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Understanding goals: how to plan your financial goals the smarter Way?

It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for

—Robert Kiyosaki

hoW to plan your financial goals the smarter WayBefore we proceed with the goal-setting, let’s understand why it is important to plan your finances.

Benefits of Planning Your Finances Well:

  1. Future Buffer System: To be able to plan for an uncertain future or making your future certain, financial planning is one such significant step in life that helps you not only to prepare but secure your
  2. From securing to bailing you out of difficult times, financial planning gives you the ability to be able to understand and then take your decisions
  3. To know how many loans to take, or rather not take perhaps, are options that would help you in saving a lot of
  4. It is giving you the flexibility to know when is the right time to spend or hold necessary spending, like vacations or buying a Furthermore, this helps you to avoid ill-planned investments or expenditures that may not be warranted at that time of your life.
  5. Making maximum use of all your available resources: All your available funds or investment would be “mapped” to each of your This is the starting of financial planning and an excellent base for the future. Use this list given in diagram below. List down all your investments done currently, and try to map each of them with your goals-
    Map Goals with investments
  6. Preparing you for unseen circumstances: Financial planning helps you to make provisions for unforeseen This has been elaborated under contingency planning. You may not have thought of keeping money aside for such events. However, having an equivalent amount of 3 to 6 months of your monthly expenses is a great move.
  7. Best Standard of Living: A lifestyle that you dream of or you have got used to is a desire that it never Making a list of expenses necessary to maintain such standards is a part of financial planning.
  8. A Disciplined Life: knowing your income, expenses, and how much you can save, gives you that Confidence to lead a very financially disciplined life. All is well. This feeling is sometimes important to tell your family or yourself that everything is working out fine. That, you should be happy and enjoying life now. Celebrate such moments in life.

However, most of the people either do not plan or plan but do not implement it. Do you know only 75% of those who make a New Year resolution, follow it until the end of the first week? 25% of the people stop looking at the goal, just after the first week. Ultimately, only 8% of people achieve their resolution. Isn’t this a nerve-racking figure? 92% of people fail in achieving their goal. Most of the people keep waiting in their wings but never take off.

Moreover, this is what makes this chapter crucial since in this chapter, you will learn the art of not only goal-setting but also goal- achieving. So, let me share the primary purpose of this chapter.

     The purpose of this chapter is:

  1. To give the background as to why people fail in their goals
  2. What are the different methods and ideas behind successful goal setting?
  3. How can you easily set up your goals by using my templates?
  4. How would goal-setting bring joy and happiness in your life by employing this process?
  5. What are the possible pitfalls to avoid while setting your goals?

Is it that people who make resolutions, especially those who make accurate decisions, are more likely to meet the goals than those individuals who do not make their decisions explicitly clear?

How many times have you known that, perhaps, you failed in achieving the goals, which you set so earnestly and dedicatedly? Could you gauge your enthusiasm level going up or down after you are all set to work towards your new targets? Do you come to know if you would succeed or fail?

Do you have some system in place to track your progress? Do you monitor how you would come to know that you are on time? Do you “visualize” the end of your goal in mind before beginning?

In my experience, I have found that taking out time to create a plan based on goals is the key to success.

My clients have tasted success after taking my advice, regardless of how much wealth they have created! Wealth is just the by- product, what matters more is the execution of goals.

Similarly, the reason why most people fail in achieving their goals is attributed to the fact that they did not have a follow-up plan. Above all, the goals were not related to their wealth creation!

Let’s first explore the background on the success and failure reasons for goal-setting.

Is it that goals are those illusions, which keep us in a delusionary world, while we waste our precious time? No. Goals and planning are a significant part of life. Let’s say you are the captain of a ship and you have a vague thought that ‘someday’ you will reach the shore. Now with this mindset, do you think you would be able to reach the shore? Maybe. Maybe accidentally, after battling with high tides and bone-cracking wind for a couple of days or maybe months. Even then, there is a possibility that you might end up reaching a deserted island with no fuel left to sail further.

financial planner

Contrarily, if you know that Point X is your starting point and Point Y is your destination, instead of spinning the steering left, right and centre, you would instead like to follow a map. It would ensure that you reach Point Y safely and on time. In this case, Point Y is your goal, and the map is your plan. Similarly, you need to blend these two to reach your desired destination. Now, let me share some robust master plans for goal setting.

