Understanding Financial Planning

Financial Planning is a tool that helps you establish a strategy for the financial wellbeing of you and your family.

You can use financial planning to predict your future cash flows based on your current financial situation. The tool uses important variables such as assets, current net worth, tax liabilities and more to help you build a plan for your future. A financial advisor can help you build a financial plan, but you can plan without any assistance. However, having some assistance during the planning process ensures that you are budgeting for your future correctly.

Essentially, financial planning will help you put your money to work rather than solely living from your earnings. Important aspects of financial planning include establishing investments, estate wills and retirement accounts. You can also create a realistic and workable budget to save money while living comfortably. You can learn more about financial planning and how to implement it by reviewing a few easy steps and tips outlined below.

Financial Goals

Establishing short- and long-term goals is one of the most important steps to properly begin your financial plan. You should collaborate with your family members and talk openly about financial planning to establish goals together. As every family member can benefit from financial planning, it is important that you and your family take the necessary steps to reach goals that will bring benefits for the future. You should consider any upcoming expense and include it in your financial plan. Include anything from trips to decorations or medical expenses in your financial plan. The more specific you make your financial plan, the more effective it is likely to be. You can categorize your goals in the following way:

  • Short-range goals: These are goals that you can start working towards right away. You should consider short-range goals as an immediate priority, such as creating an emergency fund.
  • Mid-range goals: Thins like saving for a house, buying a new car or saving for a trip fall into this category. You can compound interest on these savings by depositing the funds in a high-interest rate account.
  • Long-range goals: You should place any retirement goals you have in this category. You should consider depositing funds in an investment fund such as a 401(k). Consider investing 10 to 15 percent of your income and take advantage of matching contributions that your employer may offer.

As stated above, unforeseen expenses should also be in your financial plan. You should include and save resources for emergency funds that could help cover the costs of unexpected costs that may arise. For instance, you may have to pay for a new roof due to a natural disaster or have to pay for medical costs from an expensive surgery. You can use financial planning not only to pay for the things you need but also creates a safety fund for costs that may happen unexpectedly. Moreover, managing this type of risk is a fundamental part of building a plan. You and your financial planner should consider any health or life insurance plan you may have and include it as part of your plan.

Measuring your Assets and Liabilities

A Financial planner will go over your debts and assets to get a better picture of your spending and budgetary habits and needs. By doing this, you will have a better idea about your finances in general. These practices might make it feel like you are living a life that is too strict and constructive, the opposite is actually true. You will make the most of your money with an itemized description of your expenses. You will also be able to achieve savings that will give you more benefits in the long term. When wanting to achieve a more accurate picture of your budgetary habits, you should have a better understanding of the following areas:

  • Overspending
  • Amount of your earnings that are destined to savings
  • Improvements necessary for more efficient money performance

If you choose to have a financial advisor help you through the process, he or she will help you make small changes in your daily spending habits that will benefit you in the future. This contribution will come in valuable as larger returns in the long term. Some of the practices that you should consider using to save for the future include small contributions such as drinking coffee at home instead of buying a $4 cup at a store. At a one-time basis, this contribution might not seem like a lot. However, if you consider what you could save in a weekly or monthly basis, you could be making a very large amount of money that could be used to pay debts and improve your financial health. You could also use your savings by buying high-interest stocks, rather than have them sit on a saving accounts that pay little to no interest. It is all about how you use small amounts of money to obtain a large fiscal benefit later on in your life.

Being Realistic: Develop a Strategy

Once you have set your goals, a budget and gained a better understanding of your spending habits, you have to set a strategy. Start by setting the amount of money you need for a specific goal. Then, calculate how much you need to save on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis to achieve your goal.  You will be able to determine how much you need to save from each paycheck you receive to reach your goal. You should do this for each item in your list of goals. By that point, you will have established a strong plan that will help you reach your goals.

Another way that may help you save or obtain the amount necessary to reach your goal is by getting help from a financial planner. They can assist you with your plan and give you some advice on investments you could make to grow your savings. You can develop a portfolio for stocks and bonds too. Make sure to evaluate your plan to see if you can make any improvements or adjustments to your investments. Finally, implement smart shopping into your spending habits. Use coupons, check for rebates and join loyalty programs to save money when you shop. Little by little you will create healthier spending habits to reach your goals and achieve the financial stability you have always desired.