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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Define Your Goals

To end up where you want to be, you’ll need a roadmap, a financial plan. To get started on your plan, you’ll need to ask yourself what are the things you want to save and invest for. Here are some possibilities:

  • A home
  • A car
  • An education
  • A comfortable retirement
  • Your children
  • Medical or other emergencies
  • Periods of unemployment
  • Caring for parents

Make your own list and then think about which goals are the most important to you. List your most important goals first.

What do you want to save or invest for?

By when?


Decide how many years you have to meet each specific goal, because when you save or invest you’ll need to find a savings or investment option that fits your time frame for meeting each goal.

Many tools exist to help you decide how much you’ll need to save for various needs. For example, the Ballpark Estimate, a single-page worksheet created by the American Savings Education Council, can help you calculate what you'll need to save each year for retirement. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a college savings calculator, and the Social Security Administration has a benefits calculator to estimate your potential benefit amounts.

To save more, you'll need to figure out your current finances and where you can achieve real savings. You're ready for the next leg of your trip


Modified: 08/17/2007