financial goals list

How to Use Simple Lists to Set Better Goals & Make Smarter Financial Choices

What are your top three financial goals?

How do you think your goals could change after doing one simple exercise?

Any of us can answer that first question pretty easily. We can spit out a few generic goals off the top of our heads. When we do, though, we're probably cheating ourselves.1 That's because setting goals off the top of our heads isn't a really productive way to choose our investment strategies or make financials plans.1 And it's certainly not the best way to prioritize our goals or keep them in focus.1 The truth is one very simple exercise can help us set better goals.1 With that, we're far more likely to be successful in achieving them.2

What exercise can help us? Simply using a "master list."1 Let's find out how it all works, by looking at the captivating findings of a recent study and what it tells us about the benefits of using lists in financial goal setting.1 Then, we'll see if your goals change for the better after you do the quick (~2-minute) master list exercise.

How to Start Improving Your Goals Now: Check Out a Master List

It's time to see what a master list could do for you and your financial goals. Think about your top three financial goals again. Better yet, write them down if you can. Now, take a look at the master list of goals below1. Keep your goals in mind as you read through each option.

Unbelievable & REAL Payoffs of Using Lists to Set Your Big Financial Goals

1: Lists can change our top goals

What's your number one financial goal right now?

Retiring or buying a house is most folks' answer to that question.1 At least 1 in 4 changed one of their top goals, though, after they look at a master list.1 And nearly 3 in 4 changed one or more of their top three goals after seeing a master list.1

Benefit: Lists can help us see our main objectives and big-picture goals more clearly.1

2: Lists can refine our goals

How specific are your financial goals?

Many of us don't set the most defined goals right out of the gate.1 And unspecific goals can sabotage our success.3 But after looking at a master list, more than 1 in 4 folks will end up clarifying their top goal, moving away from a generic goal, and setting a more specific one.1


Because a list can elaborate on generic goals and reveal more of the intent behind them.1 In fact, many folks who've said they want to "grow wealth" as their top financial goal will change that after looking at a list, picking a more specific goal showing WHY they wanted to grow their wealth.1

3: Lists correct our misconceptions about our goals

How much does a limited understanding of finance factor into your financial goals?

Lists can help you answer that question and see what those misconceptions may be.1 That's because any of us can be misled by common misunderstandings about money and finance.4 A clear example of that shows up in the area of paying down debt. More than 1 in 4 folks whose top goal is to pay down debt change that goal after seeing a master list.1


Because they realize that saving for retirement and paying down debt aren't tradeoffs.1

Benefit: Lists can inform and educate us about our options. Lists can also set the record straight when our thinking or facts are off base.1

4: Lists can reveal the emotions behind the financial goals

How much do your emotions factor into your financial goals?

They could be a bigger factor than you realize, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, even though emotional decisions aren't always the best in finance, they can help with goal setting.1 That's because our emotions can get to the real purpose behind our goals, answering the "why" of it all.1 That becomes really clear when we see how many folks end up changing their top goal after looking at a master list.1 At least half will revise their top goal to be an emotion-based goal, like "feeling more secure with finances" or "not feeling like I'm a financial burden to my family as I grow older."1 Plus, the emotional rewards we get from achieving our goals can be just as valuable as any financial returns.1

Benefit: Lists can show us how emotionally rewarding our financial goals can be — and how it's not just all about the numbers and bottom line.1

5: Lists can help us see our cognitive blind spots

What do you really want out of your financial goals — and life? How will that make you happy?

Believe it or not, many of us don't really know what we want.1 We don't truly understand our preferences, and we may not even know what actually makes us happy.1 With that, it can be pretty challenging to prioritize our goals.1 Lists can turn that around, though.1 They can help us dial into what we actually want and better understand where our happiness lies.1

Think about this on a smaller scale, like when you're going out to eat and you don't know what to order. That "Aha!" moment when you see something that sounds great — and that you didn't know you wanted — until that exact moment you saw it on the menu is a little moment of self-discovery. Those discoveries can happen with lists in your financial life and goal setting too.1

Benefit: Lists help us learn more about ourselves, what we want, and what's really going to make us happy. Lists can also help us sort out our priorities and set goals that are truly important to us.1

How many of your goals changed after reading that list?

How did your goals change?

This exercise can be wonderfully eye-opening, whether or not any of your goals change after looking at a master list. Why? Because many of us are strangers to ourselves and simple lists can help us figure out what's really going on in our heads.1 In fact, lists can work better than open-ended questions and sophisticated techniques when we're setting goals. That's because a simple list can open our eyes, helping us see the big picture and what we want from it. Lists can also make our goal setting more effective, motivating us and keeping us on track as we work towards our goals.

So can the knowledgeable professionals we trust.


Beacon Advisors

Beacon Financial Group

(972) 726-9888