Mapping Your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College
Set Your Goals

A Smart Tool to Achieve Your Goals


Turn your goals into SMART goals and you’ll have a sequence of achievable small steps for reaching your objectives.

SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Trackable.

Example: One short-term goal is to pay first semester tuition and fees and buy books. Here’s how to make this a SMART goal:

  • Estimate costs:
    • From your school website you learn that tuition will be $1,100 per semester.
    • From fee schedules, you calculate $190 in fees.
    • The campus bookstore estimates $210 for books required for your selected classes. You may be able to pay less for used books, but this estimate gives you the “high side” to plan for.
    • The total comes to $1,500 ($1,100 + $190 + $210).
  • Find out when you’ll need to pay the $1,500.
  • Between now and that date, calculate how much you’ll need to save each month and each week to have the $1,500.
    • If you have three months (12 weeks), you’ll need to save $500 per month or $125 per week.
    • If you have more time, or if you’ve qualified for financial aid, you can save less. This is where doing some planning can make achieving your financial goals as painless as possible.

Use the SMART goals worksheet to help make all your goals — both those that involve money and those that don’t — into SMART goals.

Go to SMART Goals Worksheet: WORD | PDF

 

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