To many people, financial planning sounds like something for the very rich. The wealthiest people take their piles of money to someone who tells them where to invest it so they can make even more money. The rest of us just focus on saving what we can while paying off debt and hoping we don’t lose our jobs before we’re financially stable.
In fact, financial planning is about having long-term and short-term financial goals and developing a plan to achieve those goals. It’s about knowing how to make the most of your money – whether that’s putting a little extra into savings one month or paying off a bit of debt more quickly.
It’s about making smart financial decisions so your money is working for you as efficiently as possible while reducing your monetary stress. It’s also about becoming financially stable more quickly, so you can survive if any major expenditures come along.
In short, financial planning is something everyone can benefit from.
Financial planning involves figuring out your current financial situation – your assets, debts, and what you spend your money on – and what you want your financial situation to be. What do you want to spend your money on in the next year? Where do you want to be financially in five years? Do you have any major expenditures on the horizon? When do you want to retire? How much do you need to save?
One of the first steps in financial planning is setting out your immediate, medium, and long-term goals. These vary depending on your age (people nearing retirement have different goals than those just starting their career), your financial circumstances, and your life circumstances (are you married? Do you have children?).
Your financial plan involves determining how you will get from where you are now to where you want to be. You’ll determine how much money will go into savings and how much will pay off debt. You’ll set a budget for how much you can realistically spend a month and whether you can invest.
Understanding your financial situation and where your money goes can help you make decisions about spending and saving. It also helps you be realistic about your goals.
People who don’t have a plan tend to spend more than they need to and wind up with nothing in savings or investments – and they may have loads of debt. People who have a plan tend to stick to it and find it easier to save money and pay off their debt.
Your financial planner
A financial planner can help you set goals and determine how much you need to save to be financially secure into retirement. They can help you understand your finances better, so you can boost your savings and possibly reduce your tax load.
They’ll even check on you to keep you accountable for your finances, and if things have changed for you they can help you adapt.
If you’re looking at investing, they’ll help you determine how you can make the most of your investments, and how the various investment types fit into your financial plan.
Among the things a financial plan will help you with are setting and your goals, saving money, ordering your finances and decreasing your financial stress. It’s the difference between barely getting by and being financially secure.
It doesn’t matter how much money you have or earn, a financial planner can help you. Whether it’s determining how to save for retirement, what debt to pay down first, or whether you can afford a vacation a financial planner can help you make the best decisions with your money.