Objective or target, usually driven by specific future financial needs. Some common financial goals for an individual are: saving for a comfortable retirement, saving to send children to college, managing finances to enable a home purchase, minimizing taxes, maximizing return on investments given a certain risk tolerance, and estate or trust planning.
Given a person's goals, he/she decides on a pattern of expenses and suitable investments that will enable those goals to be achieved. Institutions also have financial goals, for example making certain pension contributions at specific times, or retiring a certain amount of debt by a certain date. Often, both people and institutions find it useful to employ a professional to help them in setting up a financial plan that will enable their goals to be met.