Investing is essential to financial freedom, but it isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. If you do not have goals and a plan, it is very difficult to invest properly. Unfortunately, our school systems do not place much emphasis on personal finance. As a result, investing and financial management can feel foreign and somewhat intimidating. That’s OK, because we are here to help.
Here is a checklist which can be used by anyone—high schooler, college student, newlyweds, mid-career and retirees—to assess your personal financial situation and further develop your own personal plan.
- List your essential expenses/needs and compare them to your income. If your expenses exceed your income, reassess your essential needs.
- Make a plan to save (or, if you are retired, a plan for withdrawals).
- Have a tax plan.
- Pay off high-interest debt.
- Build an emergency fund (minimally 6 months of expenses).
- Develop a long term investing strategy appropriate to your needs, goals and risk tolerance.
- Stick to the plan—rebalance each year and assess investments relative to meeting your needs and goals.
This checklist is just a good start. We believe every good financial plan should include a review of your risk management/insurance needs, health insurance, estate plan and social security. We realize that life often gets in the way of this type of planning. Remember, our mission is to guide you through this process and to make life less complicated.