If you are reading this blog, you most likely have already created your financial roadmap to the future, but it bears reminding that even the best laid plans can change in a moment. How long has it been since you reevaluated your plan? Is it in step with your life goals as they stand now?
Life gets complicated sometimes. Every day we make decisions that may or may not have long-term and serious consequences. Your financial plan ought to remove some of the anxiety about the future so you can enjoy each day fully. Personal financial planning means managing your money to achieve personal economic satisfaction. (As daily money managers, we can help you with this!)
A well designed personal financial plan can help you achieve goals like a new car, a larger home, the ability to travel, and self-sufficiency in your retirement. It can enhance the quality of your life and help you avoid excessive debt – even bankruptcy and dependence on others for economic security. A result is improved personal relationships and a sense of freedom from financial worries.
So, let’s get started! What follows may seem a bit elementary, but bear with me while we review these steps to a great financial plan.
(1) Determine your current financial situation.
In this first step of the financial planning process, you will determine your current financial situation with regard to income, savings, living expenses, and debts. You may recall a previous blog about using a Seven-Day Challenge to create your spending plan. If you haven’t seen it or don’t remember, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it, and then accept the challenge to see exactly where your money goes.
(2) Develop financial goals.
Analyze your financial values and goals. This involves identifying how you feel about money and why you feel that way. The purpose of this analysis is to differentiate your needs from your wants.
(3) Identify alternative courses of action.
This step is crucial for making good decisions. Although many factors will influence the available alternatives, possible courses of action usually include continuing the same course of action; expanding the current situation or changing it; or taking a new course of action altogether. Be creative in your thinking! Considering all of the possible alternatives will help you make more effective and satisfying decisions.
(4) Evaluate alternatives and risks.
When you start to evaluate the alternative, consider your current situation and the consequences of your choices. Every decision impacts another and is the cost of opportunity. Is it worth it? Will giving up one thing for another get you closer to your goals?
(5) Create, implement and reevaluate!
Now we’re getting down to the meat of the matter. This is when you settle on ways to achieve your goals. Once your short-term goals have been determined and those next in priority will become clearer. Remember though, that financial planning is a dynamic process that necessarily must change as your life circumstances change.
A Certified Daily Money Manager (CDMM) can help with the day-to-day financial planning in terms of clarifying cash flow, establishing and monitoring budgets, identifying and measuring goals, paying bills and lowering debt. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has the added value of professional training in managing investments and other assets with an eye toward achieving your long-term goals including retirement.
No matter where you are in the financial planning process, Fiscally Fit, Inc. can help you focus, organize and create. For a free 30-minute consultation email me at Alison@fiscallyfit.us or call (650) 965-4090.