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Use a Personal Finance Workback Schedule to Reach Your Financial Goals

Personal Finance Workback Schedule

Knowing where you want to go is not the same as knowing how to get there.  Even if you know exactly where you want to end up, you’re going to get lost along the way if you don’t know how to get there.

This same principle holds true with your personal finance goals. I know exactly where I want to be, but when I first started my journey I didn’t know how to get there. I do now thanks to my personal financial workback schedule.

What is a Workback Schedule

A workback schedule is nothing more than a very detailed to-do list. Project managers all over the globe use them to manage incredibly complex projects. I created a personal finance workback schedule to guide me throughout all of the phases of financial independence.

To build a personal finance workback schedule start with your goal and work backwards to where you are currently at, identifying everything that needs to be done along the way. Here’s how to create one:

  1. Identify your goal (be as specific as possible)
  2. Determine the key milestones required to achieve your main goal
  3. Layer in the granular details required to reach each milestone

That’s it. A good workback schedule is fluid document that can, will and should change as your situation does. And having a personal finance workback schedule will absolutely help you reach FIRE faster than if you don’t have one at all.

A Personal Finance Workback Schedule

Here’s a workback schedule, using a goal to save $500 next month as an example:

  • Goal: Save $500 next month
    • Milestone: Save $250 from paycheck #1 next month
      • Detail: Cancel satellite TV this week so I don’t have to pay next month; save $100 dollars
      • Detail: Downgrade data plan on cell phone today so my next bill is cheaper; save $20
      • Detail: Take the bus 3 x per week to save on gas; save $25/week ($50 over two weeks)
      • Detail: Pack lunch to work 4 times per week; save $40/week ($80 over two weeks)
    • Milestone: Save $250 from paycheck #2 next month
        • Detail: Sell old watch on eBay; $125
        • Detail: Take the bus 3 x per week to save on gas; save $25/week ($50 over two weeks)
        • Detail: Pack lunch to work 4 times per week; save $40/week ($80 over two weeks)

Use Milestones To Track Progress

This workback schedule uses the milestones of saving $250 from each of the next two paychecks. In order to do save $250 per check, this person will be cutting some expenses and generating some extra cash.

As you can see, each detail leads to a successful milestone, and two successful milestones mean you’ve hit your goal.

There is no correct format or layout when creating your workback schedule. Just identify your goal, key milestones, and details to reach each milestone. Simple.

Knowing where you want to go is not the same as knowing how to get there. A personal finance workbackschedule will help you reach your FIRE goals.

Chime in!

You know where you want to be financially speaking, but do you know how to get there?  Would using a workback schedule to track milestones help?

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

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