This year, the Financial Planning Association is celebrating Financial Planning Week
from October 7 - 13. According to the FPA, Financial Planning Week is an opportunity to remind people of the value of financial planning and to help them make smart decisions to achieve their financial goals.
As you may have noticed from our previous blog posts, we love to emphasize financial planning and budgeting as the first step in all financial decisions. It should be an ongoing part of your life, but Financial Planning Week is a great time to re-evaluate your financial goals and dreams. As you go through different life stages, financial priorities change and part of making smart financial decisions begins with occasionally regrouping and evaluating your financial plan. Below are a few questions to ask during Financial Planning Week to help get the discussion around financial goals started.
Are we living above our means?
The key to saving is to live on (at least a little) less
than you earn. Leave yourself some wiggle room so you don’t spend above your limit during the month. Pull out that budget and break down into categories where your money goes each month. This will help you find areas where you can cut back, such as eating out. Delta Community Retirement and Investment Services’ team of financial advisors
is a great resource that can help you visualize and plan for long-term financial goals, such as retirement.
How does our emergency fund look?
An emergency fund should be one of your first priorities during financial planning. As a rule, you should have about three months’ worth of expenses saved up if you are single and six months’ worth if you have a family. This should be in an easily accessible, fluid account that ideally earns some sort of interest. In fact, savings accounts
with credit unions generally earn a standard interest rate much higher than banks. Your emergency fund simply grows while it sits in the bank in case of an emergency.
Can we save more?
Savings should always be a part of your monthly budget. As you receive salary increases or other additional sources of income, you should increase the amount you put in your emergency or retirement fund. As a goal, you should try to save between three and 10% of your monthly salary.
Do we have debt?
If you have any lingering student loans or other forms of debt, make it your biggest priority to pay it off! List your debt in order of interest rate, highest to lowest, and work on paying your debt off each month. If you have multiple forms of debt, consider consolidating them under one umbrella, especially if a lower interest rate can be negotiated.
Where do I see myself in 10, 20, 30 years?
This is the important question to ask during Financial Planning Week. Your financial goals are likely not the same as they were five or 10 years ago, so take the time to consider how and where you would like to spend or save your money. Though your emergency fund and retirement savings should always be considered, do you need to save for a new house? A college fund for your children? A big trip next year? Consider what’s coming up in your life and what financial adjustments need to be made to make it happen.
During Financial Planning Week, we’d like to invite you to come visit your local Delta Community branch and speak to one of our financial advisors with Delta Community Retirement and Investment Services. They’re always available to answer any questions you may have or help you design your road map for financial success.