From Aspiration to Action: The Power of SMART Financial Goals

When you watch the news headlines today, there is talk of a looming recession in 2024, inflation continues to be a problem, and market volatility continues due to world geopolitical events. A highly contested presidential election may exacerbate all of this further. So, what does this mean for you, and how can you prepare for a potentially volatile year when you invest in the securities markets?  

At Cogent Strategic Wealth, we employ SMART financial goal planning for our clients, who are successful entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals who are looking for sophisticated wealth management solutions. Our unique Design Build Protect strategic approach fosters an immersive, personalized experience that delves deep into your goals and aspirations, helping us craft a tailored wealth-building strategy designed to empower you to live life on your terms.

Setting clear, actionable financial goals can help you plan and pursue your financial aspirations in a disciplined manner that takes the guesswork that produces results. 

In this blog, we’ll look at the five components of SMART financial goal planning and discuss how this best practice can be of assistance to you.  

  • Specific
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Be Specific When Defining Your Financial Aspirations and Goals

Defining your financial goals should be done using realistic, objective guidelines. That’s because not all financial goals are created equal. You should identify what’s most important to you by determining your specific goals. This ensures you allocate your resources, such as time and money, to pursue your most important goals.

When you set specific financial goals, it gives you something tangible to work towards. It can be motivating to see progress by achieving milestones along the way. This motivation can help you stay committed to your financial plan, even when faced with challenges.

Without clear goals, you may be more susceptible to impulsive financial decisions. Specifying your goals can act as a buffer against making choices that don’t align with your long-term objectives.

Set Measurable Goals

Once you’ve identified your specific goals, you want to make sure the goals you have established can be measured over short and long periods. This means quantifying your goal with specific metrics and timelines. Here are two examples of measurable financial goals:

Example #1: Retiring Early

  • Objective: To achieve financial independence and retire from full-time employment.
  • Measurement: Accumulate at least $5 million in retirement savings and investments by 2030, creating a lifetime of spendable income.
  • Timeline: Retire by the age of 55.

Example #2: Creating a Charitable Giving Strategy

  • Objective: Develop a charitable giving strategy to support causes that are important to you.
  • Measurement: Allocate 20% of discretionary income yearly to charitable organizations.
  • Timeline: Continue contributions until retirement, then 5% a year after that.

Create Achievable Goals

Your financial goal should be realistic and achievable based on your current financial situation. Setting realistic and objective goals makes you more likely to achieve them, contributing to long-term satisfaction. You stay focused when you have attainable goals to measure and track.

Setting goals that challenge you but are still within reach is important. 

Watch our video, How Working With an Objective Advisor Can Make a Difference.”

Generate Realistic Financial Goals 

Your financial goals should align with your overall financial plan and life objectives. They should be meaningful to you and your family while contributing to your financial well-being. Consider the impact of achieving life-long goals on future generations.

Set Timely Expectations

Setting deadlines or timeframes for pursuing your financial goals creates a sense of urgency and motivation. Some goals may be attainable in a few years, while others take a lifetime.

Finding the Right Wealth Management Partner to Help You Execute SMART Financial Goals

When managing your wealth, many options exist. First, determining which wealth management firm is right for you can take time to find, research, and decide. It’s important to note that choosing a wealth management partner is more than just the numbers. It’s about finding someone with experience helping people like you achieve their goals.

The right wealth management team can help you identify your choices and make the right financial decisions. Then, they track those decisions to ensure you achieve your financial goals.

That’s where we come in. At Cogent Strategic Wealth, think of us as your financial co-pilots, helping you navigate today while staying laser-focused on the future. Using our unique Cogent Conversations in our Design Build Protect strategic approach, we dig deep to understand what drives you. We want to understand who you are and your values, dreams, and vision for the future.

Design | Build | Protect Process

There are three parts to the process that we use during our Cogent Conversations:

Design Phase: This is where we get to know you, your concerns, and your goals. Often called the “discovery” phase, we’ll work together to dive deep into your current financial circumstances and aspirations. A deep dive includes your past experiences, tolerance for various types of risk, and comfort level for various investment strategies. We’ll discuss every angle of your financial situation and personal circumstances to craft a financial strategy that is unique to you.

Build Phase: Now comes the exciting part. Using industry research and proven financial strategies, we identify “smart” investment strategies with a high probability of achieving your life’s goals. At Cogent Strategic Wealth, we specialize in evidence-driven investing, a proven investment approach that utilizes empirical research and data-driven insights to guide our investment decisions. The goals could be early retirement, charitable intent, or a legacy for future generations. We also employ tax-efficient investing as an essential component of wealth management for high-net-worth individuals like yourself. Our experienced financial professionals will work closely with you to develop customized strategies that align with your unique financial objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizons.

Once we have your final approval, the action begins.

Protect Phase: We don’t believe in “set-it-and-forget-it,” “one size fits all,” or a passive approach to managing assets you have worked hard to accumulate. Our management process is proactive and continuous. This is how we ensure you’re on the right track through regular assessments and frequent updates and guidance. 

Our focus extends beyond the numbers—we’re here to optimize your retirement plan, tax strategies, and investing. Then, we will fine-tune your plan to align it with your objectives and keep you fully informed about your progress.

When you collaborate with Cogent Strategic Wealth, you’re not just gaining a financial plan—you’re gaining a committed partner who stays by your side for your entire financial life: The accumulation, preservation, and distribution phases. Trust, openness, and pursuing your goals are at the heart of our relationship.
As fee-only fiduciary financial advisors in Chicago, we offer sound advice with your best interest at heart. To learn more about Cogent Conversations, connect with us.

biggest threats to wealth
Avatar photo

Cogent Strategic Wealth

View more Resources from Cogent Strategic Wealth.

Recent Articles

Building a Legacy for Loved Ones: It is More Than Just Money
Building a Legacy for Loved Ones: It is More Than Just Money
“Legacy.” It’s a big word with different meanings for millions of American families. As someone who’s done very well for yourself, we understand how important...
Investment Tactics for Estate Plans: Guide for Affluent Investors
Investment Tactics for Estate Plans: Guide for Affluent Investors
Let’s say you’re planning a lifetime trip to trek through the Himalayas. You wouldn’t go mountain climbing without proper planning and the equipment to scale...

Success should be a reward - not an obstacle

Your ambitions and struggles are unique, so our wealth solutions go beyond the conventional – they reflect your needs and wants.