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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Steps to Take During Financial Planning Month

Did you know that October is National Financial Planning Month? Many of you are already saving for retirement, but are you planning for it? Planning for retirement and for other long-range financial goals is essential to achieving them. There are some steps you can take to make sure you achieve your goals.

1. Identify Your Goals 
What’s important to you and your family? Is it saving for your kids’ education? Traveling? Donating to a cause you care about? These things aren’t separate from the plan; they are key elements of it. Too many people save and invest money with no specific goal in mind. Identify specific goals that are important to you and your family.

2. Gather and Analyze Data 
Take stock of your financial situation. How much money do you owe? Make a list of all your creditors, your current payment schedule, and the annual percentage rate you’re paying in interest. Then list all of your savings. Estimate your monthly expenses for utilities, groceries, gas, insurance and other necessities. What goals do you want to accomplish is 5, 10, 20 years? Are you willing to accept a high relative market risk to achieve your investment goals or would a conservative portfolio be a better option for you?

3. Develop a Plan 
A good financial plan—created with the assistance of an experienced financial professional—addresses your priorities while defining your investment approach. It changes over time, to reflect changes in your life and your financial objectives.

With a plan, you can set short-term and long-term goals and benchmarks. You can estimate the amount of money you will likely need to meet retirement, college, and health care expenses. You can plot a way to wind down your business or exit your career with confidence. You can also get a good look at your present financial situation and gauge the distance between where you are financially and where you would like to be.

4. Implement It! 
Now you can put your plan to work! Many people find that implementation is the most difficult step in financial planning. The point is to make your financial strategies achievable and to consider slowly moving up to desired savings rates rather than jumping into something that may be challenging if implemented too fast for your comfort level and budget.

5. Continually Monitor Your Plan 
It's called financial planning for a reason: Plans evolve and change just like life. Your financial plan needs to be monitored and tweaked from time to time. Think of what can change in your life, such as marriage, the birth of children, career changes and more. Now think of financial changes beyond your control, such as tax law changes, interest rates, inflation rates, stock market fluctuations and economic recessions. Life changes and so will your plan.

If you are looking for help creating your financial plan but don’t know where to start contact our Investment & Insurance reps at (877) 937-2328 ext. 8868 for a no-cost, no-obligation appointment. As the saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” Start making your financial dreams reality today!

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