Set measurable financial goals.
Create specific targets for what you want to achieve and when you want to see results. For example, instead of saying you want to be "comfortable" when you retire or that you want your children to attend "good" schools, you need to define exactly what "comfortable" and "good" mean so you'll know when you've reached your goals.
Understand the effects of each financial decision.
Every financial decision you make can affect several other areas of your life. For example, an investment decision may have tax consequences that are harmful to your estate plans. Or a decision about your child's education may affect when and how you meet your retirement goals. Remember that all of your financial decisions are interrelated.
Re-evaluate your financial situation periodically.
Financial planning is a dynamic process. Your financial goals may change over the years due to changes in your lifestyle or circumstances, such as an inheritance, marriage, birth, house purchase or change of job status. Revisit and revise your financial plan as time goes by so you stay on track to meet your long-term goals. Certified Financial Planner™ professionals can offer financial planning advice to help you achieve your financial goals.
Start planning as soon as you can.
People who save or invest small amounts of money early and often tend to do better than those who wait until later in life. By developing good financial planning habits such as saving, budgeting, investing and regularly reviewing your finances, you will be better prepared to handle emergencies and life changes.
Be realistic in your expectations.
Financial planning is a common sense approach to managing your finances to reach your goals. It cannot change your situation overnight—it's a lifelong process. Remember that events beyond your control, such as inflation or changes in the stock market or interest rates, will affect your financial planning results.
You don't need to go it alone.
Just as you seek a doctor's expert opinion for medical issues, there are times when you need a qualified financial planning professional to provide financial advice. Financial Planner are ready to help you develop and implement a financial plan that will help you on your journey to a healthy financial future.
Realize that you are in charge.
If you're working with a Financial Planner, be sure you understand the financial planning process. Provide your Financial Planner with all relevant information about your financial situation. Ask questions about the recommendations offered to you, and play an active role in decision-making.