It’s never too early or late to start saving for your future and creating a financial plan for your life.
Tip: Use our savings checklist to help you save smarter for every decade of your life.
The benefits of a lifelong financial plan:
- You’ll be able to define your financial goals
- You’ll see whether your goals are realistic
- It will help you bring your spending in line with your goals
- You’ll be able to identify possible problem areas and mistakes you’re currently making with your money and avoid them
- You’ll be able to measure your progress
- You’ll worry less about your future
- You won’t take on unnecessary debt
Set your goals
Your goals will give your plan direction. Think about where you want to be in life. Set specific, realistic targets for what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve them.
Take a look at your current situation
You need to get a good idea of your current financial state and what you already have that can help you reach your goals.
Some of the things you need to look at are:
- What assets you have. An asset is something that you own that increases in value and can possibly even provide you with a form of income
- Your investments
- Current retirement planning and what you’ll receive when you retire
- Any life insurance policies you have
- Current and projected income and expenses
Reduce your debt
Saving will form a large part of your planning, and many people can’t save because they’re busy paying off debt. Start reducing your debt as soon as possible so that you can put the money you save towards your future financial plan.
Get a professional to help you
There’s a lot involved in creating a financial plan. You’ll need a financial advisor who can give you objective, simple advice. If you’re unsure, ask friends or family for recommendations.
Your financial advisor needs to know as much as possible to provide you with the best plan and advice, so tell him about your goals as well as your current situation.
Together you’ll work out the actions you need to take at various times throughout your life to help you reach your goals and put your plan into action.
Build good money habits
The success of any plan you work out will depend on you being disciplined with your money:
- Build habits that stick
- Plan for irregular expenses
- Start saving
- Use credit wisely
Go back to your plan regularly
You’ll need to go back to it regularly – at least once a year. You’ll get an idea of how well you’re progressing towards your goals. Your goals and circumstances will also change through the years. Going back to your plan lets you change it accordingly.