Maybe You Should Stop Setting Retirement Goals

Walk into any Financial Planner's office and one of the first thing's you'll be asked is "what's your retirement goal?" If you don't have one, they'll probably lead you to defining one. What age do you want to retire? What income will you need? What hobbies do you want?

Your answers to these questions will allow them to from your financial plan. Once done, we'll start following the recommends to move us toward our "retirement goal."

The problem though, is these long term goals typically don't have much meaning to us. They're so far off into the future, it's hard to connect with them. We set them because we're told to.

Instead, try setting long-term aspirations. Aspirations aren't as finite as goals and don't carry the baggage of failure if you abandon them. As you change, you can change the things you and your family aspire to.

To move the ball forward, set short-term S.M.A.R.T. Sprints.

  • S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time bound.
  • Sprint means no longer than one year in length.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Sprints allows you to focus on making meaningful progress towards a future you desire but still have the flexibility to alter course.

I suggest setting these Sprints in three areas of your life:

  • personal (health and relationships)
  • professional (network, skills and income)
  • financial (controlling lifestyle, lowering debt and allocating resources)

It's great to dream about the future, but if you want to make real progress towards a great retirement, stay nimble and take one step at a time.

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