Four steps to achieve financial goals

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Set priorities

You’re not going to be able to achieve all your goals at once, so prioritize your list based on each item’s importance and your timeline. If cutting your credit card balances is on your list, it should be a high priority. That way you can stop spending money on interest payments. Remember, some goals that feel far away may still need to be a top priority. Although retirement may be a long way off, for instance, the earlier you set up a tax-advantaged retirement account, the larger your nest egg will be later on.

Take the first step

Once you have specific priorities, consider what you can do now and in the future to achieve each one. If you want to save for a child’s college tuition, for example, set up a 529 or other tax-advantaged education saving account. If retirement is on your mind, look into your company’s 401(k) plan or determine whether an IRA suits your needs.

In other cases, it may help to clarify what you really need. If an automobile purchase is on your agenda, consider a used car in good condition rather than a new car that might bust your budget. If you do, that goal might become a little easier to reach.

To help you with your planning, the American Institute of CPAs has created a great goal-setting tool, YOU Save, that consumers can use to plot their course towards any number of objectives. YOU Save is one of the many options available from the AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign to help enhance your financial stability. For additional resources, check out the ’s consumer resources at IneedaCPA.org.

Your local CPA can help

Thoughtful planning can make many of your financial dreams a reality. If you have questions about the steps discussed here, or about any financial issues, be sure to turn to your local CPA. He or she can offer the advice you need to address all your financial concerns. To find a CPA in Pennsylvania by location or area of expertise, visit http://www.ineedacpa.org.

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