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Money Management

Setting Realistic Timelines for Financial Goals

Financial plans aren’t established in a single week.

It’s nice when you reach a point of financial homeostasis. The bills are paid, there’s money in the bank and more coming, and no major curveballs coming in the immediate future. Unfortunately, though, books rarely stay balanced, whether due to the conditions of the world or a newborn necessity in your life. When you need to make a big investment for a life-vital service like a home, a car, education, or retirement, you need to nail down an iron-clad plan and stick to it to ensure you have enough money to cover that cost and keep yourself going. One of the most important aspects of that plan is a reasonable timeline.

Depending on your level of income, some expenses will require you to set aside large quantities of money from your regular funds. The tricky thing about this is that you need to strike a balance between setting aside money and supporting yourself; setting aside more money will accomplish your goal faster but may force you to live in poor conditions. Setting aside less money will help you maintain your lifestyle, but will require a much longer wait.

You’ll need to conduct some quick and dirty arithmetic to determine how much money you can safely set aside without endangering yourself, and how long it’ll take for that saved money to reach your desired goal. Depending on the size of the expense, it could take multiple years, but that’s okay. Even a short-term expense could take up to a year, but if you’re okay with waiting and that’s the best method you have, then it’s perfectly fine to play the long game. The most important thing is to commit to it. Once you’ve got the plan, you should try your best to stick to it like glue, lest your calculations get messed up.

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