As a woman, you have financial needs that are unique to your situation in life. Perhaps you would like to buy your first home. Maybe you need to start saving for your child’s college education. Or you might be concerned about planning for retirement. Whatever your circumstances may be, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your overall financial position. That means constructing and implementing a plan. With a financial plan in place, you’ll be better able to focus on your financial goals and understand what it will take to reach them.
The three main steps in creating and implementing an effective financial plan involve:
- Developing a clear picture of your current financial situation
- Setting and prioritizing financial goals and time frames
- Implementing appropriate saving and investment strategies
1. Developing a clear picture of your current financial situation
The first step to creating and implementing a financial plan is to develop a clear picture of your current financial situation. If you don’t already have one, consider establishing a budget or a spending plan.
Creating a budget requires you to:
- Identify your current monthly income and expenses
- Evaluate your spending habits
- Monitor your overall spending
To develop a budget, you’ll need to identify your current monthly income and expenses. Start out by adding up all of your income.
Next, add up all of your expenses. If it makes it easier, you can divide your expenses into two categories: fixed and discretionary. Fixed expenses include things that are necessities, such as housing, food, transportation, and clothing. Discretionary expenses include things like entertainment, vacations, and hobbies.
2. Setting and prioritizing financial goals
Start out by making a list of things that you would like to achieve. It may help to separate the list into two parts: short-term financial goals and long-term financial goals.
Once you have established your financial goals, you’ll want to prioritize them. You will have to decide which of your financial goals are most important to you (e.g., sending your child to college) and which goals you may have to place on the back burner (e.g., the beachfront vacation home you’ve always wanted).
After you have determined your financial goals, you’ll want to know how much it will take to fund each goal. And if you’ve already started saving towards a goal, you’ll want to know how much further you’ll need to go.
3. Implementing appropriate investment strategies
To help determine which investments are suitable for your financial goals, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my time horizon?
- What is my emotional and financial tolerance for investment risk?
- What are my liquidity needs?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be able to tailor your investments to help you target specific financial goals, such as retirement, education, a large purchase (e.g., home or car), starting a business, or increasing your net worth.
Working with a financial professional
Although you can certainly do it alone, you may find it helpful to work with a financial professional to assist you in creating and implementing a financial plan. A financial professional can help you accomplish the following:
- Determine the state of your current affairs by reviewing income, assets, and liabilities
- Develop a plan and help you identify your financial goals
- Make recommendations about specific products/services
- Monitor your plan
- Adjust your plan as needed
Tip: Keep in mind that unless you authorize a financial professional to make investment choices for you, a financial professional is solely there to make financial recommendations to you. Ultimately, you have responsibility for your finances and the decisions surrounding them. There is no assurance that working with a financial professional will improve investment results.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2018