Rassie Erasmus took over as Springbok head coach with less than two years until the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve in the short- and long term. He implemented a laser-like focus and drive that would change the landscape of Springbok rugby forever. This mindset can be applied to improving your financial wellbeing.

Employing a SMART goal strategy can assist you in producing a structure for success. SMART is a mnemonic that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely; this approach can work well when contemplating financial goals.

Set a definite goal

It would help if you had a clear, detailed idea of your goal so that you can implement steps to ensure it’s accomplished according to the timeline you’ve set for yourself. In Rassie’s case, he didn’t want only to break the Springbok’s losing streak, he wanted to win the 2019 World Cup.

From a financial perspective, a general goal, for example, would be considering creating an emergency fund to help you during a time of crisis. However, a specific financial goal would be committing to contributing 10% of your salary into a conservative unit trust fund because you can earn returns that are usually not highly susceptible to market volatility.

Is it possible to measure success?

The measure of success for the Springbok’s was the final scores after every match which subsequently determined the team’s record – it was pretty dismal before Rassie took over as head coach.

It all comes down to numbers, and therefore your financial goal should have certain criteria for setting a benchmark and measuring your progress; if not, it may be challenging to establish if you’re on track to achieving your goal.

Is your goal achievable?

When deciding to set a goal, you should ask yourself the question, ‘is it achievable?’. You are far more likely to achieve a goal that aligns with your values, which in turn, can give you peace of mind that it’s attainable.

Rassie had an unrelenting belief that winning matches and eventually, the World Cup could serve a greater purpose: uniting the rainbow nation. This meant that every time the players stepped onto the field; they knew the favorable returns that a win could produce.

Is your goal realistic?

Don’t set an impossible goal, e.g., you’re very unlikely to earn a return of R1 million by contributing R1000 a month into a conservative fund. The goal should be challenging, but it should be realistic based on your circumstances. Should you set the bar too high, you are likely to give up eventually because it isn’t sustainable. Instead, try committing to an amount that you can manage. If you feel you may need some help deciding on a feasible contribution, it’s best to speak to an independent financial adviser (IFA).

Ensure your goal timely

Committing to a specific timeline can provide you with focus and direction required to achieve your goal. By knowing how much time you have available, you can develop a structure that may increase your motivation and lessen urgency to try reach your goal.

By implementing the SMART strategy, you can achieve your goal. This is the same approach that Rassie implemented, and the result speaks for itself: The Springboks are the now the new Rugby World Cup champions!