Last updated on June 25th, 2023 at 09:56 pm
Everyone dreams of living a comfortable life; it requires adequate planning and deploying the best strategies to bring such dreams to fulfilment. The same is applicable to a person who plans to retire early and save for their child’s college fund.
Savings for retirement, paying off housing loans, and savings for your kid’s education are some of the long-term financial goals you should have strategies for. Of course, there might be some challenges, it is important to plan to mitigate unforeseen circumstances that might impede you from achieving your future financial goal.
Table of Contents
What are long-term financial goals?
Long-term financial goals are monetary objectives you set for yourself and strategically want to achieve years ahead. Setting long-term financial goals gives you the inspiration to keep your head up in whatever you do and helps you make better decisions.
This is different from short-term. While short-term goals are designed to meet immediate needs, long-term goals take years, for a country, it takes centuries, it is like what you see far ahead of you and want to ‘take’ or achieve.
It is basically based on the principle that small efforts add up to become big. In this post, we explore the strategies you can use to achieve your long-term financial goal, and of course, with examples and real-life scenarios on how to small savings to achieve great things:
How to create a long-term financial strategy
Creating a financial strategy can seem to be impossible, but determination and prudence can make you achieve what seemed impossible in years to come. Here are six strategies you can use to make it possible.
1) Set a realistic timeline
First, you have to set a realistic timeline for yourself. To do this, you will want to factor in your income, taxes and your well-being. Saving for retirement, for example, is a long-term goal that will take years and proper planning. That’s why saving for retirement is something you have to start the first day at work even if you’re self-employed. A realistic timeline is important.
2) Reduce Spending
Even countries cut spending to save for other important things. You will have to reduce spending if you want your long-term planning to yield something you would be proud of.
To achieve this, you have to critically look at areas to cut. For instance, instead of eating at an eatery three times a day, you can cook at home to save more. It may be challenging, but it is achievable. Someone who wants to save on fuel (gas), for instance, is encouraged to use a gas app to compare prices.
3) Have a budget
You should have a budget that outlines your spending. You want to know what’s coming (income) and what’s going out (expenditure).
When your expenses are higher than your income, that’s a deficit, it will impede you from achieving your financial goals and put you in financial stress.
4) Put savings in autopilot
Savings automation is one of the best ways to make progress when saving for the future. You can do this by setting up an automatic transfer scheduled from your accounts to a savings account. This prevents you from exceeding your budget over time. Putting savings in autopilot eliminates the issue of spending temptation.
5) Motivate yourself
A strict budget should not be designed to punish yourself. Budgeting should leave you with some dollars at the end of the month or year, you can reward yourself for it, it is called self-motivation. This can spur you to even do more!
6) Increase cash inflow
Another strategy to achieve a long-term financial goal is to increase sources of income. Starting a side hustle or part-time job can help you to increase the amount of money you put into your future goal.
7) Get perspective from a financial advisor
Sometimes it may be challenging to determine the best financial strategy for your needs, seeking opinions and advice from financial or investment experts may help you to avoid some avoidable mistakes.
8) Monitor your progress
Am I making progress? To get an answer to this question, you have to keep an eye on your progress at the end of the year. Login to the dashboard of whatever you are saving towards to see the progress you’re making.
Examples of long-term financial strategy
If you’ve ever wondered how to plan an actionable long-term financial goal, here is three examples with scenarios and how you too can make planning for future work for you:
- On savings for retirement
- Paying your child’s college fees
The scenario on saving retirement
Michael (not a real name) is a 30-year-old professional working in the health sector.
He hopes to have a comfortable retirement where he can have financial security and be able to travel to her dream destinations. He weighs his option and concludes that he would retire at the age of 65.
Based on his estimated expenses, he concludes that he will need an annual income of $60,000 USD in today’s dollars value during retirement to keep up with his desired standard of living.
To have a retirement of his dream, David takes the following steps to achieve his long-term financial goal:
Set a retirement savings target
David follows the general rule of thumb, which is aiming to replace about 70-80% of his pre-retirement income during retirement. Remember, he wants an annual retirement income of $60k USD, he multiplies this amount by 80% to get a target income of $48,000 per year.
Definitely, inflation would have reduced the value of his savings at retirement. But to optimally guide against it, he assumes an average inflation rate of 2% per year.
Since he is planning for a 35-year retirement horizon, he calculates he will need approximately $93,366 USD per year in his final year of working (at age 65) to match his desired income after adjusting for inflation.
Assess current retirement savings
He reviews her existing retirement savings and discovers that he has $50,000 in his retirement account.
Choosing low-risk investment
David plans to invest his retirement savings in a diversified portfolio of bonds, stocks, and other assets. He consults with an investment advisor and decides on an asset allocation that aligns with his risk tolerance and long-term goals.
Using historical market performance and projected returns, his investment advisor estimates an average return of 7% on her investment portfolio over the long term.
Calculating the required savings
He concludes with the help of a retirement calculator and his investment advisor that he needs to save approximately $5,000 per year.
Creating a retirement savings plan
David sets aside $417.67 each month for retirement savings which he incorporates into his monthly budget. He therefore automates the savings to his retirement account.
Review and adjustment
Financial situations may change over time, David continues to reassess his savings strategy and progress at least a year. If there is a salary increase or raising more kids, then you need to review and adjust your saving plan.
The scenario of creating a college fund for your kid
Example of how to create a long-term financial goal for a college fund for your child.
Doris is a 35-year-old parent. She wants to provide her only daughter with the opportunity to pursue higher education without incurring excessive student loan debt.
She is aware of the rising costs of college education. She wants to start early savings to build a substantial college fund for her 5-year-old daughter. Doris’ projection is that her daughter will be ready to attend college at age 18.
What does she do?
Doris maps out a plan for a long-term financial goal that will cater for her daughter’s college fund:
Projecting costs of attending college
She gathered enough information and found that the current cost of a 4-year degree in a public university is approximately $30,000 USD per session. Meaning she would need at least $120,000 for her daughter’s college expenses.
Coming up with a realistic savings target
She understands that it may be challenging to cover her daughter’s college expenses for a 13-year period. At the same time, she realizes that she can save up to $80k which represents two-thirds of the projected costs.
She hopes that her daughter could potentially enjoy scholarships, grants, part-time jobs or other funding sources to cover the remaining one-third.
Opting for different savings plans
She asks herself: what are the savings options available for college funding? She consulted with a financial advisor and was convinced that 529 savings plans are the way to go.
529 savings plans offer tax advantages specifically for education savings.
Setting a savings goal
At this stage, first, Doris evaluates her present financial situation, and second determines how much she can afford to save per month towards her daughter’s college fund.
And finally, she analyzed her budget that concluded that she will be able to save $300 every month.
Selecting a profitable investment strategy
She needs to put the money in an account where it will grow, she chooses to invest in stocks and bonds. Based on historical performance, she will be able to get 5% annual return on the funds.
She automates her savings within the 529 plan. And finally, she reviews and makes adjustments where necessary to accommodate unforeseen expenses.
While these financial strategies would assist you to achieve your long-term financial goal, it is important to know that every plan is not the same.