I've decided to finally start setting financial goals. I never believed I needed them, but it makes sense to aim for something measurable and possible in order to focus my efforts. I would like to attain a quarter million dollars of total net worth within 5 years through all possible means (trading, short-term investments, loans, equity-stakes in business, etc.). I haven't decided how specifically to save and invest, I have just decided on the monetary goal and the time frame in which I want to achieve it.

I believe my expectations are achievable. I would like some advice though, specifically with financial goals and accomplishing them. When you have a goal in mind it sort of motivates you to do everything necessary to reach that goal; when you don't have one you may not push yourself as hard to save and invest.

Would I best start by setting money aside? How much? What kind of returns can I reasonably expect?

Ignore specific skills, income level, etc., and just look at this from a general point of view.

  • 5
    What is your initial capital?
    – quid
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 22:14
  • 4
    "I've set a goal to make $250,000.00 from trading/investing/business within 5 years." - why? What is magic about that amount and that timeframe? How much are you starting with? How much can you contribute yearly? You need to list a lot more details before you can decide between lottery tickets and prudent saving. Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 22:15
  • 4
    You have it backwards. Start with a plan based on what you can/like to do and then set a goal that is realistic for that plan. To give you an idea of what to start with, you'd need to have $155,000 today in order to have $250,000 in five years at 10% growth. At 20% growth (which is aggressive) you'd still need $100,000 today.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 22:23
  • @DStanley and if you have that much, you'll be just as well off putting a downpayment on a home mortgage
    – CQM
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 23:18
  • 11
    The easiest way to wind up with $250,000 is to start with $500,000.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 4:12

2 Answers 2


How do I achieve my savings goals?

This question is the essence of personal finance. Whether the goal is to save for a down-payment on a house, retirement, or just an expensive toy (like a sports or luxury car) the first step is to define what you are trying to achieve and work backward from the big goal to see how much you have to set aside periodically to reach that goal.

I like align my goals around my monthly budget. If I were paid weekly or bi-weekly, I might budget with different time intervals. You can use a simple savings calculator to determine how much you need to set aside each month.

How can I make $250,000.00 through investing within 5 years?

Deposit $3,500 each month in a brokerage account and invest that money across a handful of diversified index funds, rebalancing quarterly.

I would consider 5 years a mid-term investment. I would invest it pretty conservatively. 60% bonds, 40% stocks. I have brokerage account with that allocation that has returned 7% over the last 5 years.

What about retirement savings?

Retirement strategies should be similar. Calculate what you need each year for a replacement of your current standard of living. Consider inflation. Invest a little more aggressively if you are younger, more conservatively if you are older, but look at how much you have to put away to retire at a given age. Does the number shock you? Is it lower than you expected? Maybe you can save a little more and enjoy a more comfortable retirement with minimal effort.

This is why you set goals and look at savings calculators and retirement calculators. There's no reason not to plan for the future and make adjustments to your behavior now.

  • 4
    This might be the best answer ever posted on this entire site and sums up personal finance perfectly. The trick to saving money is . . . to . . . save money!
    – Rocky
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 17:38
  • @NathanL - I've undeleted to allow you to edit. The question was +4/-9 voting when I hit 'delete' and had gone 18 months with no attempt to improve for a reopen. Commented May 10, 2019 at 17:12
  • @JoeTaxpayer I don't take issue with your decision to delete. I will try to be more proactive editing when I answer bad questions in the future. Commented May 10, 2019 at 17:40
  • @NathanL - I am unclosing the question, due to your efforts. I'd also be curious for your input on the Meta Member discussion on Closed vs Deleted Commented May 10, 2019 at 18:40

The answer to your question is Forex trading. You can get to 250K quicker than any other "investment" scheme. You'll just need to start with at least 500K.

  • 4
    Lighten up, folks! +1
    – Rocky
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 17:35
  • 1
    I misread 500K as 50K at first and got very suspicious, then tried re-reading and laughed loud enough to concern my coworkers.
    – anon
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 0:39
  • Pete, I've put some effort into improving this question so that it isn't as bad. I've also updated my answer to make it more serious. I would encourage you to do the same if you have some time. Commented May 10, 2019 at 19:33

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