Setting financial goals -
how to set money goals

Here’s the first step to sorting our finances: working out where we want to be moneywise and what our priorities are. Setting financial goals helps us focus our money and our lives. Goals can be short or long term, small or large, but they all need to be achievable. Many of us tend to underestimate how much we can achieve over time!

How to set money goals

  • It helps to be specific, realistic, and to write them down. Keeping each goal simple and giving it a timeframe and a dollar amount is ideal.
  • We can set some big money goals – like saving an emergency fund, buying a home in the next five years or saving for retirement (this could be the biggest money goal of all).
  • Some smaller financial goals can help us get there – like saving for a deposit or paying off credit cards.


Try the Sorted goal planner

Saving and paying off debt

Financial goals are often about saving or paying off debt:

  • If we have high-interest debt, like credit card or hire purchase, the main goal should be to pay that debt off first and as soon as possible. This could involve restructuring the debt into lower-interest loans.
  • Saving two to three months’ income for an emergency fund can help us and our family if anything unexpected happens. It’s a good idea to have this fund in a savings account separate from our normal everyday bank account.
  • If we have a mortgage and can afford to increase our repayments, a goal may be to save on interest by paying off the loan faster.
  • The earlier we start saving for retirement the better. Even a small amount saved every week or month can add up to a lot over time.

Taking action

Actions are the steps we take to reach our goals. Here are some examples:

  • If a goal is to save for a house deposit, one action may be to open a savings account by next pay day and save $50 a week into this new account.
  • If a goal is to save for retirement (or to save for a deposit on a first home), we might find out about making the most out of KiwiSaver.
  • If we pay our mortgage monthly, our goal could be to change to fortnightly repayments of at least half the amount we were paying each month. Because there are 26 fortnights a year, this will pay off the mortgage faster and save on interest.

Reviewing goals

In six months or a year, let’s review those goals. And when we achieve a goal, let’s celebrate! Then we can set new ones to work towards.

New Year is a great time to think about goals – write those resolutions down!

Planning in a relationship

Life’s a lot easier when we’re on the same page with our partner about the future. Both partners need to be involved in the process of setting goals and making a financial plan.

Guide to planning in a relationship

Net worth

Knowing our net worth – the difference between what we own and what we owe – is an important part of setting financial goals and building a financial plan. It’s the way to know whether we’re getting ahead or not.

Guide to net worth

Don’t know where to start?

Check out our 6 steps Get Sorted program to get you on track.

Head to the 6 steps