Sunday, April 27, 2008

Creating Your Financial Plan

The purpose of this series is for you to create a WRITTEN financial plan. Most of the information you will read here you have heard before. The point is for you to finally create a plan for yourself and use it to fix your finances.

A financial plan is NOT a budget. A financial plan is a roadmap to your financial future. The plan you create does not have to be set in stone and for reasons I will explain later it should not be. The plan you create should help you attain your goals for the near future and also goals for much later on. You need a few things to create your plan.

  • A notebook to write it in. (You can put it on a computer but I promise putting pen to paper will really help you get it in your head)
  • Your current savings balance
  • Paycheck stubs for you and your spouse if applicable
  • Credit card statements
  • Current balances on any loan

I use Dave Ramsey’s baby steps as a guideline to what you should do and when. I have lived these steps both having some of them done and having the same steps them NOT done. I really agree with his line of thinking here.

For each step you are going to create a goal. Even if you have completed the step you will still create a goal for that step.

I think it is important that you write a goal for each step even if you are no where near beginning it. Some of my goals are one short sentence. As I complete more goals I will expand on the goals that are further down the road. You can also add your own goals in between the ones I will suggest. This is your plan. Make it for you. One of my goals is that after I finish paying off all of my debt I will save for a vacation as a reward before going on to the next step. This will keep me from making my other goals as soon, but to me it is important to get to ENJOY some of my success.

The reason your plan should not be set in stone should be obvious, but just in case I will explain. Life happens. You may have an unexpected debt, lose a loved one, use all of your emergency savings in one fell swoop….. you get the picture. My plan has changed a lot in the past year, and I am sure it will change again. You cannot let this sway your efforts. Adjust your plan as needed and get back on track as soon as you can. As you will see, the plan should actually have some fail safes built in so that you are not thrown off course should things not go as planned.

Take some time to gather up what you need and come back tomorrow for the next step.

Step One - Creating Your Own Financial Plan

Step Two- Creating Your Own Financial Plan

Step Three- Creating Your Own Financial Plan

Step Four - Creating Your Own Financial Plan

Financial Plan Wrap Up

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