Make a financial plan that fits your life.
By Anna Bodine
The complexity of our financial lives can be somewhat overwhelming at times, with thoughts ruminating about our brains like, “I hope I’m saving enough for retirement,” or “I really need to do more with my investments” and, “I wonder how much we need to save for our kids to go to college.”
It can be so overwhelming that it creates a tendency to just ignore it. There are so many other pressing things we need to focus on in our daily lives, right? As women at work, we’re thinking about meeting deadlines, developing and sustaining client relationships, managing the team, etc. As women at home, we’re thinking about making sure there are groceries in the house, taking pets to the vet and/or kids to the doctor, paying bills, planning our next vacation, etc. Who has time to think about retirement or what to do about the idle cash sitting in the bank earning next to nothing?
The thing is, though, if you don’t think about it and do something about it sooner than later, five years will go by, then 10 years and then you may be left with not enough saved or investment opportunities gone by.
To make the complexities of your financial life simpler and more easily actionable, here are three key tips for starting a financial plan based on your phase in life:
1. For your future. Figure out what your retirement goal is. I’m not talking about numbers here. I’m talking about visualizing yourself as retired. How do you see yourself in retirement: working part time, volunteering , traveling more? What type of lifestyle do you envision in retirement? For instance, will you want to maintain your current lifestyle or are you willing to make adjustments?
2. For your family. If you have children or grandchildren, think about your goals for their education. Do you want to provide private out-of-state education or public in-state education or are they on their own to pay for college?
3. For your legacy. Think about the values, wishes and stories you want to pass along to your loved ones. How will you share your financial legacy with your loved ones: with a letter, with a video? Have you updated your will and trusts?
If you want to get serious about getting your financial life in shape, dedicate some time to thinking about these questions and write down your answers and thoughts. Then meet with a financial advisor to further develop your goals and create a plan.
While the challenges of our financial lives may sometimes feel insurmountable, we are each only three steps away from an actionable plan that addresses all those thoughts that get pushed to the back of our minds. And with a financial plan in place, you can have some peace about your financial life, and you may even find some inspiration to do things you hadn’t even thought of.
Anna Bodine is the chief operating officer and senior advisor at Harrell Investment Partners and an accredited asset management specialist (AAMS).