The 7 Steps Of Do-it-yourself Financial Planning

You are in control

You are already your own financial planner. Regardless of the extent of help you receive from professionals, you ultimately are the decision maker and you are responsible for your own finances. Although the financial world has become increasingly complex, it is becoming easier today to do a lot of your own planning. The variety of resources has expanded such as software for money management and planning; online tools for banking, financial planning and investing, and resources, and books and blogs that are easy to understand. These resources may be good news for you if the cost of professional fee only financial planners is out-of-reach to you. Besides the cost of fees, others may avoid planners because they have heard stories of advisors trying to sell a product that didn’t fit their situation. Cost savings and avoiding product pitches are excellent benefits of being your own planner.

Everyone should take a more active role in their financial affairs. Not only does it help with educated decision making and fraud avoidance it also helps you better communicate with your other professional advisors such as your accountant and attorney. You will also find yourself spotting opportunities when they cross your path.

Becoming a better manager of your family’s finances will also help you ‘dig out’ if you are struggling financially. When you consider the low savings rates and the high household debt, many more people find themselves in this category today.

The following are 7 steps to do-it-yourself financial planning:

Step 1: Commit

The first step to financial planning always begins with commitment. Whether you are having financial difficulty, or have just avoided setting goals and mapping out a plan – commitment is the first step. Commitment provides the discipline and focus needed to help sustain you on the path towards your goals.

Step 2: Set Goals

Without specific goals and a plan to achieve them financial success stays a foggy dream. Therefore the second step is to list the dreams that will motivate you. Write down all of the goals you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will serve as the driver, or the fire in the engine giving you the motivation to move forward. Everyone has dreams, but without constant watering and attention dreams will go dormant. Leave your past mistakes and inaction behind you, light a new fire and chart a course forward. You have an enormous amount of potential and talent, and if you have made mistakes you now have more experience and wisdom. Dare to imagine what you could achieve because your best years are ahead of you.

Step 3: Assemble and Organize Information

Get your stuff together. Planning is easier if you assemble everything in one central location. Make an organized filing system either in a cabinet, accordion file, a box, any way that works for you. Now locate and file all of your tax returns, receipts, insurance policies, contracts, wills, mortgages, deeds, titles, pay stubs, employee benefit statements, banking (loan, savings and checking), bills, investment and retirement plan statements and any other important papers.

Step 4: Manage Cash Flow

Your household is a business. You need to know how much you are earning and spending each month. Balance your checkbook and establish a budget. There are dozens of books and software to help with this, and your bank’s website may provide this as well. This will help you know when and where you are overspending.

Step 5: Self Educate

Establish a sound foundational knowledge base about financial matters. Start with books about budgeting and money savings tips, debt, basic insurance and investing. Be sure to include reading about mutual funds and financial planning. Avoid get-rich-quick, real estate, gold or innovative ‘secrets’ books. Stick to the fundamentals. I find the “For Dummies, ‘For Idiots’ and ‘D-Mystified’ book series to be very helpful for many people. Lastly, stay informed about current financial topics by reading financial magazines, newspapers, the business section of papers, and blogs.

Step 6: Create a Written Plan

A written plan serves as a road map towards your financial destination. It helps you understand where you are presently and the steps that you need to take to move forward. A financial plan is a process. Your life will change, therefore you should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. You should revisit your financial plan at least once a year to make any updates or to include items in your checklist for completion. If you write your own financial plan, you will have to obtain financial planning software. Your other options are to pay to have a written financial plan completed by a fee financial planner or by an institution or professional that provides products. Be sure to find out about how the planner is compensated and what your fees will be.

Step 7: Engage Professionals

Most people can’t entirely do all of their financial planning by themselves. Assemble a team of trusted professional advisors that you can rely on to help you implement different aspects of your plan, answer your questions and be on the lookout for you. The professionals that can be the most advantageous are a proactive tax accountant and financial advisor with extensive planning, investment and insurance knowledge, an attorney qualified in estate planning, and a banker that can help with credit ratings and debt management. Before committing to anyone, get referrals for trusted professionals from people whose opinion you respect and don’t be afraid to ask challenging questions.

