October is the International Financial Planning Month, which can serve as a great reminder to review your long-term financial goals and adjust as necessary. It is also a good time to make a plan, to begin with, if you don’t already have one. Reaching goals is predicated on having a well thought out a financial plan.
What are your goals?
Because financial planning is generally tied to investing, saving for retirement is a common long-term goal that one has to plan for. However, you may have other long-term financial goals that you’re working towards. Whether your goal is beginning to invest, enhancing your investment strategy, buying a home, or simply becoming more financially healthy, having a clearly defined goal is an important first step.
What is your plan?
Once you have set a goal, knowing how you’re going to achieve it is crucial. It’s not enough to make a vague plan of action. Simply saying “I’m going to save more for retirement” will likely not be enough to keep you motivated and help you reach your objective. Instead, you’ll need to have clear, actionable, measurable steps that are feasible for you and your situation. For example, saying something like “I’m going to save 50% more towards retirement this year than I did last year by contributing X dollars more each pay period” will help you stay on track. And when you have specific actions set, you’ll not only hold yourself more accountable, but you’ll stay motivated because you’ll have milestones to celebrate along the way.
How are you tracking your goals?
The key to staying on the right path towards your goals is to keep accurate track of your progress. This Financial Planning Month, examine your tracking methods. Have you been staying on top of measuring your progress? Is your tracking method the best for your process? Are you even tracking at all? Tracking your progress doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be keeping a simple digital spreadsheet or handwriting your progress in a notebook. Additionally, a number of budgeting and financial applications that can do the tracking for you and provide information in an easy to read and understand format. The information helps you to see whether you’re moving in the right direction or not and based on this you can make adjustments as needed. Who is helping you reach your goals? While it is possible to reach your goals on your own it is beneficial to seek the help of a financial expert, advisor, or accountability partner that you feel comfortable working with. Your finances are very personal, so knowing you can trust your financial expert or accountability partner is crucial. They need to have values of integrity, confidentiality, and honesty.
Savings Are Not Enough
If you are just putting your money into savings, you are really not getting the biggest bang for your dollars, so to speak. Savings accounts attract low-interest rates; therefore, having your money in a savings account is really not going to accomplish anything other than having a place to hold your money. Growing your money is shrewd and beneficial therefore you should be constantly thinking about how to do this through good investment portfolios and increased financial inflows will help you will reach your financial goals faster. The market can be a highly effective place for income growth, but it can also be a very scary place for your money. While we all like a good scare, this October, your money should not be where you get scared. Have an investment strategy that helps you navigate the difficulties in the financial terrain and positions you to take up the best opportunities.
This is the month to go back to your financial drawing board and re-assess your financial goals. Money matters you must always be in charge of it. Take advantage of the World Financial Planning Day, 7th October, and look out for more news on how best to tackle your financial plan
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