Get SMART About Financial Goal Setting in the Age of COVID

woman writing 2021 smart goals in notebook
We know it's difficult to focus on financial goal setting during times of economic uncertainty. Whether it’s due to a global health pandemic or an economic recession, thinking about the future when you're filled with anxiety and living paycheck to paycheck can seem pointless. But it's during times like these when financial goal setting can produce the most meaningful results.

Here's how to get smart about financial goal setting during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym to set financial goals that are:

  • Specific: Include a description, deadline, and dollar amount. 
  • Measurable: Make it easy to track your progress toward achieving each goal by including days, months, years, and dollar amounts in your goal descriptions. 
  • Achievable: Be realistic about your goals so you can stick to them. If you set goals that are impossible to achieve, you're likely to quickly abandon them.
  • Relevant: You're more likely to achieve goals that have personal meaning. Avoid setting goals based on what's important to your friends or relatives. They're your goals, not theirs. 
  • Timely: A goal without a deadline is simply a dream with little chance of becoming a reality. A specific deadline can help you stay on track. Catching up on bills, paying off debt, and building an emergency fund are financial goals that can help you focus on what you need to do today to put you in a better position tomorrow. 
As you set your own financial goals, use this S.M.A.R.T. goal template to help stabilize your finances during COVID-19:

  • Specific: I will build an emergency savings fund totaling $1,000 over the next 10 months.
  • Measurable: I'll set up an automatic transfer of $100 from my checking account to a designated savings account. Transfers will take place on the 15th of each month.
  • Achievable: Using my recent savings in gas expenditures due to working from home, I have an extra $100 each month that I can put toward this goal. .
  • Relevant: If I lose my job, I'll have the money to cover my expenses instead of using high-interest-rate credit cards or loans to pay my bills.
  • Timely: Transfers will begin next month and end 9 months later. Once I reach my savings target, I will transfer the funds to a Higher Yield Savings account where my funds can continue to grow.

Now it's your turn. What are your S.M.A.R.T. goals for 2021?

 

If you're looking for an easy, painless way to save for the future, get started with a CU Thrive account, which offers a great rate for automatic savings from as little as $5 or as much as $500 each month. Learn more here.

Learn more about CU Thrive

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About Author

Tracy Scott
Tracy Scott

Tracy Scott is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance and higher education. Her reading list always includes a seemingly odd mix of financial literacy articles and sweet romance novels. Tracy holds a BA in Psychology from UT Austin and has a background in higher education regulatory compliance.

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