Creating a financial plan
You can get started planning by using an expense worksheet. This helps you begin focusing in a structured way on how to use your money to begin achieving your goals immediately after graduation. If you think of your goals as your destination, an expense worksheet helps you identify and set aside the money you need to pay for your trip.
When planning more than a few years out into the future, use ballpark numbers. Your income and financial responsibilities will change over time. Do yourself a favor, though, and begin to gather more information now so you can gradually begin to form some safe assumptions and develop some realistic numbers for your medium- and long-term goals. Initiating the learning process now will pay off later.
Suggested steps of the learning process include:
- Ask your parents for advice on making realistic financial assumptions for the longer term.
- Accompany a friend or relative when they finalize a loan on a house.
- Discuss retirement planning with your grandparents. Ask them questions about what percentage of their paychecks they put aside for retirement, at what age they started saving for retirement, what would they have done differently during their working years, do they ever worry about running out of money, what changes in the cost of living have they perceived and how are they coping, and how they feel about their current lifestyle.
- Make a list of educational resources, such as local consultants, seminars, books, or classes on long-term financial planning.
- Learn more about investing by visiting sites such as the Investor’s Clearinghouse and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.