When it comes to finances, things will go wrong sometimes. No matter how much you plan and think positively about the future, sometimes things are outside your ability to do anything about it. Jobs are lost, medical emergencies happen, and it can seem like you’re always running uphill both ways as you try to dig your way out of the problem.
The good news is, with solid financial planning, you can weather a downturn in the economy, being laid off, or a medical emergency (yours or loved ones) because you’ve planned for these problems in advance. Once you get through the problem, you can brush yourself off and start over.
Here are some common reasons why plans fail:
- You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know – Sometimes, a plan fails because you didn’t do enough research or get enough education. The problem is that sometimes a situation is so complicated that only an expert can understand the right questions to ask. If you have not gotten any expert help, you may not even know how to ask for what you need or want in order to do the research.
- You Aren’t Monitoring Your Finances Regularly – Time can get away from us as we raise kids, work jobs, or take care of our parents or a sick pet. Life can pass by in years rather than days in the blink of an eye. It’s imperative that no matter what is happening in life, you make it a priority to monitor your finances.
- You Keep Putting It Off for Later – It’s that time thing again. Your senior years are much closer than you think they are. When you live your life, it can seem as if time has no real meaning, but when you look back, you can see how fast it was. A good financial plan has to be implemented now and forever and not later.
- You Lack Self-Discipline – If you have a hard time not getting that triple mocha frozen coffee drink every single day, you may have a hard time sticking to a financial plan if it’s too restrictive. Be honest about where you are disciplined and where you aren’t so you can work around that.
- You Are Expecting Too Much from Too Little – The plain fact is, if you aren’t making enough money to pay for the basics, you won’t really be able to plan your financial future because you can’t even feed yourself, put a roof over your own head, or take care of your basic needs. Tackle how you’ll make money before you concern yourself with what you’ll do with it. Of course, knowing what type of lifestyle you want and your goals for the future will help immensely as you figure out what you want to do to earn that money.
- You Save Too Much – Some people are really great with self-discipline to the point that they’re really saving so much that they’re not enjoying their life at all. It’s great to save for a reason, but there is no reason to overdo it and ignore your immediate needs.
- You Spend Too Much – If you aren’t paying attention to your expenditures according to your income, you may be spending too much. What is a fair amount to spend on rent at your income level? Is that realistic? Do you need to make more income, or can you find something in that budget?
- You’re Not Focused on Long-Term Achievements – All goals must include long-term goals and objectives because it’s the only way to properly save enough for retirement. Compounding interest will save you, but without the long term to build that savings, you cannot achieve it.
- You’re Not Focused on Short-Term Needs and Wants – You have a right to enjoy your life as your life is now, and not just save for future needs. If you want to see one movie a month, go out to dinner, or participate in your hobby, you should find a way to do it within your budget.
- You Lack SMART Goals – When you set up your goals and objectives, use the SMART goal-setting technique. This means every goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
- You Work with Criminals – One thing to avoid is working with financial planners or other experts who are just criminals. Remember, if you’re getting a crazy windfall from an investment, it might be too good to be true. Check out anyone you plan to work with to ensure they are above board, and don’t just take your friend’s or brother’s word for it. Often scammers get entire families involved.
The main thing to know if you want to be successful with your financial planning is to ensure it matches your personality, your desires, and your goals, along with the realistic understanding of how much money it takes to do what you want to do. What other people want is what they want. What you want is what’s important. Know what you want and know how you’re going to get it, and you will be successful if you follow your plan.
Do It Right!
Now that we’ve gone over how important financial planning is, you’ll want to get started as soon as possible. After all, the sooner you set up and start implementing your plan, the sooner you’ll start to experience the rewards of the plan. Who knows; with the right plan, you might end up retiring early and living abroad. Whatever your desires are can be reached if you set up a plan and follow it.
- Figure Out Where You Stand – How much do you have coming in and going out? What can you eliminate that’s going out, and what do you need to do to ensure you have enough coming in later?
- Know Where You Want to Go – Most people don’t start on third base, so you need to realize where you want to go. Where do you see yourself on the day you retire? Knowing what will make you happy, and figuring out how to get there is the goal.
- Find Experts to Help Educate You and Motivate You – Listening to and working with experts who really know what they’re talking about is the most important thing you can do when it comes to personal financial planning. A lot of the information is complicated, but it’s not impossible to learn if you know what to ask.
- Get It Done – Finally, once you know what you have, what you need, and how you’re going to do it all, you’ll want actually to do it. Time passes so much faster than you think it will, so don’t put it off. Start now.
That’s really all there is to it. Learning where you are and what it will take to get to where you want to go and then checking up on your progress periodically will help you achieve your desired results.