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Financial Plan: Roadmap for a Stress-free Life
Financial freedom and financial security are major goals of Gen-Zs, Millennials, and even Baby-boomers. However, achieving this takes more than good ideas in the head and good intentions in the heart. Calculated actions based on a financial roadmap are needed.
Creating a financial plan is putting in place the needed structure that will support a lifestyle free from financial stress, during both employable days and retirement years.
- Financial planning sets out a strategy to get to your desired financial state from your current state
- A good financial plan should cover estate plan, retirement strategy, risk management plan, tax reduction strategies, and long-term investment planning
- Identifying your goals and asking the right questions in light of them is necessary to finding a financial planner for help
- Financial plans are only effective if you stick to them
The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to serve as a source of professional financial advice. Find experts on real estate, financial planning and wealth management here. More on disclaimer here.
What is a Financial Plan?
A financial plan is a critical assessment of a person's financial situation in light of their financial dreams. It considers both short and long-term goals and details a customized set of strategies to move from the current state to the desired state.
Financial planning is the process of creating a financial roadmap to reach your financial goals. It involves evaluating your current financial situation, setting financial goals, and developing strategies to achieve those goals.
Why You Need a Financial Plan
Financial planning is key to financial well being. It gives you a sense of being on the right track and being in charge, and this can help you feel more confident about yourself and your life.
Working with a financial plan means that you are always prepared psychologically and financially for sudden or gradual economic changes in your life or in society, say, a recession, historic inflation, or loss of employment.
According to Charles Schwab's 2021 Modern Wealth Survey, Americans who develop and work with financial plans sustain positive saving and investing practices. And a large percentage of these have emergency savings to cover for three months during a downturn.
Those living paycheck to paycheck and without a financial plan often don't and regularly suffer financial stress.
A financial plan can help you cover expenses for basic needs and immediate goals as well as focus on a bigger picture. It enables you to stay on track and not diverge into unnecessary spending.
Moreover, carefully thought-out investments can help you build generational wealth, and careful estate planning can ensure that your wealth gets passed down to the right persons of your choice.
Steps to Creating a Financial Plan
Here are basic steps you can take to create a financial plan:
- Evaluate your current financial situation: This involves taking stock of your current assets, debts, and income.
- Set financial goals: Define what you want to achieve with your finances, such as saving for a down payment on a home or retirement.
- Develop a budget: A budget helps you manage your spending and ensure that you are putting your money toward your financial goals.
- Establish an emergency fund: An emergency fund can provide a cushion in case of unexpected expenses, such as a job loss or medical emergency.
- Manage debt: Prioritize paying off high-interest debt, such as credit cards, and work on creating a plan to pay down other debts.
- Invest for the future: Consider investing in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds to help grow your wealth over time.
- Review and adjust your plan: Regularly review your financial plan to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals and make adjustments as needed.
It is important to note that getting started early or as soon as possible is key to financial success. Also, working with a financial advisor can also be helpful in creating and implementing a financial plan that is customized for your specific needs and goals.
Simple Overview of a Financial Plan
Good financial planning should include details about your cash flow, savings, debt, investments, insurance and any other elements of your financial life.
A well developed financial plan should address:
- estate plan
- retirement strategy
- risk management plan
- tax reduction strategies, and
- long-term investment planning.
Should You Get Professional Help When Building Your Financial Plan?
There's a lot on financial planning to learn online through articles, blogs, and podcasts, and you should learn them. Also, while it is possible to create a financial plan on your own, working with a financial professional can provide valuable expertise and guidance.
Owing to the moving parts that come to play in economics and the financial world, especially in investments, choosing to work with a financial advisor or financial planner in developing a financial plan is putting your best foot forward.
Here are some reasons why you might want to consider getting professional help when creating a financial plan:
- Knowledge and Expertise: Financial advisors have knowledge and expertise in finance and investing, which can help you make informed decisions about your financial future.
