10 Long-Term Financial Goals: Make Your Plan Now!

Examples Of Long-Term Financial Goals & How To Set Them

Today, I’d like to share a guide to long-term financial goals.

To do so, we will first answer this question. What are long-term financial goals?

And also, review these key topics related to long-term financial goals.

  • The importance of long-term financial goals
  • 10 examples of long-term financial goals
  • How to set your personal finance goals for success

With that introduction in mind, let’s dive in.

long-term financial goals

Here is a strong list of long-term financial goals examples. To consider for your financial planning efforts.

10 Examples Of Long-Term Financial Goals

  • Maximize your earning potential
  • Optimize the finances for your home
  • Eliminate all non-mortgage debt
  • Save for retirement
  • Save for your children’s education
  • Build a relationship with a money mentor
  • Create a long-term plan for your money
  • Make an end of life plan
  • Become financially independent
  • Become a millionaire

Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

I know this a long list of examples of long-term financial goals. But just consider it a list of options.

Many of them apply to all of us. For example, saving for retirement. Because the majority of us can’t or do not want to work our entire lives.

On the other hand, some will apply to just a few. For example, not everyone will want to buy a rental property. Or, desire to become a millionaire.

The choices of which long-term goals to pursue are up to you. And that’s the great thing about financial planning.

When you do it right. You create options!

Next up, I want to make sure we are clear on today’s topic. But first, a quick reminder before you go.

To check out our full library of money management and personal finance articles. There’s something for everyone to get one’s finances on the right track.

But for now, back to long-term financial goals…

What Are Long-Term Financial Goals?

Let’s start with the big picture view. What is a goal?

A goal is the desired outcome that a person envisions, plans, and commits to achieve.

Furthermore, what are financial goals? A financial goal is a result that you want to accomplish in an area of your finances.

Finally, what are long-term financial goals?

A long-term financial goal is something you want to complete related to your finances in the distant future. Most noteworthy, a goal to be accomplished in 5 or more years.

Long-term goals can be contrasted with other types of financial goals.  Like short-term and medium-term financial goals.

For example, setting up a cash emergency fund. That is a short-term financial goal. A task to be accomplished in 1 year or less.

Also, short and long-term financial goals are often related. And let me emphasize that short, long, and intermediate-term financial goals are important. For your total financial picture.

Moving right along, we need to understand the importance of long-term financial goals.

Why Are Long-Term Financial Goals Important?

Long-term financial goals by nature are challenging. They take a good number of years to complete.

So, if you do not make a plan. And start now. You may never accomplish important long-term financial goals.

Look at it this way. Do want to be 65 years old and have no retirement savings?

Or disappoint your child. Because you didn’t start a college savings plan until they turned 16?

To sum up, identifying and setting long-term financial goals is a must. Not doing so is a huge financial mistake that will haunt you later in life.

Because when it comes to your money. You can never make up for years of lost time. Stemming from the lack of foresight and planning.

Thus, even young adults and students should set long-term financial goals.

Examples of Long-Term Financial Goals

long-term financial goals examples

Now, what you have been waiting for. A comprehensive list of long-term financial goals examples. Great considerations for your financial goal planning efforts.

1. Maximize Your Earnings Potential

Many good long-term financial goals can be accomplished by making more money. So give your current situation some deep thought.

Ask yourself where you want to be in 5 years with your job, career, business, and side hustles.

Here are a few areas you can think about when it comes to maximizing your long-term earnings potential…

Invest In Yourself To Build Your Long-Term Skillsets

The best investments you can make are in yourself.  Understand what you can dominate to make a good living.  Find out what you are good at.  Then, put in the time and effort to be great at that skill.

Take advantage of every training opportunity you have access to.  What options does your employer offer?   Either on the job training or more formal continuing education are both beneficial.

The best thing about learning on the job is it has no out of pocket cost to you.  It is one way to achieve a long-term financial goal without spending money.

Plan A Career Progression With Your Current Employer

Ask your employer what is necessary to be promoted in the long-term. To make more money. 

How does your performance have to improve?  What skills do you need to obtain? What additional responsibilities do you need to take on?

Where will it lead? And how much money can you make?

Find An Employer Offering Better Long-Term Potential

Is your current employer not interested in helping you maximize your long-term compensation? Then find one that is.

Changing employers may not be the quickest way to make more money. But finding one interested in your long-term success is a gold-mine.

Resource: Improve your resume with MyPerfectResume

Start A Business (Or Maximize The One You Have)

start a business

Running your own business is no easy thing. But, get it right in the long-term. And it can be both personally and financially rewarding if you set and achieve the right financial goals for your business.

