Benjamin Franklin a renowned American politician is well known for his remark that is you fail to plan you are planning to fail. This is equally true for all people regardless of their race or background. Financial planning is not just for the wealthy. You do not plan because you are wealthy, but you become wealthy because you choose to plan. A simple notebook and a pen can give you a great head start to clearly writing down the current status of your finances, what you are spending your money on and how it is being spent. It is equally important to also cite the sources of your income and how stable these sources of income are. An Easy Financial Plan Guide
Stage 1: Take Stock of your Financial Habits
• Step 1: Take note of your source/sources of income. How stable is your current source of income? How many sources of income do you have? How much do you earn per week, month and per year? How often do you earn? Have you considered the possibility of earning on a daily basis?
• Step 2: Write a simple list of your daily, weekly, monthly and consequently yearly expenses. Be honest with yourself and clearly write down what you are spending your money on.
• Step 3: Write down a list of all the things that you own (assets) and are registered in your name. Also note down all your debts.
•Step 4: Take another look at your expenses, how many of them are adding to the list of things that you own?
Stage 2: Set a S.M.A.R.T Financial Plan
• Step 1: Write down a detailed list of the income you desire to earn and the assets you wish to own. Imagine your best financial position and write it down. Place a realistic timeframe on when you wish to reach this goal.
• Step 2: Think of more sources of income that you desire. Write them down. Think of ways you can earn more and more frequently. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket and spread your income sources as much as you can. For example, a monthly salary is one source of income, baking cakes after work for sale is another source. Growing vegetables and chickens for sale is also a legitimate source of revenue apart from your day job. Investing on the stock market in shares that traditionally issue out yearly dividends/income to shareholders can provide you with another source of income. Buying a property to rent out can also provide regular income. No source of income is too small or too big.
• Step 3: Begin to track your spending habits and eliminate certain expenses so as to gain more cashflow to channel towards savings and investment. It will be tough, but the long term benefits far outweigh the short term sacrifices. A general rule of thumb for most people is to save 20% of all income every month. Experts recommend setting aside a further 10% of all income for emergencies.
•Step 4: Think of how you are managing life risks. Lay out a detailed financial insurance plan. Lay out a plan for insuring your assets and life insurance in the event of the unfortunate. Set apart a portion of your income towards a stable and reliable insurance plan.
There is no complete formula to personal financial planning. The most important principle is to enforce financial discipline and ensure that you save, manage your debts whilst enjoying life to the fullest.