Powerful strategies for goal setting are:

What’s keeping you from being rich? In most cases it’s simply a lack of belief. In order to become rich, you must believe you can do it, and you must take the actions necessary to achieve your goal.

—Suze Orman

  1. The goal is an outcome of a strategic and dedicatedly done Hence, what we need to have are well-informed habits. If we follow a specific and well-thought process, then we will get a positive result that will culminate into something which we desire or want.
  2. Someone wrote a master thesis at an American University in 1953 on goal In 1953, students of a specific class were surveyed regarding their habit of goal setting. Later, in 1973, 20 years later, when the researcher checked with the surviving members of the class of 1953, he found that only 3 per cent of students with written goals made more income than the rest of the class put together. This is an excellent example of how your brain organises your behaviour to achieve a target.
  3. Strange, that personal finance is only 20 per cent head knowledge, and the other 80 percent is all about No magic number will change your life; no interest rate or rate of return will suddenly turn everything around. That is why I teach concepts, not mathematical formulas.
  4. Habits make up around ninety per cent of your behaviour.
  5. List the bad ones and commit to turn them into positive, supportive habits. Write them down and publish the new, healthy habits around your home and Note the difference they make to the quality and success of your life.
  6. Focus on what matters to you- While making budgets and finding solutions for your financial issues, you do not need to look back into your past! Why?
    what you should focus
  7. Focus on what you can control: Can you control what is happening in the economy of Greece, China or the federal states of the USA or the demonetization drive of Modi Ji? If not, then why focus or talk about anything which you cannot control?
  8. While driving, do you look in the rear-view mirror to see where you are going? You only look in the rear-view mirror to see only partially and not all the So, why keep looking at your past mistakes and your bad spending habits when making plans?
    causes a lot of accident
    The past only tells you what you have done in the past and is of little use when you need more energy and resources for your future goals.Have you or your partner or spouse, ever made financial mistakes in the past? You may look at it only, to find out the related errors. Then, use your past only for information. Your past mistakes, or where you have invested in the past, should not be your focus while you move forward.How much money you spend can be a controlling factor. Some of our family expenses are fixed. These could involve necessary household expenses, grocery transportation, mobile, the internet, fuel, house maintenance, house rent, etc. Certain discretionary categories like lifestyle expenses or eating out, dining out, clothes, etc. are something that you can control. Besides, you can control shopping expenses too.Do you first make a list of all such behaviour list?Download Excel Here: download which can help you in prudent planning. Keeping your goals in mind, share a list of all these expenses (with your family members) which can perhaps, be optimised. This will help to discipline and control future lifestyle expenses. These could include:

    1. Skipping an expensive coffee can be a small item to keep in mind when you are trying to control Immediately saving that amount into your liquid fund can create a habit towards building your focus.
    2. Furthermore, overspending during family vacations or friend meets or business events can be controlled by giving a more meaningful gift rather than an expensive
  9. Focus on your future now- While your past investment decisions may have been your decisions, but your future financial state is going to be determined by what decisions you take As you cannot change the past, but look forward to a better well-planned future, then why not create a new experience for yourself. Just that feeling to prepare better for the future will bring that joy and happiness which money cannot buy.
    In India, working in a corporate gives you the excellent opportunity to automatically save 12% of your basic salary every month called EPF (Employees Provident Fund). Here, your employer also contributes an equal percentage that is 12% every month in your retirement planning. The corpus, thus created, is tax-free.
  10. Your belief- If you wish to believe, that goal-based financial planning is possible, then the key to a successful change lies in your belief system.
    Think that you can control and focus on your finances. Believe that you can change your financial life if you have found this key.
  11. Action Plan- However, just belief system will not change With goal-based financial planning, you need to have a plan with a schedule. Then, with a plan, you should review and track your progress periodically. Discussions on frequent intervals with your financial planner on these matters will bring you close to managing your finances. Like you plan your vacations for your family. A consistent and disciplined approach will bring you greater remedy and rewards in short and long term too.
  12. Being passionate about your goals and then having a plan also, will help you to reach your financial However, if you have started with a focused approach for your goals, then you are more prepared. A personalised plan will bring greater rewards than having no plan at all.

