Personal Financial Planning: 5 Step Beginner’s Guide
Whether you are just starting out in the workforce or are nearing retirement, it is important to follow a financial plan.
Many individuals think they don’t need a personalized and comprehensive financial plan because they are too young or feel they do not have the assets. However, the reality is that everyone needs a financial plan to accomplish future goals.
Your financial plan should be flexible and adjusted as your wealth grows or following major life events. The earlier you start planning your finances, the more successful you will be, so it’s important to know where to begin.
Trust Point’s Emerj360 team offers services including retirement planning and investment guidance. For those who are not ready to use a financial planner, Emerj360 offers a variety of resources that can help you outline your next steps.
Here are some key components to consider when building your financial plan:
1. Identity Future Goals
Setting goals—both financial and personal—is the first step toward creating a successful plan. These goals should be both short-term and long-term, and realistic to your current financial situation since these goals will guide you when designing your plan. For example, if you want to retire when you’re 65, this goal will influence how much you plan to contribute to your 401(k) and how much you are saving each month.
2. Stick to a Budget
Your budget is a crucial piece to your financial plan. When creating your budget, start by subtracting your non-negotiable monthly expenses like your mortgage or student loan payments, from your monthly earnings. With the leftover money, you can calculate how much you want to save each month, and how much you can spend, depending on your financial goals.
Other considerations while making a budget include eliminating unnecessary monthly expenses and creating an emergency fund that can be used in case of a major life change, such as losing a job. Having an organized budget ultimately helps keep your spendings and savings on track.
3. Manage Your Debt
Paying off debt as quickly as possible is essential in meeting financial objectives, especially as you are nearing retirement. There are several ways you can prioritize what debt needs to be addressed. For example, some choose to pay off your debt that has the highest interest rate or to address debt with the largest amount owed. Find a way to keep track of your debt payments that is consistent and reasonable to your current lifestyle.
4. Prepare for Retirement and Beyond
Retirement should be one of your long-term financial goals. One of the easiest ways you can begin planning for retirement is contributing to a 401(k) if your employer offers one. Sponsored by the company you work for, your 401(k) is a retirement savings plan that allows you to contribute a percentage of each paycheck toward your retirement. Many companies provide some level of 401(k) matching, so it’s important to be informed on the contribution your company will match and to take advantage of it.
Emerj360 offers a free online retirement calculator that can help you estimate how much money you will have per month when you retire. Using this estimation can help you calculate how much you need to save for you to retire comfortably.
Planning for your future also means identifying your insurance needs. Evaluate life insurance and your health insurance plan for after you retire, so that you and your family can be secure as time passes.
5. Work With a Financial Professional
Depending on your financial situation, you can enlist the help of a financial planner. If you are looking for advice and assistance in creating your personalized plan, you can get started today by contacting an Emerj360 professional.
We’ll sit down with you and get to know your vision for your future and current financial standing. Using online software and our own expertise, we work with you to develop a plan that is unique to your needs. As time passes, we will guide you every step of the way to implement your plan and make sure you are on track to reach your financial goals.
Planning for your financial future can be confusing and overwhelming, but creating a financial plan does not need to be complex and it can be implemented through simple lifestyle changes. By using the right tools and resources, you can set yourself and your family up for financial success.