from robo-advisors to banks, brokerages to independent financial advisors and financial planners, it seems that everywhere you look, there’s someone clamoring to manage your money. with a modicum of intelligence, the right amount of time, and some dedicated study, you may well be able to manage your money yourself. if you are good at tracking your spending, saving, and investing, there’s a strong likelihood you may be able to serve as your own financial planner. this means being comfortable making financial decisions not only now and for the near future but also for retirement. however, if you have a job and are saving and investing, at some point, your wealth will grow into six figures and maybe even more. it’s worth learning how to use financial software because these tools can do the number-crunching for you and generally make it easier to plan for future goals and retirement.
if you can stomach market volatility on your own and won’t feel compelled to panic-sell during regular market declines, you may not need an advisor. if you are on the path to saving and investing, maintaining a diversified portfolio, and confident you can remain invested through market peaks and valleys, you may be well suited for do-it-yourself financial planning for retirement. financial literacy is the confident understanding of concepts regarding money that affect individuals: saving, investing, and debt. it’s imperative today to make sure your personal finances are in order, from retirement saving to tax planning—and doing it the wrong way can get you in big trouble. individuals often possess the drive and skill set to plan for themselves when it comes to personal finances. if you’re a disciplined spender, saver, planner, and investor, you may be competent enough to manage your own finances. but you’ll also need to read up, stay focused, and take it seriously—for the rest of your life.
when it comes to your money and your plans, it can be hard to balance short-term wants, long-term dreams, and those unexpected events that out of your control. it takes you step-by-step through what you need to know to create a personal financial plan and help get your money in order. in nine steps, you have a nice framework to build on throughout your life. just start with one task and keep going. (or just tackle the whole thing on a long, rainy weekend with a big pot of coffee and a dog at your feet.) consider this your monthly cash flow and savings/investing plan. give yourself permission to decide where and how to send your money with our budgeting worksheet (pdf).
all the planning in the world won’t help if life throws you a curveball and you’re not prepared financially. our quiz will help you decide when to use these savings. use our debt management worksheet (pdf) to log your numbers and find the right balance. people with a good financial plan hope for the best, but plan for the unexpected. use our disability and life insurance worksheet (pdf) to log your coverage and identify any gaps. even if it’s a long way off, think about what you want your money to do for you when you retire, and create a plan to make it happen. to reach your mid- and long-term goals, take your savings strategy and put an engine behind it. you don’t have to be wealthy, old, married, or a parent to need an estate plan, which also lays out who makes financial and health care decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.
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