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Investing Basics

Investment Goals


Setting goals help us meet life’s major objectives, from staying healthy to retiring with a well-feathered nest egg. Investment goals provide structure and purpose to the money we allocate to investment products, such as stocks, bonds and funds. Investing and investment goal setting go hand in hand with sound personal finance practices, such as building an emergency fund and managing spending. Learn more in this Smart Investing Course: Setting Investment Goals.

Many of us share similar investment goals, including having enough money for retirement, paying for college or amassing enough for a down payment on a house. When you set these or other investment goals, estimating the true cost of each goal is the first step to setting a meaningful target. FINRA has tools and calculators to help you arrive at sound approximations for a variety of investment goals. With long-term goals in particular, it’s important to realize the powerful impact of time on your investment.

After you calculate the cost of each goal, it’s important to adjust them to what is reasonable given the financial resources available to you, the amount of risk you're willing to take and your time frame. And remember to revisit your goals regularly.

It can be helpful to set up different accounts for each major goal, so you can more easily track progress. Each account will likely hold different investments or savings products, since how you save for short-term goals like a family vacation will likely differ from how you save and invest for medium- or long-term goals such as paying for college or funding your retirement.

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