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Beyond Retirement Savings: Why You Need a Financial Plan

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Many people think that as long as they are regularly contributing to retirement, they do not need to worry about future financial planning. While saving for retirement is essential, it is not enough to be truly successful financially. Simply saving for retirement does not help you purchase a home or reach other goals that may be related to your finances. A good financial plan will help you reach each your financial goals and milestones and help you reach your ultimate goal of retiring comfortably much easier.

A financial plan makes it easier to map your goals, and then set the steps you need to get there. If you want to buy a home, purchase a car or open your own business, then you should include these on your financial plan. The plan will stop you from floundering around with no real financial purpose, and can help prevent you from squandering all of your earnings without anything to show in return for them. Although you may not be ready to do these things now, you need to begin preparing now, so you are ready when the time comes.

Your financial plan should include both short-term and long-term components. Short-term components may be things like getting out of debt, and increasing the amount you have in savings. Long-term components include things like purchasing a home, opening your business, and paying for your children’s education.

It can be difficult to think about things like purchasing a home, or paying for your child’s education when you first graduate from college, especially if you are still single, and you are not sure you are going to have children. Creating a solid financial plan now will make it easier to add in those components when you reach that point in your life. It can be frustrating to realize you want those things later, but not in a position to do them financially because of the decisions you made when you were younger. And if you decide not to pursue those options, you will still be in a better position financially in a few years so that you can do the things you really enjoy.

A good financial plan will look at your entire life. It will help you reach each of the milestones you choose to pursue in your life. Homeownership is something that most people eventually plan for at some point. If you are not at a point in your career or life where you are ready to make the purchase you can put money aside for a down payment so that if you reach a point when you want to, you will be ready to do that. The steps to an effective financial plan are not difficult to lay out, but it will take time to reach each goal you set.

When you are in a long-term relationship, but not married you may have similar long-term financial plans, but you should keep your finances separate from each other. This means your savings should be kept separate, even if you are working towards the same goals. Once you are married, you will need to plan together. You may need to adjust some of your goals and make new ones together.

Creating your financial plan will help you prepare for more than just retirement. If you do not plan and save now, it will be more difficult to buy a home and build wealth. Investing outside of retirement should be a part of your plan, and when you reach that point you should contact a financial planner or advisor who can help you create the investing strategy that will help you complete your financial plan. They can help you make the right decisions about investments and let you know if you should use a 529 plan or U.S. savings bonds to save for college. They can also help you pick mutual funds, annuities and other stocks.

Reaching your financial goals and other goals in life will be easier when you have a solid financial plan in place. Regular contributions for retirement are important, but they are not enough if you want to succeed financially. You can put yourself in a position to buy a home, and open your own business or return to school if you plan carefully now. Once you are established financially, you may consider giving to charity as a way of paying it forward. People without a solid plan are more likely to squander their income and accumulate debt. Take the time now to plan for your future.

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