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The act of financial planning consists of the long-term planning of your finances, which includes all the money you receive (whether you earn it, inherit it, win it, or otherwise), and how you fund your life goals from now until your death and even after your death – including planning for your family members’ future by planning how your estate will be handled.
Steps to Planning Your Finances
When you want to get serious about your finances, it’s time to engage in financial planning. Financial planning allows us to realize our goals and objectives by learning, organizing, and planning based on the reality of the current situation. You have to understand what is genuinely achievable and know the steps to make it happen to be successful with financial planning.
For most people, successful financial planning will include:
Setting goals and objectives
Determining your current situation
Figuring your assets and liabilities
Choosing your budget method
Implementing and monitoring your plan
You do have to know where you are, where you want to go, and the steps that it takes to achieve that result, to be successful with any type of financial planning. But the good news is, anyone can get benefits from financial planning. Let’s look more closely at each of the steps involved with solid personal financial planning.
Step #1: Set Goals and Objectives
The personal financial goals and objectives you set for yourself should include both long- and short-term savings and expenditures. The goals you set should cover the goals you hope to achieve both today and throughout your life.
You’ll set goals for your entire life, including education, housing, and retirement. You’ll want to set goals that involve both short-term and long-term planning. For example, paying down debt, saving for a down payment for a house, saving for emergencies, saving for a vacation, affording health care, improving your career options, and of course, retirement planning.
Set goals for this year and set goals for the future for anything you want to do so that it makes it concrete. If you don’t set a goal for it and then set up a way to reach the goal, it’s unlikely to happen.
12 Financial Goals You May Want to Set
Let’s look at some financial goals that you may not have thought about that you may want to actively plan for, to give you some ideas about what financial goals you may need to think about.
Develop a Realistic Daily Budget – The best way to get a handle on your situation is to have a realistic budget set up that involves paying your bills and meeting your daily needs, and keeping you to your future goals. If the budget is too tight, you won’t stick to it, so it needs to be as realistic as possible.
Create a Six-Month Emergency Fund – One goal essential to all the other goals is having a backup emergency fund that you can get to right away when needed. This fund should include six months of needed funds to cover the basics. You’ll need to know what that amount is to be successful.
Get Out of Consumer Debt – The biggest roadblock to success in financial planning is having consumer debt. Consumer debt involves unsecured credit card debt, payday loans, and the like. This type of debt can be useful at times but most of the time, it’s a big mistake that you should try to pay off as fast as possible.
Plan for Retirement – It may seem far off, but this time of your life is closer than you think. Thus, it’s vital that you fully understand how money works, including compounding interest and so forth. If you start planning now, you can even set up a number that you need to retire early.
Ensure College Education for Kids or You – College is a considerable expense, and it is not always going to be covered by scholarships, even if your child is super-smart. You cannot rely on that. Every state has plans you can start investing in today to use for your child’s education in the future. If you want to go to school yourself, you’ll need to plan for that as loans are also a dangerous proposition and may not help you get ahead.
Tax Planning to Avoid Overpaying – While most people don’t need that much tax planning, it can help to talk to someone who knows how to help you avoid overpaying and best use your money.
Develop More Income Streams – They say that rich people tend to have more than seven income streams. You should also plan to have more than one income stream if you want to meet your financial goals. Work, investments, and cash flow from side hustles can go a long way to ensuring you can achieve your goals.
Buy the Right Insurance – Everyone needs to buy insurance, but you want to make sure you never buy more insurance than you need. Most people need insurance on everything they own plus health and life insurance. A good agent can recommend what you need.
Buy a Forever Home – If you would like to stop renting and buy a home, setting a goal to save a 20 percent down payment is the first thing you should do. While you can buy homes without a down payment, most people will get better loan terms with a good one.
Go on a Vacation – Even things like going on a vacation, whether yearly or less often, need some form of financial planning. If you plan for it, you don’t have to use credit, as this is is not a good way to fund your vacation.