Here are some techniques for setting SMARTER goals which are effective and time-proven.

Many leaders have talked about the smart approach to goals. Here, I would add another dimension to smart goals and present a new way to look at developing your personalised smart goals.


S: Specific, Simple
M: Measurable, Meaningful, Motivating, Maintainable
A: Achievable, all areas of life and as of now

R: Realistic, Right Responsible

T: Time Bound, Towards
E: Ecology, related to consequences of actions

R: Resources, refers to Money, Time people, confidence, experience, determination, ability

If you have a clear goal, and you want to be clear about what you are trying to achieve, you may like to measure it. Furthermore, to ensure that it is a realistic, achievable and relevant goal for you, align your goals with your long-term vision also. Then, it should have an endpoint to confirm whether you have accomplished it or not!

Here, you can seek the help of a financial planner who can help with this method of smart goal setting in the first place. Then, breakdown the long-term goals for evaluation on these lines. The smart goal process contributes to identifying the appropriate and realistic goal of the progress tracking system with feedback and accountability, being the key value propositions from the financial planner.

So, the paramount advantage of taking the help of a financial planner is to help you to breakdown the elephantine sized goals into small bits. These could be the little fractions, which are called smart goals, which can be set, monitored, tracked and achieved within the time frame. It will bring smooth implementation as well as appropriate coaching from the financial planner. It can be a significant value addition from the financial planner and one of the unique propositions to help you achieve your goals in a unique way.

Now, let’s scuba-dive more deeply into the concept of goal setting. Some mechanisms or some process for your goal achievement does help. So, here is The Taressh’s SMARTER GOAL Method: From SMART to SMARTER goals.

The best part about this SMARTER concept is that it can be applied not just in setting your financial goals, but you can employ this technique while setting goals in any domain of your life.

So, organising your future objectives the SMARTER way can be done as follows:

  1. Specific- Make your goal specific and definite about why you want to achieve that Find out how being specific will make a difference in your life. Specific bit size goals should be identified. For instance, you might have heard your colleagues or friends saying that one day they will buy a farmhouse. The changes are fair that ‘one day’ is likely to stay away from their life. Reason, because they are not specific. They have a vague picture of their goal. Instead, righteous goal setting would be to know where, of how much area, what kind of trees or plants would you grow in that cherished land, would that farmhouse also have a pool or some part as the playing area, like badminton or lawn tennis court, would it have a tree-house for the fresh breeze to kiss your skin, would it be an ideal vacation during your weekends and even on some weekdays? Knowing such specific and nanoscopic details fuel your mind and your actions to turn this dream into a reality.
  2. Measurable- How will you be able to measure the progress of your goal? Studies have found that unless you have the right tool or some measurement method, that you have achieved this goal, you may not be motivated enough, to work towards that particular goal. Setting up some tracking system will help you know that the purpose has been A goal monitoring system is used, to track the progress towards achieving each of the goals. You can slice the goal into smaller chunks and you can pat on your back upon achieving every single fraction. This would help you to measure if you are on the right track. However, if the smaller chunks are getting piled in your list of failed timeline, you know that it is time to opt for Plan B.
  3. Attainable- Is your goal achievable or is it just a wish or just a dream? If you are earning, let’s say, Rupees five to ten lakh per annum, and if you set a target of make Rupees one crore by the end of this year, then it would be an unrealistic goal unless you win a Therefore, you need to set goals that are achievable and which require you to push beyond your limits to a certain degree. If you set unrealistic goals, gradually you will not be able to accomplish the smaller chunks and hence you will lose all your enthusiasm. On the other hand, pushing yourself far beyond your boundaries will make you feel fatigued after some time, and therefore you are likely to give up.
    The next step is to evaluate if it is possible to achieve the goal with the available resources? At the same time, do not excuse yourself by apprising that there are not enough resources available. Trust me. There are ample resources available to help you and assist you in achieving your goal. All you need to do is search for them. Ultimately, you would get the feel of reaching this goal, which is realistic and achievable.
  4. Realistic- Is your goal relevant and necessary for your successful financial life? Is the goal worth it? Is this goal suitable, for your short-term as well as a long-term vision? I have seen many people who burn the midnight oil to achieve a particular goal and upon reaching the destination, they do not feel the excitement that should They usually surmise that this was not what they were longing for. Therefore, be realistic while setting your goals. Gauge if this is what you want and if the achievement would make you feel gliding on cloud nine.
  5. Time-bound- Everything, even human beings, have an Time limit is a significant ingredient. So what’s your time frame for reaching this goal? Can you put a time horizon, for each of your goals about when you would need the money for that particular purpose? Is there a clear endpoint of each goal which, you know and you are aware of whether it is achievable or not. Therefore, every single goal of yours should have a timeline tagged to it. Goals without a timeline always yell for them to be achieved. There is a possibility that the timeline may get pushed. Delay by some margin is fine until you are completely focused. Do not give up or lose faith in yourself if the timeline gets a little stretched but at the same time, ensure that you do not take the timeline or the buffer time as granted.
  6. Ecology: Your goal relates to the consequences of the actions that you Hence, you have to analyse your goals to check if they are in sync with your environment. Check if they could harm anyone? Do your goals create positive energy at the end and have a positive consequence for everyone around you? If not, you may feel negative vibrations leading to some resistance in your goal accomplishment.
  7. Resources: It refers to Money, or Time, or people, or your confidence, or your experience, or your determination, or your Analyse them in the fulfilment of your goals.

