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Reach Your Financial Goals

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It is a bit of a paradox. Most women make good financial decisions, yet the majority report that they will not achieve their financial goals.

71% of women surveyed by Fidelity Investments don’t think they can realistically reach their financial targets.

One reason for the gap is simply that some goals, especially those far in the distance such as college or retirement, are harder to get a handle on. With so much going on in our lives, it is easy to treat financial dreams as exactly that—dreams that we hope will happen rather than realities that we can make happen.

Fortunately, there is a solution. Taking the guesswork out of your finances can turn abstract goals into tangible realities. But you do need to take action.

Here are four steps to reaching your financial goals.

  1. Assess Your Situation. Take stock of where you stand across your financial life, including balances in your accounts, your monthly expenses, debts, etc. (For help getting organized, check out this webinar.)
  2. Set Goals. Make a list of what you really would like to achieve financially, both your short-term goals, such as saving for a down payment or upgrading your car, and long-term goals such as college, retirement, or starting your own business. Next, estimate how much money you will need to attain them. There are online calculators that can help. Even better, consult a financial advisor who can adjust those targets based on your overall financial picture.
  3. Create a Plan. Your plan is the map that takes you from where you are to where you want to be. It will include how you might adjust your spending and savings to determine how much you can realistically invest.
  4. Build Your Portfolio. Now that you know how much you can invest, you need to choose the best investments to hit your targets. Creating a portfolio that offers the right balance of risk and reward is the key to achieving your dreams. You will want to consider the mix of stocks, bonds and other investments, as well as both taxable and non-taxable accounts. A financial advisor can help you build a diversified portfolio, as well as guide you to funds, stocks, and other investments that work for you. Once your portfolio is set, you are on your way to closing the gap between what you might do and what you will do.

Learn more about securing your financial future from Joan Goodman, Vice President, Regional Planning Consultant, Fidelity Investments on September 23rd,  6:30 – 7:30PM EDT as she presents: 

Thrive – Building Your Financial Plan

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About the Author

Susan Price has been writing about careers, entrepreneurs and personal finance for more than a decade. She’s been an editor at BusinessWeek, Money, and iVillage.com, among others.