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Although there’s nothing magical about the transition from December 31 to January 1, it always seems like an important turning point or a chance to start fresh. We make promises to exercise regularly, stay in touch with friends and family and go after that promotion at work.

Many people also set financial goals for the coming year. Some set smaller goals like building an emergency fund or paying cash for next year’s Christmas gifts, while others aim big like saving for a house or for an epic family vacation.

Whether large or small, the key to achieving financial goals is just like reaching any objective: you have to make it SMART.

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timebound. The “SMART-er” your goals, the more likely you are to actually reach them. For example, if you say you want to ‘save more money,’ it’s easy to forget you made this goal and spend money on things you don’t need. Instead, set a SMART goal such as:

  • I want to take the family to the beach this summer (Specific).
  • To do this, I need to save $2,000 (Measurable).
  • To save this amount, I need to trim $250 per month off our usual expenses (Attainable).
  • I want to do this because I know the memories made on a family vacation are more valuable than buying extra stuff (Relevant).
  • I’m going to save the money over eight months (Timebound).

Once you have your SMART goal set, Verve can help you take it a step further. You can set up a Name Your Savings account just for the money you’re setting aside for your goal, and then you can even name the account after your goal.

Whether it’s “Beach Vacation,” “Kitchen Renovation” or “New Car,” naming your account will remind you what you’re saving for every time you look at it. Visualizing your family playing in the sun and sand will help when you have to choose to eat in instead of ordering pizza or pass on going to the movies. And once your fun family trip is in the books, you’ll be ready to start saving for the next SMART goal.