If you don’t yet have your finances in order, we have just the thing to help you take stock of what you need to line up. The following financial planning checklist will give you a set of directions toward getting your affairs in order. Go through the list below, and for whatever you don’t have, set a deadline for checking off whatever you might be missing.
The Ultimate Financial Planning Checklist
Goals: Writing your financial goals will provide clarity and direction for your entire financial plan.
Budget: This document you ideally update monthly outlines your expenses and details how you plan to allocate your income to your expenses, saving plans, and avenues for giving over the next month.
Will: Even if you don’t have any children or many assets, not having a will upon death would add unnecessary burden to your loved ones as the courts would decide who would receive your property and take guardianship of your children.
Insurance: Of course, there are many types of insurance, but which ones suit your situation depend on what you have going on. You definitely need health insurance, and if you drive then you need auto insurance. You should probably also have homeowners or renter’s insurance, depending on whether you own or rent. After that, it depends on your life circumstances. Using free online services you can quickly get auto insurance comparisons from companies that offer a variety of plans.
Debt Elimination Plan: If you have any kind of debt, then you need a plan to get rid of it; use whatever works for you and stick to it.
Emergency Savings: A major obstacle that has the potential to throw your financial plan off course and prevent you from reaching your goals is an unexpected emergency.
Retirement Plan: A retirement plan could include participating in a 401(k) plan at work, contributing to a Roth or traditional IRA, and additional investments in a separate brokerage account.
Tuition Savings: Once you have paid off your non-mortgage debt and have a plan for funding your retirement, your next focus should be on saving for your kids’ college expenses.
What if I Miss Something?
Many people will see a checklist like this, and they wonder what parts are the most “serious”. They wonder, if they are going to skimp out on any of it, which parts are the most non-essential? This is not the place to have that attitude.
While missing one of these temporarily may not kill you, each aspect of the checklist serves a specific and important purpose. If you don’t have a debt elimination plan, for example, then your income will be permanently hampered and unable to keep up with other things like retirement contributions and emergency savings. If you don’t have insurance, then your emergency savings may end up insufficient in a severe predicament. By missing one part of the list, you absolutely compromise almost every other aspect of the list.
So, how many of the items above did you check off that were relevant? How many do you need to get, readers?