You have already covered the two most important aspects of goal setting. Here is how you should go about it.

Firstly, you must set your goals (outline plus detailing)

Setting and defining your financial goals forms the first step to financial planning. As mentioned earlier, you need to be as granular and specific as possible. Goal setting is not just about investing. You need to provide insurance cover so that your goal can be achieved even in your absence. Look at what a foreign MBA used to cost 15 years ago and what it costs today. Assume a sharp increase in price over the next 15 years. You surely do not want to be in for a nasty surprise and end up grossly short of funds when the time to service the goal arises. When setting your financial goals use the basic principle of conservatism. Try to underestimate the growth in income and the yield on your investments. At the same try to overestimate the growth of your expenses in future. In the process, you may be left with a cushion, which will work in your favour.

Monitor your goals on a granular basis

Goals once set are not just engraved in stone. They have to be flexible to change with the changing times and changing circumstances. There are a lot of factors which could result in the need to rework your goals. For example, the cost estimate for the goal may go up due to factors entirely beyond your control. Secondly, circumstances may change and certain goals may become redundant over a period of time. Thirdly, certain goals may shift closer or farther depending on changed circumstances. Regular monitoring of goals is essential to ensure that your financial plan is still congruent with your financial goals.

Lastly, debt management and insurance are two core aspects

When setting financial goals, we tend to overtly focus on risk, returns, liquidity and tax efficiency. However, two important building blocks are insurance and managing debt. Remember, one of the most common reasons why people falter in their gaols is too much of debt, which impacts solvency. Ensure that your life is adequately insured through a term plan and medical emergencies are covered through a medical policy. These will ensure that any unforeseen exigencies will not hamper your financial plan or your journey towards your financial goals. If you have a mortgage loan against your apartment, apart from insuring the asset, also take a term plan to ensure that the loan repayment does not become a hassle. Focus on cutting down on high-cost debt like credit cards, personal loans etc which can seriously hamper your financial plan.

The success of any financial plan depends on how effectively you define and monitor your goals. Take care of the micros and the macros will take care of themselves. Don’t spend too much time wondering how markets will evolve; you do not have control over that. Spend more time in managing your debt and ensure that your plan has adequate cushion.