A financial plan is not about spending less and saving endlessly, but about getting more for the same money. Here’s how a personal financial plan can help you go on vacation, make repairs, or buy a new car.
What to Start With?
First, you need to translate your dreams and abstract desires into concrete goals, and then soberly assess their value. For example, your family is expecting a child and you are thinking about a new family car. For now it is just a dream. How to make it a goal?
Determine the most important characteristics of the desired car: the efficiency of the engine, the volume of the trunk, the spaciousness of the interior and so on.
Study the models on the market and choose a few suitable ones.
Analyze offers of car dealers. Trade-in or subsidized loan programs can significantly reduce costs.
Classify your goals according to urgency and importance.
Usually you want everything at once. For instance, you want a dream of an apartment with a separate room for a kid in addition to a car. The living room would look good home theater. And in the summer it would be nice to go to the sea. When you clearly set priorities, it may turn out that it is better to postpone the vacation to the fall, when the trip cheaper. His own room the child will not need until he is three years old – so you have time to save up for a down payment on the mortgage. And the movie theater may not be what you need.
That way you’ll have a list of goals with priorities, deadlines, and amounts needed.
Evaluate your budget.
Analyze your income and expenses and figure out how much money you can set aside per month.
Calculate how much you need to save in order to meet your goal by the target date. To do this, divide the amount you need to save by the number of months remaining until date X.
Compare the two figures you got. This is how you know if you have enough money.
Consider different financing options
It’s likely that your available funds aren’t enough for all the important purposes. Then it makes sense to turn to alternatives: loans and borrowing.
Before you take out a loan, take a detailed look at all the conditions: interest rates on the loan, cost of servicing it, and any insurance that may be required of you.
In any case, you need to distribute your income so that there is enough money for both current expenses and to achieve the goal (saving or paying off the loan). Economists recommend adhering to the principle that no more than 30 percent of your income should be used to pay loans.
Let the money grow on its own
If you still have time before your goal, it is better to save on your own, using suitable financial instruments. Choose them on the basis of yields, risks and maturities.
For example, loan bonds are a reliable tool and especially profitable if you invest in it for at least three years. Bank deposits are virtually risk-free thanks to the deposit insurance system, and can be made for shorter terms.
The main thing is not to keep your money in a casket, so you will lose some of the real value of your savings due to inflation.
By investing funds, you will receive additional income – and it, too, should be reflected in the financial plan
To make a sensible financial plan, you need to:
Formulate financial goals – honestly and clearly, in monetary terms and with specific deadlines.
Divide them according to their importance – don’t spare time on this, so as not to be left with a TV set by winter, but without warm boots.
Find the best ways to solve them – consider all options, even the most unrealistic at first glance.
Keep records of income and expenses – be aware of your financial situation.
Another tip: Before you schedule a purchase and put it on your plan, think for a few days about whether you really need it.
Most importantly, follow the plan.
Making a personal financial plan is only half the battle. The hardest part is sticking to it in a disciplined manner. Every day there are temptations, but emotional, impulse buys can make our dreams more distant.
You have to stick to a plan for every item you want to spend. Determine how much money you spend per month on food, travel or a car, services, and other monthly necessities, and adhere to those limits.
If you fail to do so (this is especially true at first, before you become accustomed to it), you must adjust your plan. You can redistribute spending, you can try to earn more. The main thing is to stay within the budget and resist the temptation to “get into the piggy bank. Otherwise your financial goal will be endlessly postponed.
All expenses and income should be recorded and you should refer to the plan daily. This will help to keep a hand on the pulse of your financial situation. You can use financial planning services for convenience.