More For Your Money - University of Illinois Extension

Values and Goals


After you have decided what’s most important to you, set some goals.  Goals are what you hope and plan to achieve in the future. They are something to work for.  They are different than dreams or “New Year’s Resolutions.” 

Goals are based on your values.  For example, if education is something you value and your goal is to have your children attend college, you will probably need to begin a savings plan to be sure that you have enough money when the children are college age.

Goals can change as your interests, income, life-style, and personal circumstances change.  If you get laid off your job, for example, you will probably have to change some goals that are not as important. 

The first step is to identify your goals – or what you want to get done.  Some goals are short term – this week, month, or year.  These might be enough money to buy groceries for the week, shoes for your children, or a new coat.  Some are for later – one to 3 years – such as paying off your credit card debt.  Other goals are for the future – perhaps 5 years and beyond – and might include saving for a college education for your children or buying a house.

To be successful, goals should be SMART:

  1. Specific – This is what you plan to do.
  2. Measurable – You should be able to tell if you are achieving your goal.
  3. Agreed Upon – “ This is something everyone in our household agrees should be done”.
  4. Realistic – Goals fail if they are not realistic or achievable.
  5. Timed – Goals should have beginning and ending dates.