The S.M.A.R.T. way to Save

Wooster Corthell |

Achieving financial success requires more than mere hope; it demands intentional planning and the establishment of clear, well-defined objectives. Whether your ambitions involve wealth accumulation, retirement savings, or debt reduction, the SMART framework—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound—can serve as your guiding light. In this post, we will delve into this powerful framework, providing you with the tools to set and attain your financial goals.

Achieving your financial dreams begins with setting goals that are Specific and Measurable


Specificity is the "what" that underlies your goal. Rather than a vague aspiration like "save money," be exact in describing what you seek to accomplish. For instance, "Save $100,000 for a down payment on a home in two years" is a specific financial goal. It pinpoints the precise amount required and the intended purpose.

To make your financial goals specific, contemplate these questions:

  • What is the precise financial achievement you seek?

  • Why does this particular goal hold significance for you?

  • What are the critical details that pertain to this goal?


A goal must be measurable, allowing you to monitor your progress and ascertain when you've attained it. Measurement is the driving force behind accountability and motivation. Taking the earlier example, "Save $100,000 for a down payment on a home in two years," tracking your savings over time will gauge your progress.

To ensure your goal is measurable, reflect on the following:

  • How will you gauge your advancement toward this goal?

  • What benchmarks signify progress within a specific timeframe?

Relevance matters – your financial goals should align with your life's grand vision.


Achievability signifies that your goal is within the realm of possibility and attainable with your available resources. While ambitious aspirations are admirable, unattainable goals can demotivate. Your financial objectives should be within your financial means.

Probe these questions to ensure achievability:

  • Given your current financial standing, is this goal genuinely attainable?

  • What steps can you take to bridge the gap between aspiration and achievement?


Relevance confirms that your goal aligns with your overall financial strategy and life objectives. It should resonate with you and contribute to your long-term financial well-being. Avoid setting goals merely due to external pressure; they must resonate with your unique situation.

Ask these questions to affirm relevance:

  • How does this goal integrate with your broader financial plan?

  • Does it harmonize with your values and priorities?


Lastly, time-bound goals possess a specific timeframe for completion. The inclusion of a deadline generates urgency and keeps you on course. Returning to our earlier example, "Save $100,000 for a down payment on a home in two years" imposes a clear time-bound constraint—two years. This timeframe can also make a major difference for how funds for a goal should be invested. Shorter term goals should hold safer investments whereas longer term goals can afford to have more aggressive investments.

To introduce a timeframe to your goals, reflect on the following:

  • When do you envision achieving this goal?

  • Does this represent a short-term or long-term financial objective?

What Now?

Your financial journey is unique to you, and your goals should mirror your personal aspirations and circumstances. Now, it's time to put theory into practice. To gain personalized insights on achieving your SMART goals, schedule a meeting with Wooster Corthell today.

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