How to create a financial road map

According to AAUW, women make around 80% of what men earn. That gap is much wider for women of color. For example, in 2018, Latinas were compensated 54% of what non-Hispanic white men were paid. This pay gap affects women in many areas of their lives, but don’t let it stop you from creating the financial future you deserve. Follow these steps to create your financial road map and set yourself up for success. 

The first thing to ask yourself is what are your financial goals? Is it to save for your future, pay off student loans, or to invest your money? What’s motivating you to accomplish these goals? When you ask yourself these questions, you’ll have a big picture idea of where you are at and where you want to go financially. This will also help you figure out what to prioritize. Now, let’s start creating your financial road map.

Creating your road map 

It’s time to make your financial goals SMART, as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. When you think of the SMART strategy, you can look at it as the GPS for your financial future. It helps you identify the potential roadblocks and ensures that you get to your end destination. 

Specific - break it down

Measurable - have a target

Achievable - be reasonable 

Relevant - what is your motivation 

Time-bound - when do you want to accomplish that by 

For example, if your goal is to save $500 by the end of the year, apply the SMART strategy and you might end up with a road map that looks like this: 

S - I want to have $500 in my savings account for a rainy day fund 

M - The target is $500 

A - I will accomplish this by saving $20 a week for 25 weeks 

R - I’m doing this because I want to have money available for emergencies 

T - I will save the target amount by 12/31/2020 

Tips for achieving your financial goals 

Now that you have narrowed down your financial goals and created the road map for achieving those goals, it’s time to start putting your plan in action. For our goal of putting $500 into savings, first create a savings account at your bank if you haven’t already. You can also set up your account so that a certain amount of money is saved from each paycheck or deposit that you make. This means that the amount you want to save goes directly into your savings account. Make sure to check with your bank to see how you can set that up. 

Saving money also means budgeting and possibly making cuts to your current spending. Going back to our goal of saving $500, we need to save $20 a week which could mean reducing the number of times we buy coffee or get takeout. By making this compromise, you’re more likely to reach your goal without making as big of a dent in your wallet to do so. 

While you’re on the journey to reaching your financial goals, keep track of any milestones that you reach. This way, you can always make sure to celebrate the progress you’re making towards a better financial future. 

Want to learn more about financial wellness? Check out our upcoming webinar series with our Financial Empowerment Partner, JPMorgan Chase Women on the Move.