Whether you have a business and want it to be more profitable. Or, desire to set a long-term financial goal to start one. Here are a few things to consider.

Create a business plan. Consider what specific products or services you will sell. And what price will they fetch? Also, what size and scale do you need for your business to be profitable?

Take some time to figure out who is most likely to be attracted to what you have to offer.  Then, how will you get your offerings in front of them?

Create a capital plan. Money is one of the first things you’re likely to think about when starting a business.

However, most people focus on the money they can make. Instead of the cash and time required to get started and operate. Having a solid business plan will help you secure money from a 3rd party, if necessary.

Create a resource plan. When you first start running a business, getting help can be expensive. If you decide to hire employees, then you’re going to need to pay them.

And also, measure the business value they bring to your company. This is another chunk out of your capital.

However, you may go solo for a while. Then, it is still important to recognize how much time you can realistically devote to your business.  And plan for the areas where you might need some extra help down the road.

Start A Side Hustle

The list of money-making side hustles is endless these days.  The internet has matched people with goods and services to sell. With those that are willing to pay for them.

Walk dogs.  Drive for Uber.  Start a blog.  Create an e-book or product for sale.

Resource: Make some extra cash taking surveys, it’s fun too

So think about how you can work a side hustle into your long-term earnings plan.

Save For & Buy A Rental Property

Real estate is another type of side hustle to consider.  Because you can also buy a rental property.

Of course, it may take you some time to make this big investment.  So this is a long-term financial goal.

If you need a place to stay, you can also buy a rental property and keep a room for yourself. For example, in a three-unit apartment, you can live in a single unit while making a lot of money from the rest of the place.

We just talked about a place to live. This is very important in long-term financial goal setting. So, let’s cover that next in our list of good long-term financial goals.

2. Optimize The Finances For Your Primary Residence

examples of long-term financial goals

We all need to find a good place to live. And our homes are one of the biggest items in our expense budgets.

So consider these long-term financial goals. As they relate to your desired living arrangements. And how they can fit with your desires and current state of affairs.

Save For A Down Payment On A Home

Buying a home or condo in an area you desire can be a good financial goal.  But first, you must save for a down payment.

Then that down payment becomes equity in your real estate. After you make your purchase.

Rather than paying rent, your mortgage payments increase your equity ownership in your home each month.  And hopefully, the value of your home appreciates over the long run too.

Buy A Home

But perhaps you have been saving.  And have that down payment on a home ready to go.

Then pull the trigger.  Set a long-term financial goal to locate your affordable dream home.  And plan for the purchase.

Be careful here.  Owning your residence can be expensive.  Repairs, renovations, association fees all add up.  And if you have to sell, real estate commissions will take a chunk out of your equity.

Payoff Your Mortgage

Once you have saved for a down payment on a home. And pulled the trigger to make the big purchase. Well, now you have a mortgage.

Paying off your mortgage early is a great long-term financial goal.

3. Reduce Or Eliminate Non-Mortgage Debt

list of long term financial goals examples

This task should be on your list of financial goals by 50 years old. Specifically, payoff all non-mortgage debt.

And the first debt to look at is high-interest debt.  That being your credit cards.

Interest rates on credit card debt are very high.  There is no better use for your excess cash than paying off your credit card bills.

Letting credit card debt grow will cause plenty of serious financial problems down the road.

Then look at your automobile loan.  If you have one.

Next up is student loan debt.  The average interest rate on student loan debt is about 6%.  This isn’t too bad.

So, I suggest you pay off your student loan debt after your credit cards.  And after paying off your auto loan.

Everyone’s debt situation is different.  The rule of thumb is easy to remember. Pay off the highest interest debt first.  Then move onto the next highest.

And if you have created a large pile of debt you don’t know how to tackle. By all means, find a solution to this very serious financial situation.

4. Save For Retirement

a relaxed retirement

Of course, saving for a secure and comfortable retirement is a long-term financial goal. Unless you are in your 60’s, we are talking anywhere from 5-40+ years in the future.

While retirement planning may be long-term, there are several things you should consider now. Before hitting your magic number and moving to your chosen place to retire. To be successful in the future…

Contribute To Your Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

Most employers sponsor qualified retirement accounts.  They are also known as 401(k) or 403(b) plans for US residents.

These plans offer several advantages.  First, your money can be invested before any taxes are taken out. 

For example, let’s say you invest $10 and you are in the 22% tax bracket.  That means you save $2.20 in taxes.

So the $10 investment costs you only $7.80 out of your pocket.  This is a great way to stretch your investment dollars today. While trying to achieve your long-term financial goals.

