Start Taking the Headaches out of Your Finances with this Do-It-Yourself Financial PlanActions You Take Today Assure Your Comfortable Future
Itís not really news but Youíll need money the rest of your
life. Hopefully youíll have all you need. To get there you
need to think about how your actions today will influence
your future. If youíre like most people, you think about
money every day - how to get more - how to keep more and how
to have more in the future. Thinking is good but action is
You probably have an action plan for making income, which
may be as simple as going to work and doing a good job, all
the way to a full and complete business plan. But if youíre
like a lot of people, doing financial planning is something
that "youíll get to someday."
Hang onto More of what You Make
So here is your thought for the day: Along with making
money, plan for and learn how to keep as much as you can,
grow what you have and maximize savings. There are resources
to help you do that.
We all know of instances of people who have earned money,
sometimes lots of it and then threw it all away. Iím sure
you know of a few people like that. These can be tragic
stories. Donít let yourself become one of those stories.
Sometimes the tragedy is not dramatic front page news, itís
simply people who have earned money and didnít put it away.
Financial plan - complicated?
Financial = Having to do with finances/money.
Plan = The step-by-step method toward a goal or destination.
A financial plan is a way of setting guideposts for your
financial future. You need to know where youíre going. Would
it make any sense to decide that you want to go "somewhere"
and start driving? Well, it could be fun but you could end
up in a swamp! A little planning helps. Make a roadmap.
Figure out where you want to go and how to get there
financially. Thatís what a financial plan is all about.
By the way, putting this off is not good for your financial
health! The cost of waiting is expensive to you and your
family. Just waiting one year to put money away can cost you
thousands down the road. If you wait years you may look back
and regret not starting earlier. No regrets! Start today!
Taking the Next Step is Easier than you Think
WhatĎs the number one thing to do if you do nothing else?
Take 10% of your gross income and treat it just like a bill
for your phone, mortgage payment or rent. Treat it as
something that absolutely must be paid and then put it away.
Here are some basic steps that give you some ideas about
putting together your financial plan.
1. Take a look at where you stand today. List all your
assets (home value, cash, stocks, retirement accounts etc.
in one column and all your liabilities (mortgage, loans,
credit card debt etc.) in another column. By taking your
total assets minus your liabilities you get your net worth.
2. Check your income vs. outflow. Mark down your family
income (net after taxes) plus any income from investments.
Compare this to what you spend. Take the difference and
thatís what you have left over to invest and save.
3. Write down your financial goals. Include how much income
you will want at retirement, money for college education,
short term goals such as saving for travel.
4. Managing risk. Make sure that the important things you
accumulate in life are covered including the proper
homeowners and auto insurance and a personal liability
policy. Insure the most important asset that you have -
your income - with life insurance and disability insurance
5. Institute a plan. Now that you know what you have and
where you want to go, how do you incorporate a plan? This is
the point where you should decide whether you want some help
or not. There are online programs to help you or you can
engage the services of a professional. Hereís a link
(http://www.cfp.net/learn/default.asp) to the certified
financial planner site about how to find a financial
planner. We also like http://www.consolidatedfinancial.com
6. Review your plan. Go over your plan on a regular basis
to check your progress and make sure youíre on track.
Delaying Action will Cost You Thatís not so hard, is it? So
the idea is to start, do something, begin these steps and
then keep working on it. If you want professional advice you
can find a financial planner. If you do, get references,
read their web site, check with and find out what the fees
are in advance.
Two ways to check on a financial planner are through the
NASD http://www.nasd.com (National Association of Securities
Dealers) the state insurance department (Go to a search
engine and type your state and then insurance department)
Why? Because almost all financial planners include
securities (mutual funds, stocks etc. and insurance as part
of the plan) and one has to licensed to represent these
products. On the NASD site you can look up the background of
any licensed financial professional including any adverse
We donít do "financial planning" but since weíre working
with a key part of financial planning (the limiting of risk
part) we can give you some ideas on how to get started. We
also can help you with the risk planning aspect of this
subject which includes getting the right life insurance from
http://www.lifeinsure.com and disability insurance
(available from our sister site,
If you take nothing else from this article remember three
1. Pay yourself first. Take 10% of your gross income and
treat it as a bill and put it in a safe place. Make that
2. Protect your assets for your family and yourself with
life insurance, disability insurance and the proper
liability insurance (home and auto).
3. And begin the first part of a financial plan. Start!
©2005, Intramark Insurance
About the author:
Neil Willner Intramark Insurance Your online source for life insurance quotes. You can search for the best rates from major life insurance cos. online - on your own http://www.LifeInsure.comand http://www.protectyourincome.comToll Free 866-691-0100