The first step of the financial planning process is finished. You have figured out where you are financially by calculating your net worth and summarizing your cash flow. These reports have identified some obvious problems, financial strengths and some action steps to take. So what do you do next? It has been said that a man without a plan is like a ship without a rudder – he will end up somewhere, but probably not where he intended. That brings us to the second step of the financial planning process – the “where you want to go” question – setting financial goals and priorities.
Proverbs 16:9 states, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” We all set goals and objectives, whether formally (in writing) or informally (not in writing). Most would agree that goals are important.Yet, studies show that only about three percent of Americans have written goals. The difference between a wish and a goal is that a goal is written down while a wish is not. A goal is measurable and usually has a time period for completion. Setting faith-based financial goals involves seeking God’s will for all areas of your life and developing a road map to reach those different goals and objectives.
Written goals are critical in the financial planning process because they provide the following: direction and purpose; clarity on what you really want to accomplish; personal motivation; and they are written statements of what you see as God’s will for you. Most people fail to set goals because of a fear of failure or because they simply do not know what goals to set or how to set them. Ron Blue, author of Master Your Money, defines a faith goal as “an objective toward which I believe God wants me to move” and uses a three-step process to set faith goals.
First, spend time in communion with God, seeking His will and direction. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.” Goal setting without God’s direction is shallow and ultimately empty. Therefore, seek God’s will as far as you can understand and perceive it. Second, as you spend time with God and seek His will, write down what He is saying to you. Then, pray about it and meditate on it, continually asking God what He would have you do and how He would have you do it. Third, after spending time with God and recording what God seems to be saying to you, it is time to write down a clear and measurable goal. Lastly, take action. Action takes faith and courage. Faith goals may not seem logical; the resources needed to reach them may seem unattainable, and the path to reaching them may even seem impossible. But, remember that nothing is impossible for God.
The main areas of long-term financial goal setting are:
2) Educational planning
3) Paying off debt
4) Lifestyle changes
5) Starting your wn business
6) Achieving financial independence
An experienced financial advisor can help you identify, prioritize and quantify your financial goals and objectives. Remember to seek God through prayer and Bible study; write down what you believe God is putting on your heart, and take action. Goals and objectives should be revisited and revised as God’s will for your life becomes clearer. Enjoy the journey. You are a beloved child of the King.
Robert Audet is the President of Audet Wealth Advisors. which specializes in financial planning and investments.Please send questions and comments to [email protected]. To learn more about Robert, please visit his website at robertaudet.com.