Having a financial plan is crucial to monetary success in your life. There are many financial plans you can choose from. Between all the advice available online and the entire industry of financial advisors, you have no shortage of choices. However, the real secret to success is making a personalized financial plan.

Not sure how to personalize a financial plan? Here are some pieces of advice to help get the process going and what to expect along the way.

Getting Started

Before doing anything significant, it is essential to sit down and do some research. First and foremost, one should create monthly goals. Saving money is always a good idea in general. Have a good idea of why you want to save the money that you earn. Alternatively, think of what you might want to be saving towards. 

Once that is done, it’s time to create a budget. Use a budgeting worksheet to track regular cash flow. It’s essential to account for all financial decisions. This means understanding where the money goes and where it needs to stay. This is where a person can decide their priorities and keeps their feet on the ground.

There are a few helpful tips to remember in these earlier stages. For example, don’t forget to plan for taxes. Think ahead regarding possible income tax credits or deductions that you might use to keep more of your money. Also, make sure you have enough withheld from your paychecks, so you don’t have to worry about a hefty tax bill.

Setting Money Aside

One part of financial planning is knowing when to set aside money. For example, it is incredibly beneficial to set aside a rainy day fund. No amount of planning ahead will help you if you’re unprepared for financial surprises. They will happen. Having enough savings keeps them from knocking you down or off course.

Alternatively, one should remember to be playing the long game in terms of financial planning. That means planning for one’s retirement. It is never too early to start planning for retirement.

There are a few options for retirement planning, so pick the one that feels best for you. If you can save in a 401(k), then do so. Invest enough to take advantage of employer contributions. If you can’t do a 401(k), then look into IRAs and any other options open to you.

Likewise, it’s never too early to create an estate plan. This might seem like a good move for seniors, parents, and the rich, but it helps everyone decide who will make their healthcare and financial decisions in the event of their incapacitation. You can choose who chooses for you.

Additional Advice

It can sometimes be difficult to get a handle on one’s financial situation. While life doesn’t always listen, it is helpful to control your debt whenever possible. Some debt is helpful if you’re financing a car or a home. Running up huge credit card balances is a different story. Make your debt work for you and not the other way around.

Finally – always remember to protect yourself. Life is always bound to change. Be ready for the unexpected with insurance. Map out the coverage you need, and then get it. Don’t overpay for excess coverage or overlaps, but also avoid gaps.