Financial Goals Alone Won't Cut It

Peter's picture

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort." For those of us who do our best to keep our personal finances under control, sometimes it does seem as if money alone might lead to happiness. It can be tough to remember sometimes, but we're not in life for the money.

It's A Tool

As far as life goes, money is merely a tool. It is a very powerful and versatile tool and, therefore, is very important. However, it is seldom, if ever, an end in and of itself.

We want to use this tool to allow us to do more of the things that we enjoy and to allow us to do less of the things that we don't enjoy.

Two Sides To The Coin

So how can we use this knowledge in our own lives? Well, with this in mind, next time we sit down to set our goals, we should be setting two types of goals. I'm not talking about short-term and long-term goals -- although I'll admit, those are two types of goals! Here are the two types of goals I'm talking about:

  • Financial Goals: These deal directly with our personal financial situation.
  • Personal Goals: These deal with all the other aspects of our lives that don't include money.

When we first start working toward financial independence, we can often become too focused on the financial side of our lives. I know I struggle with this sometimes. Too often, our goals consist only of things like:

  • Pay off such and such debt in 3 years.
  • Save an emergency fund to cover 2 months' expenses by next year.
  • Reduce overall expenses by 10% by the end of the year.
  • Etc ...

Now, don't get me wrong, these are some good goals to have. The thing is, they only deal with the financial side of our lives. These are goals for our bank accounts and our wallets. But what about us?

What's In It For Me?

Practice making some personal goals to mix in with all your financial ones. If you've never really thought about non-financial goals, it can be a bit tough to think of any at first. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Read one book every month for a whole year.
  • Learn to play "Happy Birthday" on a new musical instrument in time for your friend or partner's birthday.
  • Go for a walk or run at least one time each week.
  • Work your way up to be able to do 5 chin-ups or 20 push-ups.
  • Teach your dog a new trick.
  • Etc ...

After dealing with your financial goals, your personal goals can sometimes seem a bit "fluffy" in comparison. That's OK. These are the little things that you are going to be doing to improve yourself and to get more enjoyment out of life. They don't need to be profound but they are the ones that really count in the long run.

You can have some fun with your personal goals too. In fact, it's a good idea to have a few fun and "easy" goals in there. When it comes time to review your goals in a year's time, you'll feel a little wave of satisfaction as you cross these smaller goals off your list.

Remember Yourself

So don't focus all your efforts on your finances. Focus a lot of your efforts on your finances, but not all of them. You need to remember your personal wants, dreams and desires as well. Life's not all about money.


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You are right. We need goals

You are right.
We need goals and targets in all areas of our life. Health, career, family, community, mental development and I dare say, even religion for those of us into it.

It is true that a lot of focus seems to be on finance. I don't know why.

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