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Get SMART to plan financial goals together

By Mary Hightower
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • Set financial goals using SMART
  • Goal setting is key for vacation or retirement 

(270 words)

LITTLE ROCK – Whether considering a dream vacation or a comfortable retirement, financial goal setting is key to turning desires into reality, said Laura Connerly, assistant professor for family and consumer economics with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. 

“You and your partner envision a beautiful future together – your dream home, a romantic vacation, sending your children to college, traveling together during retirement years. Learning to plan and set financial goals can make those dreams come true,” she said. 

Connerly said it’s important for couples to set aside time and sit down with pencil, paper and calculator to plan for the future and suggests using the SMART technique to guide their goal-setting. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. 

To use the SMART goal plan:

  • Specific: Include as many details as possible.
  • Measureable: Estimate dollar amounts needed.  If it’s a long-term goal, you may need to add 3.5 percent per year to the purchase price. 
  • Attainable: Do you have the capacity to meet this goal?
  • Relevant: Is this something that aligns with your values?  Are you both in agreement about working toward this goal?  Will it enhance your life together?
  • Time-bound: When would you like to achieve this goal? Determine how long you will need to save and the weekly or monthly amount. 

Download the free financial goals worksheet at:


The Cooperative Extension Service is your source for reliable, research-based information to improve quality of life. Discover the latest recommendations for creating a spending plan, managing credit, building your savings and investing for the future. Learn more at 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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