A personal financial plan will build a roadmap to help you better manage your money. It also allows you to accomplish your long-term goals and improve your financial health.
The financial plan enables you to paint an all-inclusive picture of your income flow, current, and future financial goals, as well as any financial strategies you have in place to accomplish these goals.
For better finances, you will need excellent financial planning. This includes all the details about your savings, cash flow, debt, insurance policies, and investments. Unfortunately, not many people know how to manage their money.
If you’re in this category, use the below 13 steps to help you better plan your finances and achieve your goals:
1. Educate Yourself About Personal Financial Management
Are you wondering what personal financial management is all about? The best way to find out is by reading books, checking out articles online about financial management, and asking an expert for help. This will help you understand more about finances; thus, giving you valuable knowledge.
Ensure you purchase a few reputable books and read them. Most books on the subject were written by professional experts. Thus, there are numerous books in the market today that will help you take control of your finances and invest your money wisely.
There are also books to help individuals learn how to borrow, get out of debt and improve their credit scores. Educating yourself about financial management will change your approach to finances.
If you’re running on a tight budget and looking to save money, you don’t need to purchase new books, and you could get used copies or borrow from a local library. You can also opt for audiobooks and ebooks; they are much cheaper than physical books.
2. Budget Your Finances
If you find yourself struggling to manage your finances, then it might be time to start budgeting. Creating a budget involves planning on how to use your finances every month. Your budget will depend on your monthly spending and your income.
Having a budget is one of the best ways to take charge of your finances and improve your financial health. You can start by determining how much your income is and then writing down your monthly expenses. These expenses may include rent, utility bills, gym membership, and monthly mortgage payments.
Add up all your expenses, then subtract the total from your income amount. Creating a budget helps you control how you spend your income. However, if you notice that your monthly spending is more than your income, you can look for ways to reduce unnecessary expenses.
3. Reduce Your Total Bills
The main goal of financial planning is taking control of your money. And the best way to do this is by reducing your expenses. Look for variable and flexible costs that can be lowered, like entertainment and clothing.
Unfortunately, it’s challenging to reduce some fixed expenses like monthly car payments and rent without significantly impacting your lifestyle. However, you can look for more minor ways to save on costs, such as purchasing items at a discount and saving electricity at home to save money on the electrical bill.
4. Eat Home Cooked Meals
Food is one of the significant expenses in most households today. While home-cooked meals are cheaper and healthier, most people opt for take-out meals because they save time. However, if you’re looking for a way to save some money, you should consider eating home-cooked meals and bringing packed lunch to work.
If you’re not used to cooking, you can start slow by making one or two meals every week. This will save you hundreds of dollars down the line. According to a study, bringing your own lunch to work can save you over $2,400 every year.
5. Plan for Your Taxes
Taxes can be stressful and annoying. However, they are inevitable, and it’s advisable to start planning for them. When creating a long-term plan and projection for your finances, ensure you also consider your taxes. If you don’t plan for your taxes, your finances could be affected negatively.
Remember to also look into ways to save on your taxes and stay updated on any tax deductions and credits that can help you save money when paying your taxes. If you don’t know where to start, contact a professional financial planner or a tax accountant for assistance.
6. Pay Your Loans
The most costly error most individuals make is carrying too much debt. The best way to ensure your financial health is to pay off all your loans as fast as possible and avoid applying for too many high-interest credit cards.
You can start by writing down all your loans, including student, car, and mortgage loans. Then, create a strategy to pay off all the loans. Figure out the percentage of your monthly income you can allocate towards loan repayments.
You can also look for ways to reduce your interest rates on the loans by consolidating your debts, negotiating with the lender for a reduced interest rate, or moving your high-interest loans to credit cards that have a generally lower interest rate. Then, create a sensible payment plan to pay off all your loans.
7. Create a Personal Financial Plan
Creating a financial plan is the first step to taking control of your personal finances. It will also help you accomplish your short-term and long-term goals. The financial plan acts as a timeline and a roadmap for more significant financial steps in your life.
It will help you map out your goals for the next 10 to 20 years. Thus, it’s essential to consider your monthly budget when creating a financial plan. It’s also advisable to prioritize your financial goals; only focus on two or fewer long-term financial goals at a time.
Your long-term financial plans should include significant life-altering events such as saving your children’s education, saving money for retirement, and buying a house.
8. Invest Your Money
There are only two ways to earn money; actively and passively. An active income means getting paid by an employer for using your skills. This includes freelancing and employment
On the other hand, passive income means investing in financial instruments such as gold and silver coins, real estate, mutual funds, and bonds. This is one of the best ways to build long-term wealth and take charge of your finances.
However, most people don’t know where to start when investing. You can begin by consulting a family office advisor, enrolling in a course to help you understand the basics of investing or talking to someone with experience and expertise in this area.
9. Increase Your Retirement Savings
Saving for retirement is a pivotal factor to consider when doing your accounting. Retirement is quite costly. Thus, it’s advisable to start saving as soon as possible. Even if you’re young, ensure you sign up for a 401(K) plan when you get your first job.
If you have paid off all your loans, consider increasing your retirement savings. The amount of money you should save for retirement will significantly depend on your age. When you’re in your 20s, it’s advisable to use 10%-15% of your total income for retirement savings.
On the other hand, if you start saving for your retirement in your 40s, you should consider contributing around 35% of your income. It’s also best if you start saving as early as possible for your retirement.
10. Look for Additional Income Sources
Sometimes, your financial problems may come from an insufficient income to support you instead of your spending habits. If you notice that you stick to your budget without spending your cash on unnecessary things and your income is still not enough to support you, consider finding another source of income. There are various ways to earn money and expand your revenue streams.
You can find additional income through finding another job that pays better, investing your money, or taking on two jobs. The more income you have, the more your financial stability will be, especially if you’re unmarried or live in a single-income home.
11. Get Insurance
Another great way to protect your personal finances is by purchasing the right insurance policies. Most individuals buy insurance such as homeowners, cars, and renters’ insurance to protect their assets. You can also purchase health and life insurance to protect yourself and your family members.
Unfortunately, most individuals are tempted to skip purchasing insurance. However, always keep in mind that an insurance cover will shield you from disasters and accidents that may harm your financial health.
12. Set up an Estate Plan
Most people don’t like thinking about estate planning. However, it’s an essential step to personal financial planning. Estate planning helps you make plans for the future of your estates after you’re gone.
The process involves writing down all the assets you have, crafting a will, and ensuring that everyone who needs access to your choice has it. You can ask an estate attorney or a financial planner to help you with this process.
13. Review Your Financial Plan Regularly
After creating your financial plan, ensure you review it regularly and update it based on your current budget and income capabilities. If your long-term financial goals change, ensure you also review your financial plan.
Take the Above Steps to Ensure Better Finances
Your path to financial independence and taking charge of your finances will not always be easy. However, if you follow all the above tips, you will take control of your financial health and a pathway for better finances. Creating a solid plan for your finances will help you reach your short-term and long-term financial goals.
Did you like this article? Check out other posts on our site for more informative tips.