There is a quote by an anonymous writer that says, "Goals are as essential to success as air is to life." This statement is especially relevant to financial success and how it relates to financial goals. The way to succeed financially is to frequently set and accomplish personal finance goals.

The problem is when most people hear or read the words 'personal finance', their eyes glaze over and they immediately begin to think about something more interesting. Like what's the function of their keyboard's scroll lock button? But, the reality is that learning how to make the most of your finances is really pretty easy and that just a little bit of attention can go a long way.

Where are You Financially?

It is hard to get somewhere if you don't know where you are in the first place. And with personal finance, it's just as difficult to set financial goals for the future, if you don't know where your finances are currently.

The best way to measure your financial standing is to figure out your personal net worth. Personal net worth is basically your personal finance bottom line. After taking into account all of your assets and all of your liabilities, what you end up with is considered your personal net worth.

At the end of this article, you'll find a simple table and a formula you can use to figure out your personal net worth. Included in the table are examples of assets and liabilities, your columns may contain more or less items than are shown.

The Four Types of Personal Finance Goals

As you figure out your personal net worth, ideas for goals will begin to develop, write any of these down on a piece paper and then refer to them later when you are goal setting. There are four classifications for financial goals-the time limit you set to accomplish the goal will determine what type of goal it is.

Short-Term Personal Finance Goals

These goals typically take less than one year to complete. These goals are usually extremely important, as many of your bigger goals will depend on your success with these short-term goals. These goals are also important because they build moral and increase your financial confidence-suddenly the larger goals don't seem so impossible. Short-term goals might include reading a finance book, beginning to track your finances with personal finance software or even paying off a credit card.

Mid-Term Personal Finance Goals

These goals should take less than five years to complete. These goals can relate to your short-term goals (i.e. a short-term goal may be paying off your Visa card and a mid-term goal is to have all of your credit cards paid off). Mid-term goals, as well as your larger goals, need to be tracked closely as procrastination can often make mid-term personal finance goals very hard to accomplish.

Mid-long-Term Personal Finance Goals

These goals should take anywhere from five to 15 years to accomplish. There are people who have become totally debt-free from perusing a mid-long term goal. These goals sometimes evolve or change completely depending on life's priorities.

Long-Term Personal Finance Goals

These goals may take sixteen years to a lifetime to accomplish. These are goals that deal with your retirement and leaving an inheritance for your children.

Many people set long-term personal finance goals to have a personal net worth of 'X' amount of dollars by a certain age. Long-term goals also change and evolve as people grow and their priorities in life change. You should review and evaluate your long-term financial goals at least once a year-maybe when you do your taxes.

Reward yourself for completing financial goals-smaller goals may be associated with smaller awards, while the completion of larger goals may be rewarded with a family vacation.

Speaking of family, involve your spouse and your kids (if applicable) in your financial goals. They will provide motivation and some financial goals will involve the entire family's help to obtain.

Personal Finance Prosperity

Prosperity is a word that is defined by the person who is uses it. One person may not consider them self prosperous until they reach millionaire status, while another person may prosper because they provide their family with simple home that's completely paid for.

While making financial goals, it's a good idea to take some time and think about what you want in life-what will make you prosperous. Once this has been determined, set goals that will help you achieve prosperity-best of luck.

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Personal Net Worth Table 
Assets Liabilities 


Current (liquid) Assets

  • Money that you have in bank accounts (i.e. savings, checkings, etc.
  • Any cash you have.

Real Estate

  • Real Estate properties including your home and other real estate.

This number should represent the current value of real estate.  Include the full value even if the real estate is not paid in full.


  • IRA's
  • Mutual Funds
  • Stocks/Bonds
  • Life Insurance (this should be the benefit value or the amount you would receive should something happen.)


  • Antiques
  • Coins
  • Collections

Personal Property

  • Furniture
  • Cars
  • Jewelry
  • Appliances
  • Any other personal property of value.




List dollar value in this column.












 Short Term

  • Items that can be paid off in less than one year (i.e. credit cards, line of credits, etc.)

Do not include any interest you will pay during the life of the loan.

Long Term

  • Items that will take longer than one year to pay off.  (i.e. real estate, cars, boats, student loans etc.)

Do not include any interest you will pay over the life of the loan.

Any Other Debts




List debts in dollars in this column.

Sum of Assets$X.XXSum of Liabilities$Y.YY
Personal Net Worth Formula
$X.XX - $Y.YY = Personal Net Worth

Where X = Sum of Assets and Y= Sum of Liabilities


Wiberg, DeMont V.

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