Furthermore, your money grows without being taxed. Until you take withdrawals in retirement.

This puts more of your money to work each year.   Since you do not have to pay taxes on any of your investment gains or dividend income.

Finally, most employers will contribute to your retirement account.  It is called a company match.

So, make sure you participate at the minimum level to maximize the company match.  This is part of your compensation package.  Don’t waste it.

Because a secure retirement is an important long-term goal. But, saving for retirement is a financial goal you should plan for when 30 years old, at the latest

Open and Fund An IRA Account

Opening and funding an IRA is an excellent long-term financial goal.  But you need to know, there are two types of IRAs.

There is a tax-deductible IRA.  This type of IRA works similarly to your company’s 401(k) retirement plan.  Specifically, contributions are made pre-tax.

Then there is a Roth IRA.  In the case of a Roth, your contributions are made after-tax.

But you never have to pay another penny of tax after that. Even when you take withdrawals from a Roth IRA in retirement.

In the case of both accounts, your money grows without being taxed.  Throughout your pre-retirement years.

Resource: Open an IRA account with M1 Finance

5. Save For Your Children’s Education

what are long term financial goals

Not everyone has kids. And even for those who do, not every parent plans to pay for their adult children’s education.

But for those who do, the increasing cost of college is a big challenge. What is the only way to ensure your child gets the education you desire? Make a long-term financial goal. And start your child’s college fund today.

When you are ready to get started, make sure that you take a look at  529 plans. Investing in a 529 plan is one of the most efficient ways to save for your kids’ college costs.

6. Build A Relationship With A Money Mentor

I have had countless mentors over the years.  In many different areas of my life. They have been invaluable to my success.

What I am saying, is that I identified people that I liked and respected. And, had experience in an area where I did not.

So I talked to them, observed them, and listened to them.  Sometimes I emulated them.

Just look around and be aware.  There are potential mentors everywhere.  They do not have to be formal mentoring arrangements.

So find someone who has had success with money. When it comes to money, a parent, family member or close friend are the best options.  As long as they have achieved some level of success with their long-term financial goals.

Ask them questions and see what you can learn. Identify what good money habits they put into practice.

Most people are happy to talk about what they have accomplished.  And how they went about it.

7. Create a Plan For Your Money

This is more than just a budget. A budget gives you the information to expand upon your financial plan.

A long-term financial plan is a useful tool in setting other priorities for your money.  And, allows you to make a plan for every extra dollar you can create, over and above your expenses.

Letting money sit idle is an example of poor financial management. So make a plan for every extra dollar of cash that you create.

Think of your money plan like a business venture. To maximize your profits in the business of you!

Here is a pecking order of what to do with that cash.

  • Top off your emergency fund
  • Payoff debt
  • Save for your long-term goals
  • Invest

Can you start to see how these examples of financial goals are related?

By giving careful consideration to long-term financial goals. You form the basis of a financial plan.

And that plan allows you to make the right decisions with your money each day.

Resource: Use Personal Capital to manage your total financial picture

8. Create End Of Life Documents

It’s never too early to start thinking about the inevitable.  As they say, there are only 2 guarantees in life: death and taxes.

Most legal experts suggest getting these documents in place.

  • Will
  • Power of attorney for financial matters
  • Power of attorney for health care

There are more advanced methods of estate planning too.  But these are the basics everyone should have in place.

They are short-term things to take care of. But, before you can do them, you need to decide what will happen to your money when you are gone.  And that your loved one will be properly cared for. Hopefully, we are talking long term!

Our last 2 long-term financial goals are big time. Set your goals high. Be smart. Work hard. And you can make them happen.

9. Become Financially Independent

SMART financial goals

Ready to leave the 9-5?  Then set a goal to become financially independent before the traditional retirement age suggests.

The amount of money this takes is different for every person.  It depends on your annual expenses.  The age you choose. And the lifestyle you desire to lead. But, living off one’s savings and investments can definitely be accomplished.

Some people declare financial independence at a young age.  Because they live an extremely frugal lifestyle.

But if achieving financial independence is different for everyone, our next goal is not.  And, I have to say the next goal option is one of my favorite examples of long-term financial goals.

10. Become A Millionaire

Set your goal to become a millionaire.  A millionaire is a person (or household) with a net worth greater than 1 million dollars.

Net worth represents a person’s assets minus their liabilities. In other words, net worth is described as “what you own minus what you owe.” 

