Getting Started: A Financial Plan’s First Steps

If the thought of putting together a financial plan is overwhelming to you, know that you aren’t alone. With many moving pieces and endless sources of information, the most difficult part of building a financial plan is knowing where to start.

If the thought of putting together a financial plan is overwhelming to you, know that you aren’t alone. With many moving pieces and endless sources of information, the most difficult part of building a financial plan is knowing where to start.

That’s why it’s important to just focus on that first step. Doing so is much less intimidating and will get you going on the path to retirement.

Depending on your situation, your most logical first step could be one of several things.

1) Decide what you want retirement to look like.

This could be a conversation between spouses, or just some time thinking by yourself. Where do you want to live? Will you travel a lot? Do you want to stay close to home and spend time with family? There are plenty of people who have never really stopped to think about what they want retirement to look like, and it’s hard to plan until you know what you’re planning for.

2) Do a financial inventory.

How many accounts do you currently have? Most people have accrued a wide range of accounts over the course of their working career.

What investments do you have in those accounts? For some people, it’s been years since they actually paid attention to what they’re invested in.

How much are you currently saving? Should you be saving more? Should you be saving less and focusing more on debt payoff?

These questions are a great starting point and will help you get a better grasp of everything you have.

3) Develop an income plan.

If you already have a clear picture of what you want retirement to look like, you might be ready to start developing an income plan. This is a critical part of developing security in retirement and there are some things to think about.

How much income are you going to need in retirement? How much will it need to increase to keep up with inflation? How will that income be affected by the death of a spouse? What investments will you use to generate income?

4) Determine how much help you need.

For some people, the first step should be determining what areas you need help in, and then seeking out that help. Some people need help primarily with taxes. Others need help mainly with estate planning. For others, investment guidance is the primary need.

Determine where you need the most help, then seek out the right professional(s) to guide you and get the process started.

And that advice goes for the entire process. You’ll always get the best results and most comprehensive planning by working with a professional. If you haven’t found an advisor to work with, get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help you get your plan started.

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