Quick Guide to Investing: Setting Investment Goals

Setting investment goals is like entering your destination into your car’s GPS – the more specific you are, the easier it will be to get where you’re going. Solid investment goals generally have the following things in common:

1. They’re specific and measurable.

  • Don’t just set a goal of "saving more for retirement." Commit to saving a specific amount during a specific period of time (e.g., an extra 2% of your pre-tax paycheck or an extra $100 each month).
  • Review our Beginning Investor? The Definitive Guide to Getting Started for more help in defining and quantifying your investment goals.

2. They're achievable.

Nothing will derail an investment strategy faster than having unachievable goals. If you’re 40 years old and can only afford to invest $100/month, setting a goal to save $1 million by the time you retire is inevitably going to lead to disillusionment. Be realistic and either lower your goals (you can always increase them later as your financial circumstances change) or increase your savings rate.

5 Most Common Investing Goals

  • Achieving a comfortable retirement lifestyle
  • Buying a new home
  • Saving for a child or grandchild’s education
  • Starting a new business
  • Leaving a legacy for your heirs

3. They’ll improve the quality of your life.

  • Honestly, what’s the good of accumulating a great deal of wealth if the struggle to do so will make you miserable or contribute to shortening your life? Money is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
  • Make sure your goals are genuinely important to you, not just goals that someone else says you should pursue.
  • A SunTrust Investment Services advisor knows the right questions to ask to help you better clarify and quantify your goals.


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