Financial Planning – Five Critical Steps in Financial Planning
1. Gather and Prepare Your Personal Financial Situation Status Quo
This kind of information can depend a lot on you as an individual, but it usually has to do with…
— your investments,
— your insurance policies (life, health, long-term care, property, liability, etc.),
— your retirement benefits,
— your tax situation (income tax, estate tax, gift taxes, etc.),
— your will or trust,
— your other estate planning information,
— your powers of attorney,
— any other financial information or documents you may need.
It’s helpful for you to put together some simple personal financial statements. These can be much like those that are used in business. They might include your personal balance sheet, an income statement, and other relevant statements.
In the case of a balance sheet and income statement, the assets and liabilities, as well as your income and expenses, are included in the statements. These can be combined, for example in the case of husband and wife, or separate income statements and balance sheets could be put together for each person in your family.
If you are using a professional, they may have forms already made up that you can use for these purposes.
2. Identify Your Goals and Objectives
This will take some thought, and is one of the most important foundations to your financial planning.
Put some time and thought into it, and the rest will fall into place much better.
3. Compare Your Current Scenario With Alternative Ways To Handle Each Part of Your Financial Planning
Relate it to your goals and objectives. Get the advice and information you need from others, including professionals, and make decisions for changing what is the status quo.
4. Develop and Put Into Place Your Plan
Not someone else’s plan, but YOUR plan.
Putting together the facts of your current situation, your potential future situation, your goals and objectives, and looking at those alternative ways of handling your case, you can lay down a plan that, while flexible, will act as a map for your future years in planning your finances.
5. Review and Revise Your Plan As Needed Periodically
Don’t think of your plan as carved in stone. Things change. Circumstances change. YOU change.
There may be family occurrences like marriages, divorces, deaths, births, changes of occupation, varying economic conditions, and many other things that enter into making financial planning decisions.
Put these five steps into play, and you’ll be glad they did. Read more. Absorb lots of information. But don’t let it paralyze you. Information plus action will take you a long way.