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Financial Answer Center

Building a Savings Plan


Once you establish your priorities, or what's important to you, your next step is to come up with specific, written statements of your goals.

Sample goals:

  • Accumulating emergency funds
  • Getting out of debt
  • Buying a house
  • Taking a dream vacation
  • Making improvements on a house you already own
  • Financial independence
  • Planning for retirement
  • Sending the kids through college

Most people come up with goals like these and stop there. Don't make this mistake!

Be very specific about your goals. A goal is not really a goal until you have (1) a statement of the goal, (2) a time frame (when you need to pay for the goal) and (3) a cost (how much the goal will cost you) attached to your statement.

Separate your goals into:

  • Short-term: less than three years;
  • Intermediate-term: between three years and five years and
  • Long-term goals: more than five years.

Take a pencil and paper and write down the goals that come to mind. Let your mind wander. Involve your family in the process. Ask yourself which goals are wants and which are needs.

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