Then a millionaire is an individual or household that has accumulated at least 1 million dollars net worth.  They have likely achieved this by setting and accomplishing many of the long-term financial goals examples we have discussed

Okay.  Take a deep breath. Because that concludes our review of 10 long-term financial goals.

But hold on, there’s more. Next, I want to talk about setting your financial goals.

Because first, you must choose wise financial goals. Then second, you must know how to set financial goals.  Here’s how…

Setting SMART Financial Goals

defintion of long-term financial goals

I suggest you use the SMART system for setting financial goals. In this case, each of your goals should have the following 5 attributes.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Allow me to explain…

Long-Term Financial Goals Are Specific

The first step in making a SMART financial goal is to make it specific.  Answer these questions:

  • Exactly what is to be accomplished?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • Why is it important to achieve the goal?

The more details about the goal that you can document, the better. Because you will become more and more clear on exactly what you want to achieve.

Long-Term Financial Goals Are Measurable

Make your financial goals in life measurable.  To do so, answer this: what information are you going to use to measure your progress in route to the goal. And measure whether the goal has been achieved?

Fortunately, long-term financial goals tend to be easy to measure. So, make yours measurable.

Long-Term Financial Goals Are Achievable

We want to stretch ourselves.  And make challenging long-term financial goals. The types of goals that will improve our financial situation more than 5 years out.

On the other hand, there is no need to set a goal if it can’t be achieved.  By being specific, in step 1, you will come to understand whether the goal is achievable.

Also, do not try and set too many goals.  The more you have.  The less likely any one specific goal will get accomplished.

Long-Term Financial Goals Are Realistic

A realistic goal has 2 attributes.  First of all, the goal should make sense for your current financial situation.  Furthermore, make sure you have the resources to achieve the goal.

Long-Term Financial Goals Are Time-Bound

You must set a date to achieve your goal. First of all, having a deadline will increase your sense of urgency. Furthermore, a time constraint will increase your odds for success.

For long-term financial goals, your deadline should be more than 5 years from now.

Okay.  That wraps up a brief review of goal setting.  Make your goals SMART.  And you will have a better chance to achieve them.

So, take what you have from setting your SMART financial goals examples.  And write it down if you have not already done so.

Documenting your financial goals is very important.  It builds your commitment.  And the act of writing things down helps you to clarify your thoughts.

But that brings me to the next important question.  Are there other things that should be done to ensure the achievement of your long-term financial goals?  The answer is yes.

How To Achieve Long-Term Financial Goals?

money habits

I think of achieving goals in 3 steps.  Those steps are plan, act, and monitor.

Create a written action plan.  Detailing a plan may not be necessary for shorter-term goals.  It depends on the type of financial goal, and the complexity of the financial goal.

Challenging long-term financial goals probably require a plan. An action plan is nothing more than the detailed steps required to achieve your goal. Once again, just like creating a SMART financial goal, write your action plan down.

Now it’s time to act.  Work your action plan.

Next, monitor your progress. Since you used the SMART financial goal-setting process. Your goal is measurable.  And it is time-bound.

So, measure your progress as often as necessary. For long-term financial goals, it makes sense to assess your progress once or maybe twice per year.

Okay. You made it this far. And it’s time to wrap up.

We have covered a ton of information.  So now it’s time to start setting and working on an action plan towards your long-term financial goals. And take your financial decision making to the next level.

Here are some concluding thoughts…

The Complete Guide To SMART Long-Term Financial Goals: Wrap Up

make the most of your money

Step back and take a look at your long-term financial planning. And start taking the steps now to set and achieve your long-term financial goals.

In a few years, you will be glad you did. Here is a summary of today’s article.

Long-term financial goals definition: A long-term financial goal is something you want to complete related to your finances in the distant future. Specifically, it is a financial goal to be accomplished in 5 or more years.

Here’s a list of the long-term financial goals we discussed today.

  • Maximize your earning potential
  • Optimize the finances for your home
  • Eliminate all non-mortgage debt
  • Save for retirement
  • Save for your children’s education
  • Build a relationship with a money mentor
  • Create a long-term plan for your money
  • Make an end of life plan
  • Become financially independent
  • Become a millionaire

Use the SMART system for setting financial goals by making them:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Finally, get busy by:

  • Making a step by step plan for each goal
  • Taking action
  • Monitoring your progress

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Disclosure & Disclaimer: I am not a licensed investment adviser, financial adviser, or tax professional. And I am not providing you with individual investment advice, financial guidance, or tax counsel. Furthermore, this website’s only purpose is information & entertainment. And we are not liable for any losses suffered by any party because of information published on this blog.

Plan, Set, & Achieve Your Long-Term Financial Goals