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Article: Goals: Dreams With a Deadline

If you are like most Americans, at least a few of your New Year's resolutions had to do with money. South Carolina Federal Credit Union wants to help you go from wishing in January to having in December. These five steps can help turn your financial resolutions into realities.

Identify your goals. A goal should be tangible, so you can track progress. There are three basic goal types: short-term (under a year), mid-term (one to three years), and long-term (three-plus years).

Look at the numbers. Understand your financial parameters and options by examining your income and expenses. After that you can determine the amount you can save each month.

Assign a time frame. Mark your calendar with the projected achievement date. If the goal is mid or long-term, allocate progress points (i.e. "$500 in my IRA account by June 5th, $1,000 by December 12th). Keep yourself motivated by flipping to those dates often.

Design a savings strategy. Have the allocated savings sum automatically deducted from your paycheck or checking account and deposited into a separate savings account. It's easy, and you'll never miss what you don't see.

Be flexible. Don't give up - modify! If you simply can't put the $150 into your vacation fund this month because your transmission blew, don't panic. You may be able to make it up over the next couple of months. Or change your achievement date slightly.

There are few greater gifts you can give yourself then pursuing - and achieving - your financial goals- which is one of the many reasons South Carolina Federal Credit Union has partnered with BALANCE Financial Fitness Program. Their team of money management experts can help you clarify your objectives, and then develop a plan to achieve them - so your New Year's resolutions don't evaporate before the winter snow melts. Call them toll free at 888-456-2227, or visit www.balancepro.net for more information.

Copyright © 2004 BALANCE

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