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Whether you hope to buy a home or retire comfortably (or both!), financial goals can often seem too big and like they will take too long to reach. Dealing with your personal finances may feel like just another thing on your to-do list. That can cause stress, but ignoring the problem will not eliminate it, so it’s important to work toward reducing your financial stress as well as meeting your financial goals. It’s a good idea to determine what you want your financial future to look like and work to make your goals a reality. Below are some tips to maximize your chances for success and minimize your stress.

Be Realistic & Prioritize

No matter what your goals or your lifestyle, it is important to set aside time in your schedule to plan and manage your financial goals. This can be something you schedule once a month or even once a week. If it’s in your calendar, you will be less likely to forget it and more likely to prioritize it over whatever else comes up.

Setting small, actionable and realistic goals can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Be sure you can achieve the ideals you set for yourself within your current budget so you know exactly where you stand for your future. Meeting your goals can not only position you for future financial success, but can give you a feeling of accomplishment that can propel you to make strides in other areas of your life.

Track Progress

In our hectic lives, we may find it hard to fit in financial tracking — but this can make the difference between retiring early in your dream home and working two jobs just to pay off debt well into old age. Keeping track of how you are spending and saving your money as well as progress on those realistic goals you set helps keep you accountable. Plus, life happens, and unexpected expenses can arise that may lead you to re-evaluate and adjust your plans. Regularly checking on your progress, as well as if your goals still fit, can go a long way to help you meet them.

Ask for Help

Navigating the struggles of personal finance can be difficult on your own. Successful money management and financial planning may include fine print, confusing laws or policies and procedures you are unfamiliar with. Reaching out to a professional and using online tools can help you create and manage your budget, set savings goals like having enough money for retirement, and even help handle major purchases. In addition, monitoring your credit standing (which you can do using free tools on Credit.com) can help you see whether you need to improve your credit habits. Having better credit gets you access to lower interest rates, which means you spend less on your loans over time. Every little bit you save can help.

While everyone’s situation is different, setting goals and fitting them into your life can apply to everyone. It’s important to remember that long-term goals won’t succeed unless you start planning for them in the short term.

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