Family gathering outside for meal

What Comes First, the Chicken or the Pig?

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova once said, “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.” In many ways, your financial goals reflect the chicken and the pig. Certain goals may contribute to your financial well-being, while others are essential.

Goals-Based Planning

Your Stifel Financial Advisor can help you determine which goals are chickens and which goals are pigs through our comprehensive financial planning process. Our financial planning software, MoneyGuidePro, will help you plan your financial future by challenging you to assess the importance and timing of your goals. Implementing this goals-based approach to financial planning will allow you and your Stifel Financial Advisor to build more than a generic financial plan. You will work toward building a sustainable lifestyle for you and your family, one designed to help you enhance your working years while laying the foundation for a successful retirement.

Identifying Your Goals

In order to develop a sustainable lifestyle, you must first identify all of your financial goals. Stifel’s Wealth Planning Questionnaire will guide you through this process. When filling out the Wealth Planning Questionnaire, you will be prompted to consider your Retirement Living Expense. The information that you include here will become the foundation of your financial plan. Your Retirement Living Expense will include those spending goals that are vital to your daily life, including but not limited to housing, utilities, food, clothing, and insurance. If you are having trouble identifying all of these expenses, ask your Stifel Financial Advisor for a copy of Stifel’s Expense Worksheet. This one-page inventory can help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you do not overlook any of these basic living expenses.

After quantifying your Retirement Living Expense, you will be asked to consider your Lifestyle Goals. This is where you will identify all of your additional financial goals. Perhaps you want to pay for a family member’s education, take an annual family vacation, or purchase a sailboat. By listing all of these financial goals, you will ensure that they are considered as you build a sustainable lifestyle through the financial planning process.


Pre-retirement goals are typically funded by wages. Retirement goals are funded first by income and then by assets.

What is your desired Retirement Living Expense? Target After-Tax Amount $_____ per year
Basic Expenses (food, clothes, utilities, etc.)
Liability Payments
Do Not Include
Health Care Expenses
Additional Costs (travel, new home)

Prioritizing Your Goals

Not all Lifestyle Goals are created equal. Sailing the Caribbean in a new sailboat would be nice, but not if it prevents you from paying for a family member’s education. Accordingly, our Wealth Planning Questionnaire will encourage you to assess the importance of your Lifestyle Goals on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most important. Lifestyle Goals that are critical to your happiness are considered needs. You should assign needs an importance rating of 8, 9, or 10. Lifestyle Goals that will enhance your happiness are considered wants. You should assign wants an importance rating of 4, 5, 6, or 7. Lifestyle Goals that are less important to your happiness are considered wishes. You should assign wishes an importance rating of 1, 2, or 3. By prioritizing your goals in this manner, you will help ensure that your financial resources are implemented effectively and responsibly.


If MoneyGuidePro determines that you will not have sufficient assets to fund all of your goals, it will first fund your Retirement Living Expense. Then, it will fund your Lifestyle Goals based on the importance rating you assigned each goal.

Goal Importance Scale

Rate the importance of each Goal on a scal of 10 to 1, with 10 being the most important

Needs Wants Wishes
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Timing Your Goals

Once you have identified and prioritized your goals, it is important to consider the timing and frequency of those goals. Will you continue to travel with the same frequency as you grow older? Will you ever stop traveling? How often will you purchase a new vehicle? At what point will you no longer need to fund a family member’s education? By considering the timing and frequency of your Lifestyle Goals, you and your Stifel Financial Advisor will be better equipped to build a sustainable lifestyle that accurately reflects your unique situation.



High - Low
10        1

Start Date Target Amount

How Often?

(if reoccurring)

End Date Apply Inflation?
       $      per year Every ___ years  
  • Yes
  • No

Reviewing Your Goals

The only constant in life is change. Your family will grow older. You will change jobs. You will pick up new hobbies. You will make new friends. As you continue your journey down the road of life, you must periodically review your financial goals in order to sustain the lifestyle that you have worked so hard to build. After all, a goal you once considered a chicken, may now be a pig.