We all have goals for our future, whether they’re short-term targets or part of our must-do lifetime “bucket list”. But all too often and despite our best intentions, time flies by and our plans get lost in the whirlwind of daily life.

Financial goals are no different—and since many life targets require money to achieve, getting your finances in order is often the important first step to realizing your dreams. Yet research tells us that only one in five Canadians strongly agree that they’re successful in sticking with their financial strategies. Similarly, just 21 percent have strong confidence that they’ll achieve their financial life goals.

Ready to beat that statistic? Jeanette Brox, a Toronto-based CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, shares her tips to help ensure that your financial dreams don’t fade away.

  1. Consider different timeframes: Decide what you want to achieve in the short-term (approximately two years), medium-term (5-10 years), and long-term (10-20 years).
  2. Be realistic: Make your goals doable. Can you realistically accomplish what you’ve set out to do, in the timeframe you’ve allowed yourself?
  3. Prioritize: Decide which of the goals are most important to you. You can’t do everything all at once.
  4. Break your goals into ongoing tasks: With the help of your financial planner, figure out what you need to do on an ongoing basis to help you reach your goal. An added bonus? Having a clear-cut, inspiring goal can help you resist day-to-day temptations that may lead you off-track.
  5. Incorporate a “fun factor”: Allow some wiggle room for fun, like the occasional small splurge. If the plan is too strict, you won’t stick with it.
  6. Check your progress: Revisit your goals and your progress toward them at least once a year. Take the time to congratulate yourself for your achievements or get back on course if your progress has stalled. Consider your financial plan your roadmap and your financial planner your GPS.
  7. Be flexible: You need to have a written plan, but it shouldn’t be written in stone. Life events, both positive and negative, may cause you to re-evaluate your goals.
  8. Start now: You’re never too young—or too old—to set financial goals for your future. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will realize your goals and dreams.

“Goals are only wishes until they’re written down and a plan put in place to help you achieve them,” says Jeanette. “Start today and be willing to put in the time and discipline to see your goals become reality.”

If you need a qualified professional to help you navigate your financial roadmap, FPSC’s Find Your Planner tool can put you in touch with someone in your area. 

For more on achieving your financial goals, read, How to banish the RRSP rush and To realize your dreams faster, act now.