Short-Term vs. Long-Term Financial Goals and Easy Ways to Accomplish Both


saving goalsWe get it — saving is tough!

Between paying rent, buying groceries and all the other daily and weekly expenses you incur in the span of a month, saving up for either a short- or long-term goal can seem like an unscalable mountain. But as you’ve probably heard countless times, it’s essential to have money saved up.

What you should save up for and whether it’s something you’re saving up for in the near future or down the road can be confusing. We’ve put together this handy blog post to help! There are explanations of short-term and long-term financial goals and some helpful examples of each to get you started on your way to saving.


Short-Term Goals

short term financial goals

When you think short-term savings, don’t think about it so much as saving for a couple of weeks. These types of goals aren’t going to be your day-to-day household expenditures.1 They will require some substantial saving on your part, ranging anywhere from several months to a couple of years.

Some common short-term financial aims have to do with more material purposes, like the purchase of a new washing machine or buying a new car. But those kinds of needs vary from person to person. Regardless of the other things you might want to start saving for in the next year or two, the first two goals you need to save towards are an emergency fund and paying down any debt you may have. It’s always a good idea to have money put aside in case of an emergency and paying down debt will help to better your overall finances.


Long-Term Goals

long term financial goals

You can see that the number of examples for long-term financial goals is quite a bit shorter than the short-term goals. That’s because long-term goals are really long-term goals. We’re talking about goals that take anywhere from several years up to decades to save for. Take your retirement fund for example: that isn’t something you’re going to be able to save up enough for in a year or two! That’s a long-term investment requiring monthly saving for the majority of your working career.

Just like establishing an emergency fund and paying down any debt are important short-term goals, saving for retirement should be your number one long-term goal. It’s going to take you the longest amount of time and most amount of money to save up for, so you want to get started as soon as possible (if you haven’t already!).

A quick tip for saving for retirement: You should save 10% – 15% of every paycheque for your retirement fund.3


Start Saving for All of Your Goals

The key to successful saving for all of your goals? Consistent saving. Easier said than done though! Before you can start saving consistently, you’ll have to sit down and do some math to determine your total monthly expenses. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to calculate how much you need to save for each of your goals.

If you already keep track of your budget, you can accomplish this fairly quickly, but if you’re new to budgeting it will take you a little longer (If you’re looking for a good place to start, try our free budgeting template). But we promise the results and sense of accomplishment you’ll feel are worth it!





1(n.a.). (n.d.). Short-term financial goals. Retrieved 20 October 2018, from

2(n.a.). (n.d.). Long-term goals. Retrieved 20 October 2018, from

3Fontinelle, A. (29 September 2017). Setting financial goals for your future. Retrieved 20 October 2018, from

Barbara Davidson


Babs is a Senior Content Writer and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!