Life is busy. Everyone has lots of things going on that may or may not be helping them achieve their goals in life. Not having a plan can be wasting hundreds or thousands of dollars a month going toward unnecessary expenses each month. It is important to have a clear plan and proper goals set up.

Unfortunately a rough budget (I know we all hate them…) should be your first step toward goals, because you need to know what you have available to allocate toward your goals.

If you don’t already have one, your first goal should be some sort of emergency fund. The general rule of thumb is three to six months worth of expenses. If you have a secure job (very rare these days, maybe something like a tenured teacher), you might be able to get away with closer to three months of expenses in an emergency fund. Although as a teacher, only getting paid ten months a year could leave an income gap that needs to be addressed (possibly with an increased emergency fund). If your income fluctuates as a free lancer, or business owner, six months of expenses might be more appropriate.

Other important goals to have could include the obvious one of saving for retirement, as well as saving for a down payment in order to stop renting, or saving for a child’s college or wedding. There could also be fun goals of saving for a family vacation, or a new car. If you’re a landlord, maybe saving for the down payment for your next rental property would be a worthwhile goal to have.

Here at American Partners, our DIY software allows you to create and track your progress towards the goals that matter to you.