The Secret to Successful Financial Goal Setting for Families
Achieving financial goals is about making different choices. But for many people (of all ages), "choices" is code for "restrictions." So it's no wonder that setting money goals as a family can be a serious challenge. You might be met with crossed arms and a few eye rolls, but setting family money goals can teach kids about the importance of saving before they leave home — as well as help you achieve the goals you set.
If the last time you tried to set financial goals as a family you were met with "This is so boring," or similar comments, we encourage you to try these tactics to make financial goal setting more fun.
Get Everyone's Input
Let each member of the household suggest a family goal. Giving every family member a voice in the goal setting process not only builds commitment, but it can spark great ideas. Place everyone's suggestions in a bowl or hat and have the youngest family member randomly pick out the winning goal.
Set Goals Every Family Member Can Enjoy
If a goal would only be fun for the youngest family members or for the adults, someone is going to resist. A financial goal that the entire family would enjoy might include a weekend trip or a theme park visit. A "boring" goal, such as paying down a credit card balance, might only be exciting for the whole family if there are fun rewards along the way. Goals centered on adult activities, like visiting a vineyard, should be separate from family goals.
Make it Visual
Having a visual reminder of your family's financial goals is a surefire way to help maintain focus. You might design a vision board full of pictures of your goal. Or, if you prefer to go digital, your family can create a Pinterest board that contains a collection of online images, quotes, and other visual reminders to stay on track.
When you or other family members are tempted to spend money on non-necessities, your vision board acts as a reminder of why skipping that impulse buy is the best decision for your financial future.
Keep Motivation High
Some financial goals take months — or even years — to achieve. When you're trying to achieve a family financial goal, focusing on what you have to give up can make it harder. You might find yourself or other family members wanting to abandon the goal. This is why it's essential to have a reward system in place.
For example, if your family's financial goal is to save $1,000 for holiday expenses, consider setting a reward each time your family saves $250. The rewards should be small or free, so they don't take away from the progress you've made. But they should be something everyone can enjoy to keep that motivation going strong.
Put Younger Family Members in Charge
Give your little ones and teens responsibility in the goal setting process to help them learn about responsible money management. They could be the goal record keepers, coin counters, or even run the family meetings where you review your progress. Your younger family members might also be the best source for determining the rewards that will keep motivation high.
Remember to keep goal setting fun. While setting and achieving financial goals requires a change in spending habits, your family can enjoy the process every step of the way. The feeling of accomplishment and time spent with your family before, during, and after achieving your goal can be priceless.