A recent survey found that the number one ambition of people over the age of 50 was to be financially self-sufficient. The poll, by Saga Personal Finance, of 13000 in that age-group discovered that it was the goal of 53% of respondents.
The second most important aim was to provide financial assistance to children or grandchildren (47%). That was followed by being free of debt (24%), taking a once-in-a-lifetime holiday (22%), and owning a dream home (19%).But only 14% or just one in seven had actually achieved their goal, with 93% of those seeking their dream home having so far been thwarted.
So why do people fail to reach their goals?
Well those surveyed had their excuses ready. Unsurprisingly 56% said that their financial situation had prevented them although it didn’t explain what that actually means. In addition 20% said they were still paying off various debts, while others blamed poor investments and pension shortfalls. Only 10% put it down to ill health – a valid reason perhaps.
But what had these people done to achieve their so-called goals?
Sadly the researchers didn’t reveal that – maybe they didn’t ask – but perhaps their problems began by having such ill-defined goals in the first place. Goals will only ever work if they are specific and based upon how their attainment will make you feel.
Simply stating I want financial self-sufficiency or I want my dream home is far too vague. Goals must be based upon what those things actually mean – both materially and emotionally – and on exactly when they will happen. Only by clearly defining those things can you then move on to taking action.
Did the people in the survey take action? You can safely assume that the 14% who stated they had achieved their ambitions were the ones that did. Or more precisely, they took the right actions.
What actions are you taking to achieve your goals? Do you even know precisely what your goals are? There is lots you can learn about setting goals and working towards them but there are essentially three steps that you must take:
Decide exactly what it is that you genuinely want to achieve and then define it clearly both in terms of the material aspects and how it will make you feel. In the present tense write down what you will have and when.
Identify what you will have to do to achieve the goal you have set. Understand what things you will need, what you will have to learn, and what tasks you will need to perform. Then write a workable step-by-step plan to get it done.
All the thinking, writing, and planning will mean nothing if you don’t simply do something. If you have thought it through correctly you will have a time-frame set that is right for you and you will have specific things to do that are realistic and achievable.
Remember that every journey begins with a single step. So take it and enjoy it.