After all, you wouldn’t set off on a journey through a strange land without some kind of help. A map, a compass, even a guide. Your financial future is too important to leave to chance.
Where do you want to be or expect to be in 10, 20 and 30 years? Remember that you may be living in retirement longer than you think.
People are living longer, so there’s a chance that you could be living into your 90s. Be optimistic.
Your income and expenses
Figure out how much you can afford to contribute to your plan based on your current and future income and living expenses.
Create an inventory of your stocks, bonds and other assets in your investment portfolio, as well as savings accounts, retirement plans and the equity in your home.
Examine the kind of lifestyle you have now and think about what you will want or need later on. How much will this lifestyle cost?
Your current savings plan
How much money are you saving now? Is it enough to help fund your future? At what point do you expect to start using your savings for living expenses?
Your level of investment risk
Are you comfortable with the level of risk you’re taking with your investments? Does it need to change to better reflect your own situation or the state of the economy?
Your income in retirement
Take a look at any income you may have in retirement, such as Social Security benefits, dividends, a pension or other income.
Your estate plan
More than a will, an estate plan can ease the burden on your loved ones, ensure your assets are distributed as you wish, reduce taxes and plan for future personal care and health care needs.
Your emergency fund
How do you plan on paying for unexpected events such as a flooded basement, an extended illness or a job loss?
Your financial plan should be a true picture of your current financial health and a realistic view of your goals (short-term, intermediate and long-term). To be useful, it should be updated annually with the help of a financial advisor, or when your needs and life situation changes.