- Objectivity: A financial advisor can provide an objective perspective on your financial situation and help you make decisions that are in your best interest.
- Tailored Advice: A financial advisor can help you create a personalized plan based on your specific financial goals and circumstances.
- Accountability: A financial advisor can help keep you accountable for following through on your financial plan and staying on track.
- Ongoing support: A financial advisor can provide ongoing support and guidance as your financial situation and goals change over time.
It's important to note that financial advisors charge fees for their services, and it's essential to understand how they are compensated before you start working with them.
How Do I Get Professional Help?
Getting professional help to create a financial plan can be a great way to get expert guidance and support in achieving your financial goals.
Here are some steps you can take to find a financial advisor:
Identify Your Financial Goals
Before you start looking for a financial advisor, it's important to identify your financial goals and objectives.
Research Potential Advisors
You can start by searching online for financial advisors in your area or by getting recommendations from friends or family members.
Look for advisors who are licensed and certified, such as Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), who have undergone rigorous training and education.
Schedule a Consultation
Once you have identified potential advisors, schedule a consultation to discuss your financial situation and goals.
During the consultation, ask questions about the advisor's experience, investment philosophy, and fees.
Review the Advisor's Recommendations
After the consultation, review the advisor's recommendations and fees, and determine whether you want to move forward with their services.
You should also do your due diligence in researching and selecting a financial advisor who is reputable and has a track record of success.
Invest in Your Future Early: Follow Healthy Financial Practices from the Get-go
Following healthy economic practices is an essential component of any financial plan. Here are some tips to help you establish healthy economic practices:
Live within your means
This means spending below your income, and getting rid of debt.
Build an emergency fund
Having an emergency fund is crucial to avoid relying on credit in the case of unexpected expenses.
Pay off debt
Prioritize paying off high-interest debt, such as credit cards, and work on creating a plan to pay down other debts.
Save for retirement
Start saving for retirement as early as possible, and aim to contribute regularly to your retirement accounts.
Invest for the future
Start investing early and consider investing in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds to help grow your wealth over time.
Stay up-to-date on financial news and trends to make informed decisions about your investments and financial plan.
Review and adjust your plan
Regularly review your financial plan to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals and make adjustments as needed.
By following these healthy economic practices, you can establish a strong financial foundation for yourself and work towards achieving your long-term financial goals. And always remember that working with a financial advisor can be helpful in creating and implementing a plan that aligns with your financial objectives.
Conquer Your Fears of Outliving Retirement Savings
With a solid financial plan, you can be rest assured that your retirement days are covered. Beyond purchasing annuity or a life insurance policy, financial planning can lead to investments that generate more income than your earning during hay days.
So, find a financial advisor and stick to your financial plan. As a reminder, in practice, this looks like clearing credit card debt and using more debit card transactions.
If you're hoping to find a financial planner to help you develop a solid financial plan and help you stay on track, reach out to Ekenna Anya at Bay Street Capital Holdings.
Bay Street Capital Holdings
Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent investment advisory, wealth management, and financial planning firm based in Palo Alto, CA. The firm is Black-owned and has a strong focus on managing total risk and volatility, with the goal of maintaining and increasing total assets and income. Unlike many advisors who prioritize maximizing returns, Bay Street places a higher emphasis on risk management.
William Huston, the founder of Bay Street, established the firm after 13 years of supporting the Thrift Savings Plan, the largest retirement plan in the United States with $650B in assets. He has been recognized as one of Investopedia's Top 100 Financial Advisors for 2022. In California,
Bay Street is the only Black-owned firm among the twenty firms that received this recognition.
Ekenna Anya-Gafu CFP, AAMS, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, is recognized for his responsiveness, friendliness, helpfulness, and attention to detail, and is among the Best Financial Advisors. Bay Street was founded with the intention of advocating for diverse and emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs.
In 2021, Bay Street was chosen as a finalist in the Asset Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility category, out of over 900 firms across the United States.