The world of personal financial planning offers endless options. How do you know which ones are best for you? Read along as Financial Coach Sherry explains to reader Bert, and us, how to create your own customized plan.
Hey Bert! I’m so happy you reached out, and I’m excited to help you today! I’m Sherry, a financial coach. I have almost five years of experience, so your questions are right up my alley, and I’m here to help. Personal financial planning can be as simple or as complex as you want.
When many hear financial plans, they focus on retirement planning and long-term investing. The truth is, the foundation of financial planning starts with a solid plan for your money. It builds on your plan by adding in your financial goals. And then, it’s time to look into retirement and other longer-term plans.
I’ll start by saying that it is normal to feel overwhelmed with all the information. When you are researching solutions to manage your money and build your financial plans, know that there is no one-size fits all plan! While I am happy there’s a lot of information out there, your feelings of overwhelm break my heart. Let’s dive into how to find the information and build a plan that works for you!
When working to find the things that will work best for you and your finances, it comes down to two things.
- Knowing what your goals are, both with your finances and in life. Thinking about want you want your life to look like in the coming years and beyond. This will give you answers and keep you focused when considering your options.
- Knowing yourself. Knowing what works for you in other areas of your life can help you understand what will work best for you in your financial life. Your life experience also plays in finding what will work for you. Different generations tend to have different ways of managing their money. Leaning into this could help you determine what methods will work best for you.
What’s The End-Game?
Take a step back by carving out a little time for yourself. Grab your favourite hot beverage and a notebook, and think about what you want for your life and your money today and in the future! Here are a few things to consider:
- What does balance mean to you for your money? A balance between spending today and saving for your financial future can be challenging to find. You might need a little trial and error to find it.
- Think about what is currently working for you and what challenges you may be having. Do you want to lean into automating as much as you can, or do you prefer to have a more hands-on approach?
- What are your financial priorities right now, in the next 2-5 years and further into your future? How can you include them in your short/medium-term plans?
Putting it all together
Let’s put it all together and start building an action plan for your finances from the ground up! These steps are all important to consider for every financial situation.
The foundation starts with a budget. If the word budget feels negative to you, call it a spending plan or give it any other name that feels good to you. When creating a budget, or fine-tuning an existing one, think about what is important to you. Is debt repayment, emergency savings, or overall financial health a priority for you? You could also focus on enjoying life to the fullest and including money in your budget for things like concerts, travel, and dinners out! Lean into what is important to you and then figure out how you can include them in your plan.
While you’ve considered your priorities, it’s time to focus more on your financial goals. Breaking them down into small goals and tracking the smaller goals regularly is a path to help you achieve your main goals. It lets you quickly see if you’re off track and either make corrections or adjust the goal.
When it comes to long-term goals, like retirement, do you want to roll up your sleeves and manage your investments yourself, or get support? The answer to that question will depend on your financial literacy level and your time. Think about which option will make the planning process work best for you. If you want a professional’s help, find someone with whom you have a good connection. Don’t be afraid to talk to as many people as you need to, so that you find the one that’s a good fit for you.
Next, it’s time to talk about taking care of other tasks that are all part of your overall financial health. This is where estate planning, life insurance, and making or reviewing your will, come into play! They may not be as fun as watching your credit card or student loan balances decrease or savings grow but, they are essential.
When it comes to personal financial planning, having a money buddy can be hugely beneficial. This could be your spouse/partner, a close friend or family member, or it could be a financial professional, like a financial coach (although I may be a little biased there)! While not essential, they can help you make financial decisions, support you in reaching your financial goals, and help keep you on track when challenges arise. Whether you decide to bring in a money buddy or work on implementing your financial plan on your own, carving out time to check in is important. I recommend a weekly check-in. Pick a time that fits your schedule, and add it to your calendar or put a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget!
Remember, when it comes to personal financial planning nothing is set in stone. As your life changes, and you learn more about yourself and what works, don’t be afraid to make changes. When your priorities shift, you may make big changes to financial goals, or add or subtract goals. It’s all perfectly normal!
I wish you the best of luck with your financial planning Bert! While I’ve linked a few great articles here, check out all the other amazing content available to you!
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