25 Examples of Short-Term Financial Goals to Set Right Now

To Accelerate Your Personal Financial Success Sooner Rather Than Later

Today, I’d like to share the best examples of short-term financial goals.

And review these key areas related to the topic:

  • What are short-term financial goals
  • The importance of financial goal setting
  • 25 examples of short-term financial goals
  • How to set your personal finance goals for success

That’s our agenda. So, let’s dive right in.  To supercharge your financial planning efforts…

Examples Of Short-Term Financial Goals

Here are the best short-term financial goals examples for your consideration:

  • Assess your current money state
  • Establish an emergency fund
  • Put the right insurance in place
  • Establish a monthly budget
  • Reduce expenses
  • Save for something you value
  • Put money away for something fun
  • Save for a down payment on a home
  • Improve your credit score
  • Refinance your debt
  • Reduce or eliminate non-mortgage debt
  • Negotiate a pay increase
  • Get a higher-paying job
  • Start a side hustle
  • Declutter and sell your stuff for cash
  • Rent out a room in your home
  • Rent out your vacation home
  • Start investing
  • Invest in yourself
  • Invest in your employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Open and invest in an IRA account
  • Open and invest in a health savings account
  • Read an investing book
  • Create a plan for your money
  • Create your end-of-life documents
  • Set financial goals

With that list in mind. Let’s dig deeper. So you too can achieve financial success sooner rather than later.

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

Getting Started With Your Short-Term Financial Goals

I know this is a long list of short-term financial goals examples.  However, just consider them your options.

First of all, each person’s situation is different.  My money goals shouldn’t be your goals. And vice-versa.

Furthermore, choose and accomplish just a few of them from the list. And you will find yourself in a better financial position very soon.

Finally, if you have no idea where to start. I suggest tackling the first 5 goals on the list.  Doing so will bring your finances a long way towards success.

Maybe you have already accomplished the first 5 short-term financial goals examples?  If so, congratulations.

Then level up your finance game by choosing 5 more from the list. And, nail them this year. For success with money.

Next up, let’s make sure we are clear on today’s topic…

What Are Short-Term Financial Goals?

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First of all, what are goals?

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 short-term financial goals?

A short-term financial goal is something you want to complete soon. Most noteworthy, I define this as no more than 1 year. Think about achieving these financial goals in your 20s.

Short-term goals can be contrasted with other types of financial goals.  Like medium-term and long-term financial goals. For example, becoming a millionaire in 10 years.

Also, all the best money goals are person-specific.  Because we are all different. Therefore, we all should have different goals.

That is why I have provided a long list of short-term financial goals examples to choose from.  So anyone reading this article can find 1 or more examples.  That fits their unique personal financial planning situation.

Moving right along, here’s why this topic is so important…

Why Are Short-Term Financial Goals Important?

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First of all, completing short-term financial goals becomes your foundation for long-term success

Furthermore, achieving money goals motivates all of us to keep moving forward.  In other words, they give us an incentive from “quick-wins”.

Finally, working on short-term goals makes us mindful of our money every day.

It’s all about intentional living.  Spending money on what you value.  And, living in the moment.

Examples of Short-Term Financial Goals

Now, what you have been waiting for? A comprehensive list of short-term financial goals examples.

To carefully consider in planning your finances…

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Assess Your Current Money State

Get your financial facts together.  What is your net worth?  How much money do you spend and where do you spend it.

Do you have investments?  Then, what are they and are they the right investments for your stage in life.

So, make it a short-term financial goal to get familiar with your finances.

Create An Emergency Fund

Another critical short-term financial goal is to build an emergency fund.  Why?  You know, stuff happens.

People lose their jobs without notice.  Health issues can come up and accidents occur.  Also, cars break down and can need costly repairs.

These are just a few examples. Of when an emergency fund can come in handy.

One rule of thumb is to save 3-6 months of living expenses.  Set this money aside in a risk-free high-interest savings account.  Then, don’t touch that money unless you have an emergency.

Put The Right Insurance In Place

A major accident can cripple your finances.  Whether that accident is health-related or property related. 

Not carrying the right insurance in the proper amounts is a huge financial risk. Insurance is a must when considering your short-term financial goals.

