Reach your goals the SMART way – FWS003

GOAL post

The first thing Coach Jeremy does with his clients is discuss their goals. Everyone should have financial goals as well as health, career, family, and spiritual goals for a rich and wealthy life.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

How Jeremy describes SMART goals

Specific: Don’t have a general goal, such as “I want to write a book”  Be specific.  What kind of book do you want to write?

Measurable: Have an end in sight so that you know when you have succeeded.  If you’re losing weight, have a goal of how much you want to lose.  

Actionable: Start your goal off with an action verb.  Instead of staying I want to be a more consistent blogger, start with a verb such as “write” or “compose”.

Realistic: Your goals need to stretch you, but make sure they are attainable.

Time bound: Have a deadline to work towards.  Make sure it’s realistic though.  If you don’t have a time boundary, you’re not going a specific direction; you’re lacking determination.  It will be easy to procrastinate and make excuses.

SMART goal for getting out of debt

GOAL postA great example of creating smart goals was of one of my clients.  I had a couple come in, and the wife had a goal of getting out of debt in one year.  She had the “what”, getting out of debt, and she had a time boundary of one year.  It wasn’t a very specific goal, it was lacking measurability, there was no action, and we had no idea if it was realistic.  After we broke it all down working backwards from the time bound, we discovered that this goal would be not be realistic according to their budget.  We worked with the numbers and made adjustments, and we found a goal that was specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound.

A budget is foundational to your financial success. We could not have set these smart goals without a budget.   You don’t know how much money you have until you budget.  Many of my clients come in with automatic investments into retirement without paying attention to what they are doing with their money.  This has led to them borrowing money from their 401k and taking out other types of loans.  Once you see the big picture you’ll often find you want to invest more, but you adjust your lifestyle accordingly.  As the old idiom goes: If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.  A budget is empowering and allows us to manage our money appropriately.  A budget won’t be the sole contributor to your financial success though; you must have some sort of method or way of tracking the money daily.  The envelope system helps keep us on track through the month.

How can we apply SMART goals toward this envelope system?

Listen to Coach Greg talk about Cash Envelopes in Episode 02

When you get paid, the money comes out and certain amounts are contributed to specifically marked envelopes.  You can see the money disappearing as you spend it.  For example:  A family of four has a grocery envelope with $600 a month, a specific amount.  The measurable part of the goal could be walking into the store with that specific amount, but walking in with a plan to buy what is needed.  Actionable is spending those dollars appropriately or perhaps saving some of that money.  Realistic is knowing what you need to buy to have enough food for the month.  Time bound, maybe you have a time limit of how long you shop.  Studies show that the longer you shop, the more money you will spend.  Time bound could also mean that you make sure you have enough food to get you through until the next time you go grocery shopping. 

Applying the SMART GOALS can pay off in a big way.  I had one client with a total debt of $134,634.00.  Their minimum payments had them getting out of debt in April 2029.  We applied the debt snowball and, without adding any extra money to the mix, they were now getting out of debt by June of 2020.  They just implemented the snowball method and saved themselves 9 years.  After taking a look at their budget, they were able to add in another $1700 a month which cut off another three years.  Assuming that they remain static with these numbers they will be out of debt in June of 2017.  This specific scenario didn’t factor in the magic months with the extra paycheck.  If you get paid every other week there will be three months of the year that you will receive an extra paycheck.  After tithing on the income and setting aside gas and groceries, you will have a massive lump sum to put towards your debt snowball or other goal. 

Coach Jeremy (original 2015)Coach Jeremy is excited about meeting new people and saving them from the Visa Headache in February, the time when Christmas bills come due. 

He also hopes to help people avoid getting into more debt.

If you would like to learn more about Coach Jeremy or any of our Financial Wellness Coaches visit

About The Author

Steve Stewart

Coach Steve has been helping everyday Americans pay attention, not interest, since 2007 after he and his wife paid off $15k in consumer debt and, using the principles he teaches, they paid off their house in 2015. You will find him using his passion and messaging gifts to create financial education content through speaking, blogging and coaching all over the United States. You can reach him by completing a contact form at