures can .....

Budget - 6 min read

When it comes to personal finance, there is no textbook-perfect situation. From debts to lifestyle, it's each to their own. That's not to say, however, that you can't control how you play your hand. Learn to set realistic financial goals, and you can do just that!

 

Find Your Dream

Start by thinking about where you are in life and what you want. Maybe it's a family home with a backyard big enough to play a game of cricket on a Sunday afternoon. Or perhaps it's a post-retirement trip around the world. Whatever the reason, you need an outcome––something to work towards, something you can attach to your financial goals. 

Once you've identified what you want to achieve, you can assess what you need to do to get there, and then comes the fun part––setting your financial goals.

The first step in setting realistic financial goals is not just thinking about what you want to do but also why—giving your plan a reason gives it context and puts it in perspective, aiding your motivation. For example, finalising a credit card debt so you can put that portion of your income toward a house deposit rather than monthly interest payments.

 

Types of Financial Goals

Fun? You might think it an unfitting word when aligned to finance, but think of it this way. Have you ever felt satisfied with working your way through a checklist? Its completion gives you a feeling of intrinsic satisfaction––a sense of fulfilment. There is, in fact, a school of thought in psychology dedicated to it.

Ticking off your list of financial goals as you transform your dreams into a reality will give you the same sense of fulfilment, of fun.

There are three main financial goals: Short, Mid and Long-term.

Short-term Financial Goals

Short-term financial goals are smaller financial targets that you can ideally achieve within a year. It might include anything from a new surround sound system to a European holiday.

Mid-term Financial Goals

The time allocated to mid-term financial goals, such as paying for a car, is usually around the five-year mark. Mid-term financial goals are slightly more expensive than your short-term goals but are still achievable if you focus on them. 

Long-term Financial Goals

These are the big ones: buying a home, planning for retirement, etc. They typically take a lot longer than five years to achieve, but like any other goal, anything is possible if you set a plan and stick to it.

 

Act SMART

SMART is a well-established straightforward approach to planning and achieving your goals. In short, the acrostic composition stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Take, for instance, this hypothetical example of a short-term goal: 

To be specific, Maria would like to save five-thousand dollars to pay for her daughter's wedding dress in a year. 

To be measurable, she will open a separate bank account to deposit and track her savings as per her goal.

She is making this achievable by setting up an automatic transfer that puts $97 of her weekly income into the savings account.

Her goal is realistic according to her weekly income and family budget.

In a time-bound 52 weeks, she can gift her daughter her dream dress, having achieved the goal set.

Game, set, and match.

 

Celebrate the Win

Celebrating the achievement of a goal will keep you motivated and stop it from feeling like a ball and chain. You've worked hard to get there, so enjoy the outcome when you achieve it. Then get ready to set your next goal.

 

It's Called a Learning Curve for a Reason

As with most things in life, challenges can arise, throwing a spanner in the works. Take a breath, regroup and don't be too hard on yourself.

When setting a new goal, it is vital that it is achievable and realistic. If a budget lapse is out of your control, then there is not much that you can do. If it's a calculated error, learn from your mistakes, recalibrate, and move on.

Remember, as, with life, it's the journey that gets you to the destination.

 

The Bottom Line

Your financial goals are individual, so it makes sense that the financial advice you receive is also individualised. At Altus, we believe it should be holistic: ensuring each aspect flows towards achieving the same goals. Regardless of your financial situation, we will be there to help you take control of your dreams. 

Start being SMART today and time a conversation with one of our experts.

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