Saving for Short-term Financial Goals in Trucking
The start of a new year is always a great time to set goals for yourself. You may want to train for a 5k, eat healthier, or pick up a new hobby. But what about your financial goals?
Often, when we think about financial goals, we focus on events that may be happening many years down the road such as retirement or saving for our children’s college. But our more immediate needs - objectives that can be achieved in days, weeks, months, or within a year - can be just as beneficial to our overall financial health.
“Short-term goals may not require the significant dollars or the time commitment required for a long-term objective like retirement. Yet it’s still important to determine how these goals fit into your overall budget and savings priorities,” says Pattie Berkner, a Financial Advisor at Legacy Financial Partners.
Short-term financial goals to consider
1. Creating an emergency Fund
If you suddenly find yourself without income (such as job loss or an injury), having three to six months’ worth of savings in place will provide a cushion so you can pay your bills and groceries while you figure out your next steps. An emergency fund can also cover unexpected costly truck or home repairs without significantly impacting your monthly budget.
2. paying down debts
Car loans, student loans, credit card debt… those interest charges add up quickly. Finding a way to set aside extra money to work on paying off your debts sooner rather than later will save you a lot of money in the long run.
3. saving for a down payment
If you are in the market for a new truck or house, you need to start setting money aside to achieve that goal.
How to plan for short-term goals
“Your long-term goals, like retirement or building an education fund, should remain top priorities – but it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition,” Berkner notes.
Short and long-term goals utilize similar planning strategies, such as:
1. setting a realistic budget
This can be as aggressive as you want, and may include trimming discretionary spending until an important short-term goal has been met. But be sure to carve out some fun money. You are more likely to stick to your budget if you are able to spend a little of your hard-earned money on travel or hobbies – whatever activities make you happy.
2. evaluating and prioritizing financial needs and wantsIt is important to objectively look at where your money goes. Can you make your coffee at home instead of buying it out and put the money you saved toward a short-term goal? How about buying soda in bulk from Costco versus by the can at the convenience store? Little chances can make a big difference.
3. learning more about finances
Many of us didn’t learn how to manage money in school, so it’s important to take the initiative now. This could look like reading books or articles, enrolling in an educational course, or reaching out to a financial advisor. The more you know, the more comfortable you'll feel when making financial decisions.
Financial goals can help you change your mindset and your habits, which can ultimately change your life. When you’re intentional with your money, you will be able to do more of the things that you want to do now and plan for the things you want to do in the future.
Note: This article reflects the opinions of one financial planner, not K&J Trucking, and is not intended to replace a conversation with your own financial planner who knows your unique situation. If you are looking for a financial planner, feel free to contact Pattie Berkner. If you are a K&J driver, we also have additional financial planning resources that we can give you!
If you are not a K&J driver and you are interested in learning more about how we help our company drivers and owner operators improve their finances, click below and start the conversation.