So, create SMARTER GOALS, not just smart goals.

Redefine your goals. Re-evaluate. Adjust the investment amounts. Re-align.

Also, a critical part of any goal setting is finding a valid metric. Here is the key metric that will help you achieve almost any goals. Moreover, this metric is simply based on the concept of TIME.

Here are the top 3 key metrics to help you monitor your goals precisely using “time” as a tool:

  1. Time is progressing: To accomplish any target, we need to take The action takes time, is the amount of time you spend on your goal. It has a direct impact on how much progress you make. So, in many ways, time equals progress and growth.
  2. Time is mindfulness: Focusing on the time metric can bring our attention and motivation back to the process, not the We may not know how close we are to the result, but we will still know how much time we are putting in.
  3. Time is all it takes: Tracking time is easy, but tracking progress sometimes can be

Instead of tracking your weight, you can track your exercise time. Instead of tracking how much money you make, you can track how much time you are productive. Instead of tracking how good you are at the skill, track how much time you practice it. Live by design and on purpose.

The END Process for goal setting can be:

  1. Now, think about the relevance and priority of each of your financial
  2. If they are still important and critical to be pursued during this year,
  3. Be clear in numbers about what amount you wish to have as a goal this
  4. Is there a link between motivation to achieve a goal and the measurement of the same? What can impact our brain so that it prepares to achieve the long-term goals?
  5. It is not just a plan that will help you to achieve your aim, but it should motivate you to continue to pursue that purpose and meanwhile lets you enjoy that feeling of achievement
  6. Research has been conducted to prove that the dopamine hormone in our brain can be responsible for the motivation required to achieve our It has been found that this hormone helps us in forming behaviour from a habit. For example, small wins can trigger the hormone to reprogram your brain to tell us to continue with these healthy habits. For example, an app can help you to achieve the walk scheduled for today by helping you to count each step every day. So by walking, 2000 or 5000 or 10000 steps every day, the app helps you to achieve your goal but with 1 step at a time. Similarly, if you are trying to lose weight and have a target of shedding off 50 kilograms in one year, it would be better to break it down into a realistic goal of 1 kg per week. For example, small wins can trigger the hormone to reprogram your brain to tell us to continue with these healthy habits.
  7. The same applies to financial planning goals, which should be broken into smaller target If you wish to have a target, of let’s say, accumulating one crore rupees in five years. Then, as a financial planner, I would break it down into Rupees 50,000/- per month. You may use my ready-made and easy to use SIP Calculator to do your calculations. This calculator will tell you how much you can accumulate if you start investing a fixed amount every month, for the next five years.
    SIP calculator by amount
    Download Excel Here:
  8. Ultimately, the important factor for behaviour change is to break down a bigger goal into a smaller goal, thereby ensuring that the smaller goals are Achievable, at the level of spending and managing your household expenses, leading to Little Savings and thus accumulation in the long run.

