October is National Financial Planning Month, which can serve as a great reminder to check in on your long-term financial goals. Reaching goals is predicated on having a well thought out plan.
Therefore, Financial Planning Month is a time to review the plans you have in place and adjust as necessary. Or to make a plan to begin with if you don’t already have one.
What are your goals?
Because financial planning is generally tied to investing, saving for retirement is a common long-term goal focused on during Financial Planning Month. However, you may have other long-term financial goals that you’re working towards as well. Whether your goal is beginning to invest, honing your investment strategy, buying a home or simply becoming more financially healthy, having a clearly defined goal is an important first step in financial planning.
What is your plan?
Once you have a goal set, 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 more easily because you’ll have milestones to celebrate along the way.
How are you tracking your goals?
A 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 apps exist specifically for these purposes as well. They can do the tracking for you and in a way that is easy to look at and understand. Apps can also help measure trends and provide reports for you. Tracking your progress can allow you to see whether you’re moving in the right direction or if you need to make adjustments in your plans.
Who is helping you reach your goals?
It is most certainly possible for you to reach your goals on your own. But in many cases, it can be beneficial to seek the help of a financial professional. Whether it’s a debt attorney, a financial advisor or a financial planner, hiring a financial professional is an important decision. Above all, you need to work with someone you feel comfortable with. Your finances are very personal, so knowing you can trust your financial professional is crucial. Along the same lines, your financial professional needs to work with your specific needs in mind, rather than treating you the same as they treat all their clients. Do some research by reading online reviews, seeking advice from friends and family members you trust, and setting up preliminary meetings before deciding who to trust your money with.
Financial Planning Month is a great time to check in on your long-term financial goals. Ensure that your goals are clearly defined and that you’ve laid out the actionable steps you need to take to reach them. Track them closely so you know whether you’re on the right path. And if necessary, seek help from a trusted professional.
If you’re looking for personally-tailored financial assistance, consider the professionals at Tayne Law Group!