Begin with the End in Mind – Setting your Financial Goals

Principles of personal development, leadership, and wealth attraction all teach you to start with your goals. Have a vision. Begin with the end in mind.

I borrow from The Secret to illustrate the impact of goal-setting.

Imagine yourself driving across the state in the dark. Your headlights show you only the next 200 meters. You’ll probably still get to your destination. You won’t always know how to get there…

Shop around

Aside from going to retail stores and dealerships, you can also try:

Compare prices online or in different stores. Find out the features you want and look for product reviews. If you decide to buy online, check for warranty and seller reputation.

Take a test drive

Get a feel for what you want to have. If it’s a car, shop around and try sitting in the driver’s seat. Better if you can borrow from a friend and take a test drive. If it’s a house or a condo, pick up the phone or drop in and inquire about prices. Take an ocular inspection – that means actually going to the unit and getting a feel of the place. Imagine yourself living in it.

Having a clear picture in your mind of what you’re working hard for will get you through tough times. My aunt wrote a checklist of stuff she wanted 20 years ago. She’s ticked everything off, including her own house with a pool in the backyard. Nicole also found that setting goals has helped her realize her goals of reducing her student loans and build her savings account.

Write it down and be SMART

Financial goals have to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART).

These are NOT goals:
– Buy a condo unit
– Buy a 3-bedroom condo unit
– Buy a 3-bedroom condo unit at the Fort (getting better…)
– Buy a 3-bedroom condo unit at the Fort, with parking space, where my family will live in 2008. (almost)


Save for a P400,000 down payment for a 3-bedroom
condo unit at the Fort, with parking space, where my family will live in 2008. Will stay liquid for monthly amortizations for 15 years after.

That’s more like it. Now it’s your turn.

Do the same for major purchases within the next 3 years (short-term goals), 3-10 years (intermediate-term goals), and for 10 years from now (long-term goals). To help you ease into being so “goal-oriented”, you can start with smaller goals.

To illustrate, I’ve listed some goals that are common. Thinking about the specifics now makes the goal more real and helps you assess how to get it.

  • short-term goals
    • getting an MBA – decide which school, how much is tuition, how long will you take it, part-time or full-time?
    • get married (or get yourself a steady girlfriend!) – How big a wedding will it be? Can you split costs?
    • rent or buy your own apartment – How much to deposit and advance? Furniture and appliances?
    • buy your first car – New or prior-owned? Brand?
  • intermediate-term goals
    • travel! – Where? By yourself or with family? Do you want to be away for months at a time?
    • buy a family home
    • start a business
    • children’s primary education
  • long-term goals
    • retire at age 60 – Live here or abroad? Will you still work? Do you want to have hobbies or go to the casino or just stay at home?
    • Health care – Are you fine with just having Philhealth? Depending on your children is not a “plan”.
    • Children’s high school and college education – Do you want to send them good schools?


When you have about 15 goals written down, you can use the Prioritizer to help you, um, prioritize.

So many needs and wants — and the young ones still have time on their side! So get started envisioning yourself getting what you want.

Spending P160 on a movie at Greenbelt once a week for this year could have grown to P30,000 in 10 years (if you had instead put that same money in an investment that yields 12% annual return). That could easily go to your kids’ tuition.

Having these goals written down and with priorities should remind you every time you want to splurge on WANTS.


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