Gain clarity and an actionable plan on how to make your goals a reality.
People who have a financial plan will usually have clarity on their investing goals and have an actionable plan to meet these specific objectives.
Some people who do not have a plan operate with the mindset that things will be alright if they save a little bit of their paycheck each month.
If you don’t have an official financial plan, it can be a lot more difficult than you might think to reach your financial goals. Without a strategy in place, it is hard to know whether you’re on the right track toward reaching your goals. Having a sound financial plan will help you know just what your next steps should be and how far along you are to achieving your goals.
What is financial planning?
A financial plan is a comprehensive overview of your financial goals and a detailed strategy of how you can work towards achieving them. It is meant to help you manage your money and your time in an effort to reach your financial goals. When you know the things you want to accomplish in life, you’ll have a better idea of what you should and shouldn’t be spending your time and money on.
How to create a financial plan…
- The first step is establishing your goals. This will help guide your investment objectives, cash management, insurance needs, etc. to help achieve your specific financial goals. It’s important to break down your goals into smaller, more manageable steps so that you can reach them. Start by asking yourself some questions about what you want to do or achieve in life. What does retirement look like? Do you want to travel? What do you want to leave for your family?
- An essential part of creating a sound financial plan is a budget. A budget can also make it easier to find ways to save money while reducing extraneous spending, allowing you to use that extra money to get out of debt. In reality, your financial plan is the path you follow toward your goals, but your budget is the tool that you actually use to get there.
- Work with a professional to craft a detailed strategy. A financial advisor has the tools and experience to help you figure out just how much money you’ll need to reach your financial goals. They can help you create a functional budget, determine how much you need to contribute to retirement accounts each month, make recommendations on the type of investments you should make, advise you on estate planning options, and provide you with tax planning services to help minimize your taxes as you build your wealth. You can choose to work with an advisor for a flat fee for a financial plan or as part of an ongoing financial management relationship for a fee.
- Next, you need to commit to your plan and implement it. It may sound simple, but many people find it difficult or overwhelming to start implementing their financial plan. Although by now you have your goals established and the plan developed, it takes effort to put it into practice. Making small steps towards your goals in order to get the ball rolling can help you to feel more in control of your finances and help you to continue these efforts..
- Finally, you need to remember to monitor your financial plan on a regular basis and even adjust from time to time. Life is ever-changing and your plan needs to be fluid, and evolve with your needs. Life events such as getting married, having children, changing careers, buying a home, etc. may require you to make changes to your financial plans. There are also a number of things that are beyond your control, such as tax laws, interest rates, inflation, stock market fluctuations, and economic recessions that will also require you to reevaluate your financial strategies. Working with a financial advisor can help you by having a sounding board to discuss life changes and the impact they could have on your plan.
Overwhelmed? Partner with a professional to walk you through the steps.
If you want to maximize your wealth, you will need a strategy that involves more than just crafting a budget and making retirement contributions. Financial planning involves detailed savings and investment plans in order to realistically reach your goals and you may want to consider meeting with a financial advisor to help you develop your financial planning strategy.
The level of education, training, and experience that a professional has will make a big difference in the quality of the advice you receive. Work with a knowledgeable and experienced advisor to plan for your financial journey toward the goals that are important to you.