We don’t plan to fail, we just sometimes fail to plan…you’ve heard that before, right?

Planning for financial success is so essential, and yet so often the most overlooked tool.  So why do we fail to plan our finances?   Maybe because we never were taught how.   Maybe we never had good experiences with the planning we did.   Maybe it just seemed hard.

Put all of the excuses aside and learn the basics of financial planning.  What gets most people in trouble is that they need to plan but just neglect to.

The 6 Most Important Financial Planning Tips

#1 – Plan Your Spending

  • There is one very basic tool that you can use to plan your spending…It’s called a budget.
  • A budget will be your documentation to yourself.
  • Sticking to a budget will hold YOU accountable to YOU.

#2 – Tax Planning

  • You will keep more of your hard-earned money if you do a better job of planning your taxes.
  • Don’t wait until tax day to implement a tax planning strategy…unless your strategy is for next year’s taxes.
  • Do your tax planning a year in advance.
  • Work closely with your accountant on the best way to save money on your taxes….there are numerous ways to save money, you just need to plan for them.

#3 – Retirement Planning

  • Retirement and Financial Planning TipsThe real question you need to ask yourself is whether you are set up to have enough money to support yourself for the second half of your life…your retirement years.
  • Plan on saving enough money to last at least 20 years because that’s about how long your retirement could last.
  • The worst situation you could put yourself into is to outspend your retirement savings.
  • Financial advisers recommend that before you retire you have at least 75% – 80% of your pre-retirement income in savings.
  • Start by determining what age you want to retire at and work backwards from there.
  • Based on your targeted retirement age, determine how much you will need to meet your basic financial needs.   You can use a financial calculator to determine these projections.
  • To put yourself in the best financial position, before retiring have your home paid off, do not carry any mortgages, primary or secondary.
  • Before retiring, lower your expenses as much as you possible can, pay off all outstanding loans and credit card debt.
  • You want to pay off all debt while you still have a pay check; once you retire, your source of funds will be reduced so pay off debt before your main source of income gets cut out.

#4 – Insurance Planning

  • Your insurance needs include your financial as well as your personal.
  • Your financial insurance needs include life insurance.
  • Your personal insurance needs include your auto insurance and home insurance needs.
  • Good credit scores will make a difference in your auto and home insurance premiums…so be aware of that when you go out for insurance quotes.
  • Work with your insurance agent on both life insurance, auto and homeowners insurance plus covering any other property you may own, such as a boat or possibly a business.
  • The purpose of insurance is to protect you and your financial base; so don’t think of insurance as merely a requirement, insurance is vital to your financial success.

# 5 – Investment Planning

  • Your investment planning covers a broad range of areas, all important to financial planning success.
  • Risk tolerance levels, planning strategies, sufficient cash flow are all important investment planning issues.
  • Your first step is to have a planning strategy so that you have a base to build from.
  • Confirm that your portfolio match your risk tolerance
  • Even though you many not understand annuities as an investment, check them out, learn about them.  Annuities may fit into your investment planning strategies.
  • What you don’t know with financial planning – can hurt you; so learn as much as you possible can.
  • Take financial planning classes, talk with a financial adviser, buy some financial planning books.

#6 – Estate Planning

  • Everyone should have a will.
  • Well actually, everyone already has a will, it’s called the state.
  • But everyone should have their own personal will drawn up by an attorney.
  • Without your own personal will in place, the state will come in and decide upon the distribution of your assets, versus you deciding.