Debt-Free for the Holidays
When you examine your financial health, it is important that you are clear about what financial freedom is for you. It is a very personal goal and you want to be clear about your vision for your financial future. Where do you want to be in five years financially? 10 years? It is also critical that you and your partner are on the same page. We all know that financial issues are one of the key conflicts that destroy relationships.
So where do you start?
Certified Financial Planners recommend you approach your financial health from various perspectives with Life-Cycle Financial Planning being one of them. Don’t get attached to these cycles but they serve as a foundation to examine and create your financial health.
These cycles are:
Early career (age 25 or younger to age 35)
Career development (age 35 to age 50)
Peak accumulation (age 50 to ages 58-62)
Preretirement (3-6 years prior to planned retirement)
Retirement (ages 62-66 and older)
Based on your Life-Cycle, you want to take an honest look at where you are. How much money do you currently earn? What are your fixed monthly expenses? What are your variable monthly expenses? How much money do you spend every month that you don’t have record of? How much secured debt do you currently have? How much unsecured debt do you have? How much do you have saved?
It is tempting to estimate these numbers but taking the time to look at your bank statements, credit card statements, and any other supporting documentation will provide you with an accurate summary. This summary will be the foundation for the budgeting process. The more detailed the better.
Getting a clear picture of where you are right now is the first step on the road to financial freedom.
Coming Soon: Part 2 – Creating a Budget You Can Live With