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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

The How-To of Holistic SMART Goals: Financial Goals



Welcome to our FINAL blog post in the holistic how-to series! In our last blog post of 2023, we talked about holistic SMART goals. As a reminder, we talked about how SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. We discussed how the SMART goal format sets us up for success rather than confusion. Then, we saw 24 examples of SMART goals that aligned with the Wellness Wheel (review our blog series on the Wellness Wheel here).


Over the next few months, we’ll be discussing the “how-tos” of holistic SMART goals, showing you how to (1) identify your values in a given area, (2) examples of SMART goals in that same area, and (3) how to put your plan in action. Last time, we talked about occupational goals. Today’s topic is financial goals. 


The culture around finances in America can be … odd. We’re encouraged not to talk about how much we make at work, and at the same time see celebrities and millionaires who flaunt their wealth through sports cars, expensive clothes, and extravagant vacations. There’s a dichotomy between how we treat money in our personal lives and how the pursuit of money is treated by American society.


Even if we don’t talk about it, finances can be a major part of our lives. 71% of Americans - yes, almost three-fourths - cite money as a significant problem in their lives. 6 in 10 Americans report money can buy happiness, despite the cliche phrase we all have come to hate. What is financial happiness? Well, to many Americans, this is paying bills on time, being free of debt, affording nice things, and home ownership.  


Want to set some holistic SMART goals for financial wellness? The counselors at Rise and Thrive Counseling are here to help with three easy steps below!


Step #1: Identify Your Values

Financial values encompass the principles and beliefs individuals hold regarding money, wealth, and financial decision-making.


To determine your values in this area, consider these reflection prompts:


  1. What role does financial security play in your overall sense of well-being and happiness?

  2. Consider your spending habits. Do they align with your financial values? If not, what changes could you make?

  3. What are your long-term financial goals, and how do they reflect your core values and aspirations?

  4. Reflect on your relationship with debt, saving, and investing. How comfortable are you with these, and how do they align with your financial values?


  1. 10. How do you define financial success? Is it purely based on monetary wealth, or does it encompass other aspects of your life, such as personal fulfillment and relationships?

Hopefully, these reflection questions help determine (1) if this should even be a goal for you, and (2) the beginnings of a goal of what occupational wellness could look like.


Step #2: Set a SMART Goal

Use the answers to step one to determine what your goal should look like. Here are some examples to help inspire you:


  1. By the end of the year, I will set up an emergency fund equivalent to at least three months' worth of living expenses to provide financial security in case of unexpected events.

  2. By the end of September, I will create a budget that aligns with my financial values and allows me to save a percentage I’m comfy with each month.

  3. On the first day of each month, I will use a budgeting tool to ensure I spend less than I make in the upcoming weeks.

  4. By the end of the month, I will assess my investing, debt-payoff, and retirement strategies to see what I need to adjust.

  5. By the end of October, I will review and update my retirement savings plan to ensure it aligns with my long-term financial goals and aspirations.


Step #3: Your Plan in Action

After you form a SMART goal based on your values and intentions, it's time to put that goal into action. Based on the examples above, here are some ways to move towards your goal:


Goal 1: working towards this goal may look like doing an initial assessment of your current financial situation, identifying areas where you can reduce unnecessary spending and increase savings, setting up automatic transfers from your paycheck to a designated savings account, and regularly tracking expenses and adjusting your budget as needed.


Goal 2: working towards this goal may look like reviewing your current spending habits and identifying areas where you can cut back or reallocate funds, setting specific savings goals for each month, listing any upcoming expenses or financial obligations that may impact savings, and being consistent in tracking your expenses and sticking to the budget.


Goal 3: working towards this goal may look like inputting your expected income and expenses for the month ahead, allocating a specific amount for each category based on your financial goals and priorities, tracking your spending using the budgeting tool, adjusting your spending habits to stay within budget and avoid overspending, and reviewing your budget and spending patterns to identify areas to adjust.


Goal 4:  working towards this goal may look like reviewing your current investment portfolio to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and risk tolerance, evaluating your debt-payoff plan, reviewing your retirement savings strategy, identifying any necessary adjustments to your strategies, and implementing these changes when available.


Goal 5:  working towards this goal may look like assessing your current retirement accounts, considering any changes in your financial situation that may impact your retirement savings strategy, reassessing your retirement goals and aspirations, and adjusting your retirement savings plan as necessary.


We hope this blog post helps you reflect on, set, and execute holistic financial SMART goals in 2024! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.

 

I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.

 

I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 

 

Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.

 

Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)

 

All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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