How can you help your clients formulate financial goals which empower them to achieve financial wellbeing? It’s simple. You share the simple, but highly-effective, S.M.A.R.T goals method with them.
As professionals, we may take the importance of goal-setting for granted. Our clients, on the other hand, may have never actually written down goals for any part of their life (health, financial, career, family, etc.) They may not only understand the importance of goals, but they may also feel intimidated by the whole goal-setting process.
It is our job to share with our clients the fact that financial goals are an important and integral part of their financial success. It is also up to us to provide them with the right tools – in this case the S.M.A.R.T. goal method – which empower them to both set and succeed with their financial goals.
Sharing the Importance of Goals and Choosing the Right Goal-Setting Methods with Our Clients
As you learn in the Financial Social Work Certification, the most successful people are those who set goals. There are many reasons why this statement holds true. Goals teach patience, motivate achievement and reward planned actions. And, because they are solution-oriented, goals create both unconscious and conscious positive movement towards a conclusion.
Sharing the above reasons with your clients will help them understand the importance of goals. You can also remind them that, while there is much to learn from your past, it is by planning for the future that true change begins.
Many individuals attempt to use goals to improve some aspect of their lives. Often, these attempts fail which leads them to dismiss goal-setting as useful or blame themselves for failing to reach their goals. This is where you can share the fact that all goal-setting methods are not created equal.
Offer to them that instead of blaming themselves for the failure to reach their goals, they should first look at the goals they set and the methods used to create those goals. This is where you can introduce you client to S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Seeing Success with S.M.A.R.T. Goals
S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. The bullet list below offers a step-by-step understanding of this goal-setting method.
- Specific and Written – You will write down a specific event or action which is to take place. The “Who” or “What” your goal is about.
- Measurable – The “How” of your goal. A measurable goal allows you to determine your progress and know when you have completed your goal successfully.
- Achievable – Your goals should make you s-t-r-e-t-c-h, but they shouldn’t be so lofty that they are unreachable.
- Relevant – Your “Why” part of your goals. Your success depends on setting goals which are important and timely to you.
- Time – Your commitment to “When” your goal will be achieved or completed. Set a time which is achievable, but also pushes you to put your plan in action.
Share with your clients a good example of a ineffective goal and a S.M.A.R.T. goal to help them see the difference more clearly.
Ineffective Goal – I’m going to save more money to pay off my credit card.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal – I am going to save $40 a week by taking my own lunch to work 4 days a week. I will use that $160 a month in savings to pay off my credit card debt (which keeps me awake at night) by December 31st of next year.
Remember, goal-setting is an absolute must for those who wish to take charge of their money, their life and their future. But also remind your clients the following: Once they use the S.M.A.R.T. goal method to create a roadmap to financial wellbeing, they must then take action to achieve financial success with those goals.
Written By Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW
Empower Your Clients to Achieve Financial Success with S.M.A.R.T. Goals was originally published @ Center for Financial Social Work and has been syndicated with permission.
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