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Financial Adviser | Struggling to realise financial goal

Published:Sunday | November 8, 2015 | 11:00 AM

QUESTION: I am struggling with getting my goal to materialise. I started bee-keeping. I also have a job, but not able to balance it. Please, I need your help.

- Horace

FINANCIAL ADVISER: In order to realise your goal, you must be clear about what your goal is. It seems that you have not defined your goal. If you have, you have not said so, but there is hope.

Let us use the SMART approach to see if we can set goals that will materialise. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

There is a greater chance of realising a specific goal than a general goal. A specific goal states who wants to accomplish it, what is to be accomplished, when and, in some cases, where and why. In other words, it informs precisely what is to be done.

A measurable goal has concrete criteria for evaluating progress towards its achievement and for determining when success has been achieved. It addresses questions such as how much? And how many?

An achievable goal is one that the goal-setter has the attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity to reach. It should not be too easy to attain, neither should it be too hard. It should be challenging to be meaningful.

To be realistic, a goal should have an objective towards which the goal-setter is willing and able to work. High goals can be realistic. A reasonably good indicator of whether a goal is realistic is what has been achieved in the past.

It is important to set a time for achieving a goal. This is important for measuring progress and for using time and resources effectively.

You need to determine exactly what you want to achieve and by when. Do you, for example, want to accumulate $1.5 million by the end of 2020 by saving from your salary and from your beekeeping business? What proportion should come from each income source?

You would need to determine what resources you have now, what returns you would need to realise your goal, whether you have the skills required to run the beekeeping business, whether your current job is paying you at a rate that can generate the required level of savings, and whether expected returns on your savings can contribute adequately to the growth of your financial resources. You would also need to satisfy yourself that you are committed to the realisation of your goal.

If you set your goal in a

vacuum and treat it as a pie-in-the-sky notion, you will only frustrate yourself. Begin by writing down your goal. Set specific times for evaluating your progress. Be true to yourself and engage the help of a trusted and competent family member, professional or friend if you need to.

n Oran A. Hall, principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers personal financial planning advice

and counsel. Email