What is financial planning
Financial planning is the process that helps you map out how you use your money to get to your goals. Basically, you have to come up with a way to take the money you have, and get from where you are to where you want to be financially. The following are some of the steps for financial planning.
Set goals: Make them SMART goals. These are goals that meet the following criteria.
Specific: What do you want? How much does that cost? If you are going to have a financial plan, you have to know what you want, and where you want it. The more specific you are, the easier it is to set up a financial plan. So, for example, you might say that you want to buy a house. When do you want to? How much does the house cost? How much will you need to put down versus finance? Knowing the specifics is critical to a successful financial plan.
Measurable: When do you want it? Your goal has to be measurable. You can't just say, "I want to pay for college." You have to say you want to go to a specific school, and how much that school costs. Then you can decide how to get to that measurable number.
Attainable: How can you save it in that much time? Do you have the income to do that? For example, if you say you want to buy a ranch that costs a million dollars, and you want to do it in three years, and you make $40,000 a year, it may be a little out of your reach, even if you saved every cent you earned, you wouldn't have enough to put as a down payment without making some pretty great investments. So, make sure that the goal is attainable, if it isn't, you have to change some of your spending habits and earning potential to make it attainable, or change the goal.
Reasonable: How will your life be if you try to do this? You might have six months to save three thousand dollars, and on paper $500 a month sounds doable, but what are you going to be sacrificing or doing without to make it happen? Can you really do that? Is your goal reasonable and still allow you to live a basically comfortable life?
Time bound: Time frame for when you need to do this by. Does your goal have a time frame?
Once you set you goals, make sure you analyze information: Look at income, and look at expenses. Can you accomplish your goals with the income and expenses you have?
Now create a plan to make it possible. This is like creating your budget.
Next, implement your plan. Talk to other people about your plan. They will be supportive, and there will be some accountability and pressure to make sure you are actually doing it.
Last, monitor and modify. Look at how you are doing, do you need to save more? Do you need to save less? What adjustments should you make to your plan to make it possible? Now go and do.