On the other hand, remember not to over-insure.  Insurance agents love to sell insurance.  So be smart about it.

Here is a simple rule of thumb. Insure only what you can’t afford to lose.

That means having enough insurance on big-ticket items. Like your vehicles and homes.  Also, your life insurance for when others are financially dependent on you.

Furthermore, having appropriate medical insurance is a must.  Health care services are expensive.  And can sink your financial ship very fast.

So, think about this short-term financial goal example very carefully.  Be sure to carry the right amount of insurance.

Establish A Monthly Budget

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Having a budget is very important.  If you don’t have one, it should be one of your short-term financial goals.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.  Pencil and paper will suffice.  A spreadsheet or free online software is okay too.

Then when preparing your budget, expenses should be no more than income.  Look for ways to create excess cash where income exceeds expenses by as much as possible.

So, you will know how much money is coming in. And where that money is going.

Resource: Make and monitor your budget for free with Personal Capital

Reduce Expenses

Now, I will be the first to tell you that it’s difficult to scrimp and save your way to money success.  It takes more than just saving money.

But, living below your means is important.  It is an essential element when trying to achieve personal financial success.

Resource: Save money on all of your online purchases with Ebates

So, think about your spending on the following 4 big-ticket items.

Then consider how you can reduce your costs and save money.  Here are the big spend categories that will likely pop out of your budget.

  • Housing costs
  • Automobiles and transportation
  • Food and beverage
  • Leisure activities

So consider a monthly amount to reduce these expenses.  As part of developing financial goals.

Ask yourself.  Can I reduce expenses by 5% or even 10%?

Next are some reasons you may want to save money.  They give you the motivation to do so. And, make great short-term financial goals.

Remember, not saving on a regular basis. Or, not saving enough money. Might become one of those financial mistakes you will regret.

Save For Something You Value

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What you value is unique. So, it’s hard for me to guess what it might be.  But, here’s an example.

Maybe there is that “special someone” in your life?  Do you need to save up for an engagement ring? Or any other type of meaningful gift?

Then set a short-term financial goal.  And do it!

Here’s another example. Perhaps you have ideas for a business?

And want to save some start-up capital.

So when you are ready to achieve your business goals. You have the money to get started. And bring your business to life.

Save For Something Fun

Want to take a vacation soon?  Or, take a trip to see an old friend?

Then put some money aside.  And gather positive energy by thinking about the trip coming up in the future.

Save For A Down Payment On A Home

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

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

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

It’s all about finding that perfect location to settle down.

Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important. So, consider setting a financial goal to make it higher.

A good credit score can mean a difference in several areas.  Getting a loan, being able to use a credit card, or getting a job offer from a prospective employer.

So be sure to protect your credit score, improve it, and check it regularly.

Resource: Check your credit score for free

Refinance Your Debt

Here’s a way to help achieve the short-term financial goal of reducing expenses.  That is by refinancing your debt.

Interest rates are historically low.  So, reduce interest costs by refinancing.

Do you have a mortgage on your home?  That’s the first place I would look to refinance.

Do you have other loans or credit card debts?  Consolidate and refinance them under a home equity line of credit.  Or another type of loan consolidation plan.

Reduce Or Eliminate Non-Mortgage Debt

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We just talked about your mortgage. Another good short-term financial goal is debt payoff.  And to not take on any new debt. Because too much debt is a major source of financial problems.

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.  Paying off your credit card debt as fast as you can is an excellent example of a short-term financial goal.

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

Next up is student loan debt.  A debt reduction goal from your days as a student. The average interest rate on student loan debt is about 6%.  This isn’t too bad.

But 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. Use your cash flow to pay off the highest interest debt first.  Then move on to the next highest.

Do you have all of these types of debt? If yes, here is a good short-term financial goal.  Just choose 1 type of debt. And pay it off this year.

Maybe you need to make more money in the short term.  Here’s how…

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Negotiate A Pay Increase At Your Current Job

Ask your employer for a raise.  If the answer is no, ask what you need to do to get one.

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

Get A Higher Paying Job

Make sure you are getting paid market value for your skills.

