Setting Realistic Goals
How realistic are your goals? Some people work hard and exceeded the goals they had when they were young. Others find their goals forever out of reach. For example, most people want to retire in their mid-sixties. That’s a goal, but is it realistic? Are they going to have a pension when they retire and, if so, how much is it? When are they going to apply for Social Security, and how much are they going to get? Will they need a retirement nest egg, and how much will be in it?
Career choices will have a big impact on these answers. A financial plan will also provide many of these answers. But a plan is only as good as the assumptions we put into it. As the old saying goes: “Garbage in, garbage out.”
The rate of return you get on the money you put aside has a huge impact on whether you reach your goals. Studies have shown that many people have an unrealistic expectation of the returns they can expect on their savings and investments. With interest rates near zero percent, putting your money in the bank is actually a losing proposition after taxes and inflation. Investing in the stock and bond markets may lead to higher returns. But the long-term returns that many people assume they can get often leads to taking unreasonable risks.
There is nothing wrong with having high goals. The best way to check to see if your goals are high, but attainable, is to talk to a fee only financial advisor. Preferably one that is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. They have the experience and the expertise to let you know if your goals are reasonable and what you can do to reach them.