For many students college is a time of new found freedom when it comes to personal finances. Having such a great responsibility and learning how to manage money while in school is very important. Setting financial goals and being financially aware can provide greater financial security, independence, and reduce and/or prevent debt.
Setting financial goals is an important aspect of being financially successful. There is one concept in particular which can be used to help guide you through setting financial goals. This concept is called SMART, which was created by Paul J. Meyer. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. Using SMART for setting financial goals can help clarify what you want to achieve and if it is achievable. Each step of setting SMART goals is listed below:
S – Specific– Be specific and detailed when setting your goals in order to achieve exactly what you want.
M – Measureable– Your goal must be measurable in order to know if you’ve achieved it. For example select an exact amount of money you want to save.
A – Achievable– Set goals that are capable of being achieved with the resources you have available.
R –Realistic– Set goes that are realistic and capable of being achieved. Also be sure that you have the resources to achieve your goals.
T –Time-Based– Your goal should have a time-frame and deadline to keep you on track and measure your progress
Setting SMART financial goals forces us to become accountable and make real progress on our path towards financial wellness. Setting goals helps you stay motivated and aware of your finances. You can use www.cashcourse.org as a great resource. It’s a free website that provides guidance and tools on making informed financial decisions. There are many tools out there to help you gain the financial freedom, and responsibility that you’ll need as you work through your degree.
By Shalena Gonzales
Financial Aid Specialist, American Public University