A Simple Process to Identify Meaningful Life Goals For Saving And Investing

In order to get to where you want to go, you must navigate life with meaningful plans and life goals. This often begins as an individual endeavor. As others join you on your journey, dreams tend to transform with age, maturity, and wealth accumulated. 

Have you honestly and accurately tracked your saving and investing goals? How many times have your life’s financial aspects shifted to accomplish your evolving goals and circumstances?  


A fee-only financial advisor in the D.C. area can illuminate your sense of purpose and create a holistic (whole) financial plan that aligns with your goals in life. 


Financial planning is a powerful way to get and keep your life on track. However,  identifying the goals that will motivate you over the long term is more complex than 

many expect. To jumpstart the process of defining your financial goals, start with these  efforts: 

  • Start broad
  • Ask yourself open-ended questions
  • ‘Try on’ different visions for your future
  • Compare where you are now with where you want to be (what would you see, hear, or feel if X were already true?)
  • Refine your initial broad ideas into possible goals
  • Narrow your list of goals
  • Prioritize your list

Ask Yourself: “What Do I Want?” 

You may have a vague idea of what you want or have fallen into a habit of suppressing your true desires in favor of what is expected or what you believe is possible. This is a common hurdle our clients must overcome to connect with meaningful life goals.  

If you’re striving to become a savvier saver and investor, whether it’s to start a businessretire early, or save for your next vacation, having something meaningful to work towards can help you stay the course and have fun while doing it.  


How Can You Start To Save and Invest Money? 

chalk drawing of man and arrow reading take the first stepThe proactive effort of saving and investing money is for achieving your hopes and dreams, providing for your family, building a legacy for your children, and having the freedom to pursue your  

passions. If it’s not just about getting rich or building wealth, why do so many people spend so much time thinking about it? It’s because money is essential to achieve many goals in life— goals like being able to achieve personal growth, building strong relationships with other people, raising happy kids who become successful adults in their own right, or simply living comfortably without worrying about how you’re going to pay next month’s bills.

Let’s identify some motivational goals around saving and investing with five small actionable steps. 

1. Identify Your Hopes and Dreams 

More than likely, life goals are something that you have been working towards for decades. They’re the things that you hope to achieve during your lifetime. Begin by  asking yourself these questions: 

  • What are my hopes and dreams? 
  • How do I want to live my life now and in my golden years? 
  • What do I want out of my career? 
  • What do I want out of my family life? 
  • What do I want from my health and wellness (or lack thereof)? 
  • What decisions do I need to make that will lead me closer to achieving those hopes and dreams instead of further away from them?

2. Gather Financial Information 

This step is crucial as it will help you determine how much money you need to save and invest and how you can make it happen. Here are some tips for gathering financial information. 

Gather all your current accounts, receipts, and other relevant documents showing where your money has gone over the past few months (at least six to 12). You should also review your credit card or bank statements from the same period so that you have an accurate idea of your spending habits. 

Organize everything into categories like bills, utilities, food shopping, etc., so they are easy to understand when presenting them to a financial advisor. Make sure that each category is clearly defined and labeled to avoid confusion later on down the line. 

3. Define Your Meaningful Life Goals 

Now that you have an idea of your goals, it’s time to define them. Defining each goal helps clarify precisely what you want to achieve and how much work is required to get there. Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

  • How do the results of this goal align with my values?  
  • What would success look like in terms of the end result? 
  • How will I get there, and what process should I follow on a daily basis to achieve my goals?
  • What resources do I need (e.g., money, skills, knowledge) to reach this goal? How long will it take me (or when) to achieve this goal? 
  • Who can help me on the way—friends and family members who provide emotional support; mentors who offer advice; coaches or teachers who guide me through learning new skills; financial planners who guide me through saving for retirement)?

4. Create a Plan To Get There 

This is where having SMART goals can come into play. Craft a flexible plan that is: 

  • Specific  
  • Measurable 
  • Achievable  
  • Realistic 
  • Time-bound 

Having metrics in place allows you to track progress. You don’t want to be halfway through the year without knowing where you stand or whether or not the steps you took were effective for getting closer to achieving what matters most to you. If things aren’t going well, then adjust accordingly until they do. 

This will help keep motivation high because there’s evidence that shows you how far you come along with respect to goal attainment (or lack thereof).

5. Evaluate Progress and Update Your Plan 

chalk words inspiration motivation progress success

Review your progress once you’ve identified your goals and developed a  plan to achieve them. At this point,  you may decide that the original plan is no longer relevant or realistic.  Perhaps you have reached one of your milestones already and no longer need some of the goals in place. Or perhaps circumstances have changed over time (maybe a loved one has passed away or become ill) that require you to adjust what you are doing with your finances. If necessary, update your financial plan to reflect where you are currently and what is most important now.

If certain areas have changed significantly since first being established, stay active by revisiting those areas and make adjustments with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL  PLANNER™ in the D.C. area who can help keep your financial decisions aligned with our goals. 


Having Goals That Are Meaningful to You Makes the  Process of Saving and Investing More Enjoyable 

To make the most of your hard-earned wealth, it’s vital to set goals that are meaningful to you and your loved ones. The three main things that people want out of life are: 


Work With Brown | Miller To Achieve Your Life Goals 

As a financial advisor in Washington D.C., we are here to help you achieve all of the above through thoughtful financial planning strategies delivered with a white-glove service level. With a solid plan in place, you can achieve your personal goals one by one as you move closer to checking off your retirement bucket list.  


Ask our team at Brown | Miller about putting together a sound investment strategy to keep your money working hard for you. 

eBook Offer: 10 Steps to Sustainable Retirement Income

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone.  Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. This report is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector, or the markets generally. 
The information provided in this article represents the opinions of Brown Miller Wealth Management (“BMWM”) and is expressed as of the date hereof and is subject to change. BMWM assumes no obligation to update or otherwise revise our opinions or this article.  The observations and views expressed herein may be changed by BMWM at any time without notice. The information may be based on third-party information, which is deemed reliable, but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed.  
BMWM provides links for your convenience to websites produced by other providers or industry related material. Accessing websites through links directs you away from our website. BMWM is not responsible for errors or omissions in the material on third-party websites and does not necessarily approve of or endorse the information provided. Users who gain access to third-party websites may be subject to the copyright and other restrictions on use imposed by those providers and assume responsibility and risk from the use of those websites.
Search by Topic

Author: Christopher W. Brown, CFP®, CIMA®

Christopher W. Brown is the Founder and Managing Principal at Brown | Miller Wealth Management.