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Financial Goals

What Are the Most Important Financial Goals to Save For?

We took a consumer poll to better understand what financial goals people believe are important. The results spark some questions.

Articles by Alan Norton

By Alan Norton
  |  Published: March 31, 2011

Recently, Betterment’s researchers offered a random sampling poll of consumers to better understand what financial goals people believe are important. We received 3,059 responses to the following question:

What is your most important goal to save for?

  • A comfortable retirement
  • A new home
  • An emergency (rainy day fund)
  • A perfect wedding
  • A college fund for my child
  • A major purchase not listed here

Take a quick look at the results.

Out of 6 possible options, the only goal that received less than 10% of responses was saving for the perfect wedding.

The survey has a clear message: it tells us that, while traditionally the investment industry has been heavily geared towards helping people save for retirement, people clearly have many goals along the way before reaching retirement.

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Safety Net

This is a great place to start—an emergency fund for life's unplanned hiccups. A safety net is a conservative portfolio.


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General Investing

If you want to invest and build wealth over time, then this is the goal for you. This is an excellent goal type for unknown future needs or money you plan to pass to future generations.

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