February 21, 2013

Realistic financial goals set path for success

Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Whether its money needed for a college fund, car, future home or credit card debt, it is essential to plan ahead and create financial goals.

“Financial goals enable us to properly plan where our money should be saved and spent,” said Cory Carmichael, 56th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness specialist. “For most working adults and military members the concern is not the lack of money, but rather the lack of planning and goals.”

To start, it is important to set practical goals and keep oneself accountable.

“Ensure the goals are realistic and attainable,” said Victoria Muniz, 56th FSS community readiness specialist. “Don’t set yourself up for failure with unrealistic and unspecified goals. It is so easy to become confused and discouraged. Take a step back, and tackle it again in a day or two.”

An easy way to create an achievable goal is by using the SMARTER method.

“SMARTER stands for specific, measurable, action orientated, result focused, time limited, excitable and reward,” Muniz said. “Using the SMARTER method is not only great for making financial goals but practically anything goal orientated.”

For Carmichael, the best place to start if unsure about goal planning is with debt.

“In addition to paying all bills on time, one should pay off any accounts with high interest finance charges,” he said. “I also advise having an emergency fund just in case something occurs.”

Muniz recommends sharing goals with family or close friends in order to help remain accountable as well as scheduling a time to speak with a financial counselor.

“Sit down with a financial counselor and discuss your goals and plans for today and the future,” she said. “The Airman and Family Readiness Center has financial counselors available to help with financial needs.”

While creating a goal may be the easy part, staying on track isn’t always as easy. For this, Carmichael suggests spending less than what is earned, paying all bills on time, every time and starting small while thinking big for saving money.

“The A&FRC, in addition to having trained financial counselors, has publications, guides, classes and other free resources to answer all your financial questions,” Carmichael said. “The A&FRC also provides one-on-one appointments to review and discuss budgets and spending plans. Take steps now to improve your financial fitness.”

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