However you live your life—whether you choose to be single or get married, have children or not have children, live in a big city or a tiny town in the Midwest—as long as you want to prepare for the future financially, it’s worth your while to examine your finances and do the work necessary to ensure that you are prepared for the future.
Where do you begin? The first thing you need to do is identify your goals. If you have children, one of your goals might be to save for college expenses. If you’ve always wanted to travel when retired, maybe you want to save for a retirement trip to Europe. So carve out some time to identify your financial needs and wishes.
To “master” your money, begin by determining how much you spend on an annual basis. You can’t make long-term financial plans without some idea of annual spending. If your expenses exceed your incoming money, you need to examine your budget. If you have outstanding debt, strive to reduce unnecessary debt.
Figuring out how much money you can save and invest and the appropriate vehicles to use are important parts of any financial plan. Another important piece of the plan is insurance. In addition to providing money to your heirs, some life insurance plans are excellent savings vehicles. And any good financial plan addresses retirement and ways to fund it.
Ultimately, your financial plan will allow you to be in control of your money: you’ll know how much you really have, the appropriate way to save for retirement, and good ways to save for major expenses, such as college. And you’ll learn about the pros and cons of different kinds of insurance and even about estate planning.
But it’s unlikely you’ll have the time to learn everything you need to know in these different areas. That’s where professional expertise can be incredibly valuable to you. A good financial planner will really listen to you, help you with your financial planning, and provide advice based on your concerns.