Investment And Financial Planning

On a general man to man basis Financial Planning is of more importance when compared to investment planning. If a man fails to save money, then where is he going to make the investment from? It is here that the need to emphasize on a strong financial plan comes to play. Financial planning is on a larger scale compared to Investment planning. Where investment planning is individual oriented, financial planning takes into account the needs of the individual and family. Financial planning is the process of assessing the financial goals of an individual at different junctures of his life. It takes into account all assets and investments that he already has and what others he may require to achieve his financial goals in the near future. The prime objective here is to ensure that the required amount of money is there with him at the time of an investment, thereby enabling him to meet his personal goals. This is how financial planning and investment planning relate to each other. Coming to the investment part, security along with profit is a big question?
Any investment depicts a clear picture of your current financial situation. Bifurcate your investments amongst various assets to reduce the risk factor. Asset Allocation is the best way to ensure that a particular investment made is a success. Monitoring your investment to maintain the allocation with your financial goals makes the investment tax efficient.

Following are certain points as to how one can better their investment and financial planning:

Investment Planning:

1) Create a Budget for Monthly Expenses: This enables you to get a clear picture as to where your expenses lie and how much unnecessary expenditure you could curtail to save a decent percentage of your income.

2) Paying of Debts: Once you clear of your debts, a certain amount of your expenditure is saved. This can be used for investment purposes.

3) Emergency Savings: Emergencies do arrive unannounced. One has to ensure that a certain amount is kept aside to meet these situations. These funds should be invested or kept aside to meet these situations. These funds should be invested or kept aside in investments that can be accessed anytime you need cash.

4) Investing in Long term Assets: Investing in long term Assets is a good decision. Purchasing a house is considered to be a good investment as payments towards interest and real estate taxes are tax deductible. Secondly the value of property increases with time. Other then this investing wisely in Mutual Funds, stocks and insurance will provide you with a good return on your investment.

Financial Planning:

1)Using a monthly spending plan or budget to keep finances on track
2)Making decisions about the job and its benefits
3)Getting the most out of other financial resources, including insurance and employer provided benefits.
4)Saving and investing money
5)Controlling expenses and staying out of debt.
6)Planning for estate transfer.

Generally people enlist the services of a financial planner prior to making any major investments. A financial planner is a professional who helps people deal with various personal financial issues through proper planning, which includes cash flow management, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, risk management and insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning and business succession planning. While dealing with Mutual Fund Investments they are called �Fund

Video Games Can Be Educational For Children

There seems to be a constant battle on how video games are affecting the children that are playing them, but the fact is that video games can teach children too. In fact, video games can help to enhance the reading skills of a child, not to mention help build their coordination and visual skills.

In several video games, your child get to become the main character who travels throughout the game purchasing different items needed to complete the video game successfully, while reading special instructions given throughout the video game. Since the child is simply interested in playing the video game they become unaware that they are actually reading and often times the reading is above their regular grade level. You may often hear your child say they do not like to read, but if you will take the time to watch them play particular video games and tell them you can not see the writing that well, then hopefully they will read it to you and you will become fairly surprised.

Video games can even inspire children to new interests as well. In fact, when a child plays a video game that they do not know much about, then you may see your child bringing books home from the school library that are similar to their new video game. When a child is participating in a video game, then children can see history come alive. Each video game that your child plays must be viewed as having a positive side instead of listening to all the hubba of others, because video games can teach your child different skills.

Some video games are designed to teach the skills necessary for making a living as they give the gamer a variety of different choices. Video games also confront gamers with issues such as moral dilemmas, solving challenging problems, and developing social relationships as well. Children who play video games often have the pick up from a cluttered area than those that do not. In fact, studies are now showing that when learning is added into video game playing children begin being faster at the other activities they participate in.

Some where in the future of time teachers may begin incorporating the playing of video games into the assignments of their students. Several government agencies will use computerized video games to assist in stimulating certain types of situations for their employees. In fact, even the military and NASA train with computerized video games, which is due to the changes in computer technology. By looking more at the positive side of video games parents and teacher could really bring themselves closer to children.

Often times children are playing their video games on-line, which makes playing video games much more of a social activity. Children and adults can learn more from each other if they take the time to learn how to play these video games with each other, which will also open up the lines of communication and understanding. Hopefully, more individuals will see video games in a more positive light instead of in a negative way most of the time.