Tips for Short and Long-Term Financial Goal Planning

Summary: Securing your financial future is possible if you apply the right tips to plan short- and long-term financial goals.

A recent study found that only about 63% of Americans can easily spend $400 on emergency needs. The rest reported that “they would have paid by borrowing or selling something or said they would not have been able to cover the expense.”

If you’re in the same boat, don’t fret, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll explore some tips to help you plan your short- and long-term financial goals.

What is financial goal planning?

Financial goal planning means deciding on the steps you will take toward organizing your finances. Financial goal planning helps provide direction, purpose, and a clear vision for your money. It’s essential to have long- and short-term financial goals, as they become the building blocks for a successful financial planning process.

Short-term goals

Short-term financial goals typically have a timeline of less than a year. They’re the stepping stones that lead you to achieve your long-term objectives. Short-term goals include emergency funds, debt repayments, vacations, and short-term purchases.

Long-term goals

Long-term financial goals typically extend beyond the one-year mark and often involve substantial amounts of money. They are the foundation for helping secure your financial future and achieving key milestones in your life. Long-term goals include retirement planning, home purchases, and your children’s education.

Why do you need financial goal planning?

Many people wonder where their money goes at the end of the month. They may have a steady job, one or two side hustles and decent spending habits but may not have anything to show for it at the end of the day.

Financial goal planning not only helps motivate you to assess spending habits, but it also helps set a foundation that can contribute to a more secure financial future. If you find yourself constantly in a financial emergency, or spending money as soon as it enters your hands, it may be time to evaluate your financial life.

This evaluation is the first step toward financial planning. Setting long-term financial goals and short-term goals can be the difference between getting your finances on track and falling deeper and deeper into debt.

Tips for short-term financial goal planning

1. Create a budget

Creating a budget is the first step in your financial planning journey. You need to meticulously list your monthly income and categorize your expenses into fixed and variable costs.

This budget will provide you with a clear overview of where your money is going and empower you to make informed decisions about your spending habits. The budgeting process itself can be enlightening, revealing areas where you may be overspending and opportunities to save. Once you’ve prepared your budget, make it a point to revisit and adjust it monthly or quarterly.

2. Create an emergency fund

Establishing an emergency fund should be a top priority for short-term goals.

Aim to save at least three to six months of living expenses, as this helps ensure you have a cushion for unexpected expenses or job loss. This fund provides some peace of mind, preventing you from tapping into long-term investments during times of financial strain.

If possible, consider setting up a separate savings account specifically for your emergency fund. This separation not only helps prevent impulsive spending but also allows you to track and manage the fund more effectively.

Automate regular contributions to this account to make saving a habit and ensure that your emergency fund continues to grow as your income and expenses increase over time.

3. Pay off your debts

High-interest debt can be a significant obstacle to achieving your financial goals, so you should prioritize paying off debts with high interest rates, such as credit card balances and personal loans.

This step frees funds for savings and investments and reduces the overall financial burden on you. You can also explore debt consolidation options and negotiate interest rates with creditors to make your repayment plan more manageable.

4. Automate your savings

Automating your savings is a simple yet effective strategy to ensure a portion of your income goes directly into your savings account. Set up automatic transfers on payday, directing money to your emergency fund and other short-term savings goals.

This automation will simplify the savings process and eliminate the temptation to spend that money elsewhere.

5. Fine-tune your financial plan

Financial planning is not a one-and-done endeavor. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your budget and financial goals is important for success. Life events, changes in income, and shifting priorities can all impact your financial situation.

To keep your plans on track, schedule periodic reviews of your budget, assessing your progress toward short-term goals. Identify areas where you can improve or cut back, optimizing your financial plan for efficiency.

A proactive approach like this ensures that your financial strategy remains aligned with your current circumstances and objectives.

Tips for long-term financial goals

1. Seek guidance from a financial advisor

Navigating long-term financial goals can be complex, and having a trusted advisor by your side can make a significant difference. A qualified financial advisor can help you develop a comprehensive financial plan tailored to your unique needs and goals.

Seek out an advisor who understands your aspirations and is committed to helping you achieve them. With the experience of a Mutual of Omaha financial representative, you can confidently make informed decisions and stay on track to secure your financial future.

2. Define your long-term goals

Before embarking on the journey of long-term financial planning, you should clearly define your objectives. Figure out what you want to work toward. Whether it’s purchasing a home, funding your child’s education, or enjoying a comfortable retirement, having well-defined goals provides direction for your financial decisions.

3. Begin investing

Investing is a key component of long-term financial planning. To enhance your strategy, collaborate with a financial advisor who can guide you through a diverse range of investment opportunities, including equities, fixed income, and alternative investments.

By working together, you can navigate the complexities of various investment options and account types that align with your long-term goals. Your financial advisor will help you assess factors such as time horizon, risk tolerance, and potential tax implications, ensuring a well-informed investment strategy tailored to your financial aspirations. All investing involves risk, please consult your financial advisor for advice specific to your situation.

4. Plan your retirement

Our golden years are worth planning for, and saving toward retirement is a cornerstone of long-term financial planning.

Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, and explore additional options, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs). The power of compounding can significantly impact the growth of your retirement savings. By starting early, you give your investments more time to compound, leading to a more comfortable retirement.

5. Put money aside for your kids’ education

If funding education is part of your long-term goals, establish a dedicated savings fund for your child’s education.

529 plans, which are a popular choice, allow your contributions to grow tax-free when you use them for qualified education expenses. Contribute to the education fund as early as possible to benefit from compounding growth.

6. Purchase insurance coverage

Protecting your long-term investments and financial well-being requires adequate insurance coverage. Health insurance, life insurance, and property insurance play important roles in mitigating risks and unexpected financial setbacks.

As your financial situation evolves, you may need to adjust your insurance policies. Consider consulting with an insurance professional to evaluate your coverage and make informed decisions.

Tackle your financial goal with confidence

You can take control of your finances, but you must be ready to work toward it. Setting short- and long-term financial goals provides a roadmap for your journey to financial success.

Remember, the key is consistency—consistently saving, consistently budgeting, and consistently reassessing your goals. If you apply these tips and stay committed to your financial plan, you’ll be on your way to achieving the financial stability and freedom you desire.

At Mutual of Omaha, we remain committed to empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions. We’re ready to accompany you every step of the way, so take the first step today, and let your financial goals pave the way to a brighter future.


Registered Representatives offer securities through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representatives offer advisory services through Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc.

Mutual of Omaha and its representatives do not provide tax and/or legal advice, and the information provided herein is general in nature and should not be considered tax and/or legal advice.

Not all Mutual of Omaha agents are financial advisors.