15 Financial Goals To Achieve By 40 (Checklist)


All of the RIGHT financial goals to achieve to reach financial freedom. #financialgoals #financialfreedom #personalfinancejunkieWhen was the last time you created a financial goal?

Do you even know the right financial goals to pursue?

If you are a true Personal Finance Junkie then I am willing to bet you have read countless personal finance books which can lead to information overload and/or confusion if you are not careful.

While I am the biggest advocate of consistent reading and learning (GROWTH), I also know that sometimes a girl just needs a good ol’ cheat sheet!

Life is busy so sometimes we legit can’t find the time to read, process AND implement all of the strategies we learn.

I can’t even tell you how many books and courses I have on the backburner…just waiting for me dive in and be transformed (TOO MANY).

Sometimes I just think to myself, why doesn’t someone just create me a one-pager, or a checklist with only the important things that I need to know to accomplish [insert goal].

Being that I am the type of girl who is always looking for that cheat sheet, I like to create resources that are short, to the point and easy to implement (hence my first book, Financial Fitness: 21 Easy Exercises To Get Your Personal Finances In Shape Fast!)

In Financial Fitness, I share the 21 essential things everyone must do to repair their relationship with money.

Don’t have time to read Financial Fitness?

Don’t worry, I GOT YOU!

I also created a checklist of 15 financial goals you must accomplish by the time you are 40 years old (obviously the earlier you knock these goals out the better).

If you are looking to eventually reach financial freedom (get my financial freedom checklist HERE) you need to do these 15 things:

1. Build A Starter Emergency Fund Of $1,000.

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Read: 5 Quick Ways To Build Your $1,000 Emergency Fund

The first step in improving your finances is to get some cash saved up fast.

This step is critical because it will help you stay out of debt in the event of unexpected expenses. 

In addition to being an insurance policy again unexpected expenses, an emergency fund will ease your mind and reduce your anxiety about money.

2. Organize Your Important Financial Documents.

Read: A Simple But Effective Way To Organize Your Finances

Getting organized is a must if you want to improve your personal finances.

Start by listing all of your debt and corresponding account information on one sheet of paper.

Use a money management app such as Personal Capital to keep track of all of your bank, credit and investment accounts in one place. 

3. Develop A Monthly Budget Habit.

Read: The 3 Best Budgeting Books For Beginners

Try: The Grocery Budget Makeover

Your monthly budget is an agreement that you make with yourself (singles) or your partner (marrieds) about your spending, saving and giving.

It is important to create a new budget each month because your spending habits will vary. 

Taking a budgeting course might be helpful if you find yourself struggling to create a budget that works for you.

4. Pay Off All Of Your Debt.

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Read: How To Get Out Of Debt In 7 Simple Steps

I don’t know who said it first but I’m going to go ahead and repeat it…DEBT IS THE ENEMY TO WEALTH!

If you have debt, it is best to knock it out as fast as possible.

Then, you may get on with the business of increasing your net-worth and creating financial freedom. 

On this blog I write about my student loan debt because it helps me to track my progress and keep my goal of becoming debt-free in the front of my mind.

It is important that you find your own ways to make getting out of debt a priority in your life.

5. Build A Mid-Level Emergency Fund Of $10,000.

Once you are debt free then you will need to beef up your emergency fund for those big expenses like major car repairs.

If you don’t own a home yet, this account may temporarily turn into your down payment fund. 

A $10,000 emergency is also a milestone to celebrate.

The faster you reach this step the better.

6. Cut Your Expenses Mercilessly.

Read: The Ultimate Guide To Living Frugally

Winning with money is less about what you earn than it is about what you KEEP.

Cut your expenses as often and as deeply as you can. Save more of your hard earned income.

Use relevant apps such as Ibotta to save money on everyday expenses. Learn how to get a welcome bonus when you sign up for Ibotta.

7. Track Your Net Worth.

Your net-worth is like your report card for your finances.

Tracking it monthly can help motivate you to keep doing the right things with your finances.

Besides, watching your money grow is fun!

I use the Personal Capital app for FREE to track my net-worth.

Personal Capital is the best app I’ve found to manage all of my financial accounts in one place.

8. Earn Extra Income.

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Read: 4 Books That Teach You How To Earn More Money

No matter how much money you currently earn I bet you can use some more!

Having financial goals means always looking for ways to supplement your income and earn extra money.

The more income streams you have the less vulnerable you are to unfortunate events like a job loss.

I am always actively pursing ways to earn more money.

I even took a course to learn how to make money blogging and a course to learn how to make money writing books.

9. Read The Top Personal Finance Books.

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Read: 40+ Top Books On Budgeting, Debt, Investing & More!

Knowledge is and always will be POWER. Read as much as you can.

Be empowered to make smarter money decisions for you and your family. 

Even if you do not have time to actually read books, you can increase your knowledge by listening to audiobooks.

10. Automate Your Savings.

This goal is fun! Set your savings on autopilot and watch your account grow month after month.

Online banks such as Capital One 360 have amazing automatic savings options. 

This one simple tweak to your finances will help relieve stress about managing your finances.

With a busy life, who has time to spend hours on end moving money around.

11. Automate Your Bills And Other Expenses.

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You spend hours every month paying bills. STOP.

Automate your bills through your bank (set up the payments yourself, don’t give other companies access to your account).

Use the hours saved to (a) earn more money or (b) consume more books and courses. 

12. Set Your Investments On Autopilot.

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Read: 4 Investing Books For Beginners

When you are ready to start investing automate that process as well in order to save even more time. 

The more of your financial life you can automate the better.

Just remember, automation does not mean you can be hands off with your finances. You will still need to adjust your budget regularly and monitor your net-worth.

13. Write A 5 Year Financial Plan.

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Read: How To Write A 5 Year Financial Plan

Developing a 5 year financial plan will allow you to reflect on your most important life goals.

If you are not happy with your current financial situation or lifestyle then you NEED a 5 year plan.

If you need more information on how to create an effective five year financial plan, I discuss the process in detail in my book Financial Fitness (the eBook is usually available for purchase on Amazon for no more than $2.99). 

14. Max Out Your Retirement Accounts Every Year.

The earlier you can start maxing out your retirement account(s).

The better off you will be financially when you are ready to retire.

Whether your goal is early retirement or simply retiring with dignity, following these financial goals can get you there. 

15. Complete Your 6 Month Emergency Fund.

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How secure are you going to feel when you have a big, fat juicy emergency fund to call your own?

The faster you start working to accomplish these goal the faster you can start building wealth!

Again, Capital One 360 is a really good place to stash your emergency funds due to the slightly higher interest rates they are able to offer on their savings accounts.


In order to reach your financial goals you need a plan THAT WORKS!

The 15 financial goals to achieve by 40 is just one plan that you can use to guarantee financial freedom.

With time and dedication to the checklist your path to financial freedom will be shorter and less dramatic than you expected.

Use the 15 financial goals checklist to develop meaningful personal finance goals.

Download the checklist so that you can check off each goal as you accomplish it. 

You may also modify the checklist to better fit your current financial situation.

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