Creating a Financial Game Plan - Financial Planning Basics
Creating a financial plan means creating a game plan which evaluates your current assets and debts, defining what you need and want, and coming up with a way to pay for those things. It is one thing to develop a plan like this. It is another thing to carry through with it! Its not only not impossible, but very doable and recommended for everyone. You could look at it like maximizing your life and potential, because you need at least some money in life, no matter who you are or what you do. This takes what you have, and maximizes it instead of having your money feel like its always dwindling away. Its like working less, and having more to show for it.
Looking forward to the future is always wise. Evaluating how your spending and saving is going now is part of making your financial dreams a reality.
Defining your Goals
Everyone needs goals, and its incredibly important in the financial area of your life. There will be short term goals, mid term/range goals and longer term goals.
Short term goals include the next couple of years in time. You are going to be investing and planning for things you want in that time frame. Depending on where you are at in life, it could be things like a new car, or a new home.
Mid term goals will be things that will hopefully be occurring in the next few years. Some things in this category might be college tuition, or vacations or even a vacation home. Making plans now for those several years ahead can really help to make them happen. It makes saving for them a bit easier when you are focused on what you want and when. Otherwise, money tends to get spent and disappear, and those years come quickly all the same.
Long term goals can be for decades down the road in your life. Sometimes its hard to think this far ahead when you are dealing with life in the here and now. The thing is, that people who are comfortable now as they are aging, often planned ahead for that. It isn't automatic, it isn't difficult, but it takes planning.
Being Smart and Seek out Good Advice
Be smart about things, such as getting good returns on your investments, beating inflation, minimizing taxes where you can, and planning for the unexpected things in life.
Look to others that have succeeded and see what advice they can give you. The main advice I would recommend is to ignore anything illegal or immoral. There is no point in having a lot of money if you had to hurt others or lie cheat or steal to get it. You can't even enjoy it, and you wouldn't want to be the kind of person that claims they do enjoy that. Working with an adviser is smart, or even just asking the generations ahead of you what they would recommend can be a great way to learn some invaluable things. Sometimes the biggest mistake is doing nothing, which is often what people do when all else fails. Look to people like financial planners, stockbrokers, insurance agents, Certified Public Accountants, and your bank's representatives. Something else you never want to forget, is that often our own parents (no matter our age!) have a great wealth of wisdom to draw from. At least learn from their mistakes, but you might be surprised how much your other relatives know, like aunts and uncles.