If your current employer won’t pay market value, then look for a new employer that will.  Sometimes changing employers is the quickest way to make more money.

Whatever you decide to do with your job or career, think about this.  Figure out what you are good at.  Then, be great at it.

Resource: Improve your resume with MyPerfectResume

Start A Side Hustle

The list of side hustle options is endless these days.

Because the internet has matched people with goods and services to sell to. With those that are willing to pay for those goods and services.

Walk dogs.  Drive for Uber.  Start a blog.  Create an e-book or product for sale. But don’t lose focus on your primary job. Or, your business.

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

Declutter And Sell Your Stuff For Cash

Look around your home for things of value that you no longer use.  Check eBay or niche sites to see if there is market value.

A few years ago I sold off some audio equipment and bicycles for hundreds of dollars.

Rent Out A Room In Your Home

Renting out a room in your home doesn’t require you to make any extra investment.  Services like Airbnb make it easy to connect with interested renters.

And you can make a significant income. Depending on the size and condition of your place along with the location.

Rent Out Your Vacation Home

Sticking with real estate. Are you lucky enough to own a vacation home?  If you are, make a financial goal to rent it out when you are not using it.

So, if you own property. Set goals for it like a business asset. To improve your financial position.

With all that extra money you are making.  It’s time to invest it.

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Thus, all the best money goals to consider in the investing area are next…

Start Investing A Little Money Every Month

Choose an amount you will invest each month.  And make automatic deposits of money from your checking account into your brokerage account or savings account.

Automating monthly investments is a great way to invest in small amounts.  And, take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

After all, someday in the future, you may want to live off your investments. As part of your financial plan for retirement.

You can choose to invest in financial assets that produce income.  Interest and dividends are some of the most passive income you can have.

Open a brokerage account if you don’t have one.  And invest in stocks.

Online brokerage accounts are free and easy to open, and Webull is an excellent option.

Resource: Invest in stock using the Webull app

I like dividend growth stocks.  But, if you are not up to picking stocks, go for a low-cost exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Invest In Yourself

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The best investment you can make is in yourself.

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 is 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 financial goal without spending money.

You should have at least one personal goal to improve yourself every year.  Over the long run, doing so will increase your ability to make money.

Invest Money In 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 of all, your money can be invested before any taxes are taken out. 

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. Because it’s part of your compensation package.

Don’t lose out on that money. Doing so is an example of poor financial decision-making that’s easily avoidable.

So, if you are not participating in your employer’s 401k.  Then doing so is a good short-term financial goal to set and accomplish right away.

Open and Invest In An IRA Account

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

There is a tax-deductible IRA.  This type of IRA works similarly to your company’s 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 in retirement.

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

Open And Invest In A Health Savings Account

Do you have a high deductible health insurance plan?  Many employers and insurance companies offer them.

A high deductible health insurance plan has a couple of advantages. First, the monthly premiums on these plans are lower.  So, you can save money upfront.

Second, you can open and fund a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Like a 401(k) or deductible IRA, you invest money in this account pre-tax.  And, your money grows without being taxed thereafter.  Finally, if you withdraw the money for qualified health care expenses, it is never taxed!

Resource: Monitor all of your investments for free with Personal Capital

Read An Investing Book

You can’t go wrong learning more about investing.

So pick a book on an investing topic of your choice.  And, set a financial goal to read it front to back.

Next, let’s look at some bigger picture financial planning activities. They can be good short-term financial goals.

Create a Plan For Your Money

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A money plan, or financial plan, is more than just a budget. For monitoring monthly expenses.

It is a tool for setting long-term financial goals.

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.

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

  • Top off your emergency fund
  • Payoff debt
  • Invest in your retirement accounts

Can you start to see how these examples of financial goals are related?  By monitoring your money monthly, you will become aware of financial opportunities.

This leads to a bigger-picture money plan.  In turn, that plan brings to light financial goals you can and should set.

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.

Especially for those of you doing financial planning in your 30s.

And have a family. Or, are thinking about starting one. So make them a short-term financial goal and get them done.

Set Financial Goals

I’m going to end with what should be obvious.  Maybe it even seems a little silly.  But I have to include it on the list.

