How to prioritize which financial goal to focus on first

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How do you know which financial goal to prioritize first?

I got a comment on my YouTube channel that said “I have a lot of goals a lot of things I want to do I want to plan for retirement my kids’ college pay down debt upgrade my house buy a new car save for vacations. How do I know what to do first?”

When it comes to deciding which debts or goals or things I want to prioritize because we cannot do it all at the same time.

I feel like when it comes to personal finance it’s one of the areas where we just expect it to all be done at the same time. I think our default mode is to look at what our peers are doing and what other people in their 30s are doing and you see they’re upgrading their kitchens and buying new cars and going on vacations. 

I don’t have the money to do all of those things at once. But we feel like we should be in this area of our life we should be able to afford all these things at the same time because we’re constantly inundated with these messages of excess and availability and in I don’t want to say entitlement but – entitlement. 

Our parents’ generation only really had this messaging from television and movies and magazines and we get it constantly every time we pick up our phones. 

We all know social media is a highlight reel so you may see someone posting going to Jamaica and then coming home and driving their new SUV and then painting their kitchen green but what you don’t know is they have a crippling amount of credit card debt or they may make a lot more money than you or that vacation was a gift from their parents.

We don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s pocketbook. We can only focus on what is in front of us right then and there and not what we should be doing but living in the reality of what we actually have available to us.

We have to live in the reality of what is in our bank accounts, what is coming in our paychecks, and what we have budgeted for. Accepting where we are, brings a lot of peace. Blocking out that noise of what we should be doing and what others are doing is a huge component of contentment.

Break things down into long-term goal and short-term goals

A short-term goal is something that’s going to happen in the next six to 12 months. 

A long-term goal is something that’s going to happen in the next five years or beyond.

My short-term goals include:

putting more money into savings

Paying my college tuition

Maxing out my Roth IRA

Maxing out my husband’s 401k 

Saving for a vacation

Saving for a car

My long-term goals are:

paying for my kids’ college

Having enough to retire

Putting in a swimming pool

Redoing my bathroom

I want to retire in 30 or some odd years when I’m in my 60s. I don’t have to come up with all the money right now that I need to retire I’m not going to save up three million dollars in the next month. I have 30 years of continued investment to come up with a plan to retire I have 30 years of continuing to every week put money aside every month.

I will continue to live with the intention to live within my means it’s everyday choices that have a domino effect on everyday choices that lead to big results and big outcomes.

 I also look at what are my immediate needs

I have a set amount that I need to have in my bank account to be comfortable and feel safe. 

It’s all about taking everything that we want to do and need to do and lining it up in the correct order. 

We have to focus on the immediate need first. If I have a crack in my Foundation upgrading my kitchen isn’t gonna solve that problem, I need to address that immediate need first.

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