How can a financial plan fit on one-page?
Many families are overwhelmed with the idea of creating a financial plan. Today we are more stretched for time and busier than ever in both our personal and professional lives. There can also be a lot of conflicting and confusing advice involved in crafting your financial plan from peers and advisors alike.Between lack of time, complexity, and the fact that the plan often misses what you really want, It’s no surprise many financial plans are never executed.
So, how do we create a simple and actionable one-page plan?
You are likely already doing some good things — saving and investing your money and thinking about the future for your family. However, sometimes we don’t fully understand our current financial reality and may not be sure if what we are doing we are doing will help accomplish our goals.
By creating a snapshot in time between where you stand today and your goals for the future a one-page plan can inspire action.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Define your Why.
Ask yourself, Why is money important to you?
The answer to this question lives on the top of your plan, and acts as your compass. It’s the reason you’ll make certain decisions and avoid others.
Anytime you are facing a decision big or small, ask yourself if it fits with or gets your closer to your ‘Why’. It might look something like this:
Why is money important to me?
- I want to spend as much time as possible with my family
- I want to promote and protect the environment
- Travel for adventure with my family and friends
2. What are your Goals?
The next step is listing your goals. Don’t stress about the process, give yourself permission to relax and understand that much of this is guesswork that will evolve over time. Think about the next 3 months, 1-year, 3-years, and 5-years+
- Get organized and gain confidence in my financial situation
- Understand where my money is going and how my benefits work.
- Save more money toward building wealth and long-term investments
- Understand insurance and if my family is protected
- Buy our next house and determine how much we need to save
- Fund our retirement & kid’s college education
- Buy a farm in Montana
3. Next Steps / Action Items
Lastly, lay out the action items required to start meeting your goals. It’s very helpful to set a timeline for each set of item.
- Talk to your partner about their priorities in retirement
- Create a balance sheet and income statement
- Track and analyze my spending for the last 6 months
- Set up monthly investment contribution & evaluate options
- Put aside $2,500 for travel
- Review current insurance coverage types, amounts, & cost
By following these steps you will have a financial plan. Keep in mind the plan is a living, breathing, document that requires on-going attention and updated often. As you move forward make sure to check completed tasks off the list but keep them for reference, it helps to show progress you are making.
The key is thinking about your goals consistently and becoming intentional with your decisions to move toward achieving them by taking action and control.