What can be the action steps now for you to start your goal tracking systems and progress systems?

  1. It is not merely having the goal clearly But by now you must have broken down the goal into small size bits. Thus, there should be a mechanism to provide feedback! And I call it the progress tracking system.
    investment tracking report

    Download Excel Here:

    This will keep reminding you that you are on track to achieving that particular goal in the long run. Have goal tracking systems in place.

  2. Thus, you must have excellent tools that can monitor your progress for each of the goals. You may ask your financial planner to give you the tools to enable you to track your goals. Your financial planner can provide tools to help you to measure and track such targets in your financial plan. Note: I have been providing all my clients with annual tracking system (see sample) for all the investments in one report, which is analysed and discussed in quarterly review meetings.
    Allocation By AMCs
    Allocation By Category
    Allocation By Goal
    Allocation By Applicant
  3. Measure your Motivation levels and reward yourself: Here, lies the motivation and the inspiration for you to see and get motivated that your goal is being monitored and you can feel happy about
  4. Keep updating your systems to help you to get Moreover, with every small goal achieved by you, (which is based on your actual investments), you get motivated to discuss your achievement at frequent intervals, like every quarter. For example, here is a monthly statement sample report. http://
    These reports have brought a lot of confidence in my client’s mind and also helped them to feel motivated to increase their investments based on the little success achieved every month. This is an example of what we practice and what we believe in!
  5. Believe that your financial goals, resources, skills, beliefs, values determine how you align all these goals eventually into
  6. Personal goals may also change over your Keep resources and time to allow change.
  7. Now, Goals can be plans in So, it would help if you kept progressing.
  8. From dreams to ideas to a wish-list, you may have identified your priorities by Now decide the trade-offs, which you are willing to swap to achieve these top-priority goals.
  9. Only you can determine these targets but, do not copy from what your friend may have as his or her Moreover, you must choose your goals, based on your values, the values that you stand for!
    financial planning
  10. Finally, these values can then be linked to your This will bring immense joy to you and your family. A) What brings you joy, what brings happiness to your family and how you wish to live your life, are all your values. B)Then to buy things with your money, is your decision. Financial Planning starts in the common factors of these two (A) and (B).

Action Plan: I have made an exclusive template for you! Download this Excel template ( download) to write your own goals, but you may require my help.

This sheet gives you ideas on what can be your financial goals and how you can prioritize them.

Your financial goals, resources, skills, beliefs, values determine how you align all these goals eventually with your actions.

So, keep planning your goals on these powerful methods. Keep tracking these goals till all your goals are accomplished. Keep rewarding yourself on every goal completion.

Be happy.

May all the joys of goal accomplishment be with you!

action plan


financial advisor in gurgaon

Taressh Bhatia is a CFPCM  cfpCERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER CM            and is the founder/partner of Advantage Financial Planner LLP – A firm Registered with SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) as RIA (Registered Investment Advisor).

If you have Liked the blog You can read more in the book – The Richness Principles.
Amazon Link:


About ADVANTAGE FINANCIAL PLANNERS LLP: The Firm is registered with Government Of India-The Ministry of Company Affairs as a partnership firm. The firm is registered with SEBI (The Securities and Exchange Board of India) as "Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) under the SEBI (Investment Advisers) Regulations, 2013. Registration with SEBI as "Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) brings more formal approach, risk profiling, disclosure, and transparency. While the firm is a fee-based investment advisor, this brings you the opportunity to get unbiased, researched, accurate, transparent and professional advice. The firm is managed by the founder and its Partner, Taresh Bhatia. The company provides financial planning advisory services from its office in Gurgaon, India. The firm specializes in investment planning, retirement planning, tax planning, personal financial planning and wealth management. About Taresh: Taresh Bhatia is CFPCM CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM. He provides fee-only financial planning advice. He has helped over 300 families plan and organizes their economic life so as to move positively towards their financial goals. Taresh is an expert on financial advice and has three decades of industry experience. Among his qualifications, he is a CFPCM CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERCM and an MBA from IMI, New Delhi. He is also a member of the Financial Planners' Guild, India (FPGI), an association of Practicing Certified Financial Planners. If you have any questions, please email us at

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