Financial planning doesn’t have to start at middle age, although it often does. At any age, if you make well-informed, life-aligned decisions about your finances, you open up possibilities. This is what we call “50-year planning,” in that it requires you to envision your life many years from now and work backwards from that. Of course your goals and situation will change. Such is life. Realize that having a plan in place allows you to make better decisions when things do change. This is true for older people with lots of money and assets, as well as younger people just starting out.
Case in point: I was recently interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for advice regarding the finances of a real person named Danny Schroeder.
Danny is in his 20s with income from his job at a brewery and playing the drums at Seahawks games. While Danny is doing what he loves, he is also thinking ahead; he wants to start saving for his next big thing. The gist of my advice: start now, fully inform yourself, and prioritize. I suggested that Danny track his spending closely using an app like Mint.com, do auto pay on his credit cards to establish a stellar payment history, and save all his money from music to put at least some into a Roth IRA. My main point: Good financial planning is a long-term process, best broken down into steps.
Do you have a financial plan in place? Regardless of your age or income, planning now is essential if you want to take advantage of all your options and have fewer regrets down the road.
Read also the LNWM article: Our Best Advice for Each Decade of Life. Here’s what we think is essential, from LNWM Tax Expert Kristi Mathisen and LNWM Client Advisor Sam Craig, based on decades of experience working with multiple generations within families.