Financial planning may seem like a task that only the wealthy have to think about. But, in reality, financial planning is for everyone, regardless of wealth. Setting measurable goals and coming up with a strategy to reach them should be on your “to do” list, whether you’re rolling in money or just scraping by.
Begin at the Beginning. Time has a significant impact on how much your savings will grow so, ideally, financial planning should start with your first steady job and paycheck. Even if you set aside only a small amount of money at first, you could end up with more than someone who waits a few extra years before starting to save. And you’ll also be establishing good financial habits that can last a lifetime.
Don’t Be Vague. You can plan more effectively if you have specific goals in mind and can estimate how much money you’ll need to reach each one. By placing a dollar amount on each goal, you’ll be better able to chart your progress toward the target you’ve set for yourself.
One Thing Leads to Another. Your financial decisions can affect many different areas of your life, so it’s important to look at the whole picture. For instance, investment decisions may impact your tax or estate planning or even your retirement date. Before you make any major changes to your plan, discuss them with your financial professional so you’ll be clear about the effects of any actions you take.
Change Happens All the Time. Your life isn’t static. You may marry or divorce, have children, change careers, receive an inheritance, or experience any number of life-altering events. Your financial plan isn’t static either. As you get older, your goals may change. You’ll probably achieve some of the objectives you had when you were younger. You may even develop new goals. It’s essential to review and readjust your plan periodically to reflect these changes. Make sure you keep your financial professional informed of any changes in your life or your finances.
Give It Your Best Shot. Financial planning is a lifelong process of managing your finances to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. Many events that are out of your control — such as stock market volatility, inflation, interest rate changes, and world events — can affect your plan. But careful planning and realistic expectations can help you stay on course to attain your objectives.
Your financial professional can help you make important planning decisions that will impact your life for years to come.
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