You can make a goal to set financial goals!  And I think you should.

Okay.  Take a deep breath. Because that concludes our review of 25 short-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

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I suggest the SMART system for setting financial goals. Each of your goals should have the following 5 attributes.

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

Next, a little more about each of these characteristics…

Make Your Short-Term Financial Goals 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.

Short-Term Financial Goals Must Be Measurable

Make your financial goals in life measurable.

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

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

Achievable Short-Term Financial Goals

We want to stretch ourselves.  And make challenging short-term financial goals. The types of goals that will improve our finances quickly.

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.

Ask yourself: have others achieved what I am setting out to do? Also, do not try and set too many goals.

The more you have.  The less likely any one specific goal will get accomplished.

Realistic Short-Term Financial Goals

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.

Short-Term Financial Goals Should Be 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 of success.

For short-term financial goals, your deadline should be no more than 1 year from now.

If it can’t be accomplished in a year. Then it is not an achievable and realistic short-term goal.

Okay.  That wraps up a brief review of goal setting.

Make your goals SMART whether they are career goals, financial goals, personal development goals, or short-term business goals.

By doing so. You will have a better chance to achieve them.

So, take what you have from setting your SMART financial goals.  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 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 short-term financial goals?

The answer is yes!

How To Achieve Financial Goals?

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

Create a written action plan.

A detailed step-by-step plan may not be necessary.  It depends on the type of financial goal, and the complexity of the financial goal.

On the other hand, a challenging long-term financial goal probably requires 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.

Practice good behavioral money habits in your daily routine. As part of taking action on your 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.

That’s all for today.  We have covered a ton of information.  So now it’s time to start setting and achieving your short-term financial goals right now.

Here are some concluding thoughts…

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Conclusions: The Complete Guide To SMART Short-Term Financial Goals With Examples

So, I stepped back and looked at my 25 examples of short-term financial goals.  And what did I see?

The short-term financial goals just discussed fell into some logical categories.

Let me categorize these examples of personal financial goals for you. It may bring a different perspective to your goal-setting process.

Thus, think of this summary as your personal goals checklist, broken down by type of goal…

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Examples Of Short-Term Financial Goals – The Basics

Are you unsure where to get started?

Then here are the basic goals everyone should look to accomplish in the short term. Achieving these goals will be a big step to solving money problems if you have any.

  • Assess your current money state
  • Establish an emergency fund
  • Put the right insurance in place
  • Establish a monthly budget
  • Reduce expenses

Short-Term Financial Goals Examples – Saving Money

Once you have the basic goals accomplished. Then start saving money.

Because living below one’s means is key to financial success…

  • Save for something you value
  • Put some money away for something fun
  • Save for a down payment on a home

Examples Of Short-Term Financial Goals – Debt & Credit

What’s next after saving a little more money?  The area of debt management and credit.

  • Improve your credit score
  • Refinance your debt
  • Reduce or eliminate non-mortgage debt
  • Do not take on new debt

Short-Term Financial Goals Examples – Making Money

At this point, your “financial house” is in order.  So, go on offense. And look to make more money.

  • Negotiate a pay increase
  • Get a higher-paying job
  • Start a side hustle
  • Declutter and sell your stuff for cash
  • Rent out a room in your home
  • Rent out your vacation home

Examples Of Short-Term Financial Goals – Investing Money

Investing money is where real wealth is made. So, consider some of these short-term financial goals related to your investments.

  • Start investing
  • Invest in yourself
  • Invest in your employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Open and invest in an IRA account
  • Open and invest in a health savings account
  • Read an investing book

Short-Term Financial Goals Examples – Financial Planning

Finally, make 1 or more short-term goals to improve your finances.  Because long-term financial success comes from planning finances in the short term.

  • Create a plan for your money
  • Create your end-of-life documents
  • Set financial goals

Set & Achieve Your Short-Term Financial Goals

Once you pick the goals to achieve.  Set your personal finance goals using the SMART system. Then plan, act, and monitor to achieve those goals.

Finally, good luck with your finances. You got this!

More Reading About Financial Planning & Financial Goals

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Setting Short-Term Financial Goals With Examples & Tips for Success Explained