When deciding on a vacation trip, the first thing to nail down is where do you want to go. The decision could take some time for all the family to decide. Let’s say the family wants to visit Disney World. Great! Now the planning begins. Mom plans for the children’s clothes, in-car snacks, who will watch the dog, and the like. The kids plan on all the rides they are going to take and what they will say to Mickey Mouse and their favorite characters. Dad gets all the fun stuff, like mapping out the road trip on his computer, planning on where to stay over-night on the car ride to Disney and where to stay at Disney, what tickets to buy, and other nearby attractions to go to like Sea World or Universal Studios. And Dad gets to plan the finances on how to pay for the family vacation.
Sounds like fun? But what if Mom didn’t plan for the kids’ clothes or Dad didn’t map out the road trip to Disney or how to pay for the vacation? What kind of vacation do you think they would have?
A financial plan has many of the same elements as a vacation. The first and primary one is to decide on where you are headed. Only you can make that decision, after input you requested from your family. Your decision can have lots of side trips and stops along the way. All you need to do is plan for them. And just as the Mom in our story did, you need to collect information to make the plan come together. Mom probably had a list of things to do and a list of things to take. Your financial plan list would include information (and paperwork) on your salary, your savings, your investments, your household budget, your mortgage, your credit cards, your life insurance, and other financial documents.
The Mom and the Dad would sit down at the kitchen table after the kids were in bed to map out the vacation and write down what they decided on for the trip. Your efforts at a financial plan come together when you write down all the information in a coherent manner to offer guidance for your future (trip).
A financial plan that is not written down is a dream or a wish, not a real, viable plan.
Today’s plans don’t have to be 60 to 100 pages of charts, graphs, and confusing financial terms that become stale as conditions change. New software programs present the information in easy to read and understandable formats. And they can easily be updated as finances change.
Ask for a demonstration of the planning program.
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