Goals Survey Summary

Generating relevant objectives based on values, information, and knowledge is a necessary part of any decision. While it is common for financial planners to assist their clients in meeting their objectives, people are empirically deficient at identifying what their objectives are.

We conducted a survey where we collected responses from listeners of the Rational Reminder podcast, clients of PWL Capital, and the public for the period March through August 2022.

We asked respondents three questions which were answered sequentially. The first question asked

“Imagine the life that you want to live and create a list of the financial goals that will get you there. These can be short-term goals and long-term goals. Effective goals are statements of a desirable state, not the means to get there, and they are abstract. For example, saving up a $10,000 emergency fund is a means, not a goal. The corresponding abstract goal would be feeling financially secure.”

The second question challenged the respondent to double their list, and the third question presented goal categories based on the PERMA-V model to elicit further objectives.

Respondents took, on average, 49 minutes to complete the survey and we collected 310 full responses. The majority of respondents were aged 25-34 (138) and 35-44 (96). In total, we collected 2,394 individual objectives. Our detailed findings are documented in this paper.