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Everyone Needs A Financial Plan

BOSTON (CBS) - Financial Planning Week starts today.

Everyone can benefit from financial planning. 50 years ago people's financial lives were simple. There was one kind of mortgage, you had a savings account, there were no credit cards and if you wanted to buy a stock, you paid an 8% commission. Today the financial choices in our lives are overwhelming.

Everyone needs to have a plan. And you need a backup plan.

Most individuals do not have a plan of any kind for their future. When working on your financial plan, you need to be looking at the big picture. Life happens and we react to the everyday things that come up without realizing how the decisions will affect us in five, 10, or 20 years.

The financial planning process can easily be broken down into five simple steps.

  • What do you want? These are your goals.
  • What have you got? This is your net worth.
  • Saving and investing to get what you want
  • Managing the obstacles you will encounter along the way
  • Protecting the people you love and the assets you have accumulated

Let's start with what you want, the first step. The big picture here. What do you want to be doing in 5, 10, 20 years? Where do you want to be living? What kind of job? Retired? And as grown-ups there is a dollar component to all of our goals. Remember, a goal is a dream with a deadline.

Your number one financial goal should be a comfortable retirement. But often times credit card debt, buying your first house and having children put retirement planning on the back burner.

Make out a list of your goals. By writing them down you stimulate a part of the brain called the reticular activating system. This system triggers a filtering process and begins to collect information and routing it to the conscious part of your brain.

Now prioritize the list. What is the most important goal? Then write down the time horizon for each goal. If it's a college education for the kiddo who is four years old you will begin to need the money in 14 years. Retirement is 35 years away.

So now you have a prioritized list of your goals, take it one step further. What you have is just an outline. Now fill it in. How much will you need to save? Where will the money come from? Do this with each item on your list.                                                                                                                                                       418

To find a financial planner to help you achieve your goals and dreams in your area contact the FPA, the Financial Planning Association's local Boston chapter or their national website. Check out the free events the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts has planned.

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