A financial plan is a set of strategies that help you achieve your goals. Not sure what your long-term financial goals are? One of the easiest places to start is to focus on getting the fundamentals right so that when your goals become clearer, you are in a great position to hit the ground running.
It is vital to know where your money goes. To get ahead, you need your expenses to be less than your income. Once you have that nailed, focus on getting the below fundamentals right and you’ll be well on your way to wealth accumulation and financial freedom.
- Stick to a budget
- Save an emergency fund
- Stay out of debt
- Protect your wealth
- Learn how to invest
1. Set up a budget.
Yes, budgeting sucks. Do it anyway. Simple is best, so start with four categories:
- Savings- aim for 10% of your pay;
- Bills- rent, insurance, car;
- Living costs – groceries, mobile phone, fuel; and
- Fun money.
2. Set up an emergency fund.
This emergency fund should be three months’ worth of your take-home salary. I know what you are thinking: that will take me years to save! Yes, it might… but it’ll be so worth it.
The golden rule of personal finance is always save first.Set up an automatic transfer so that every time you get paid, money goes into the account. Trust us, the peace of mind you will feel once you’ve saved that magical number will be worth it.
This fund will allow you to deal with any financial disasters swiftly and easily, without having to resort to using a credit card or going into debt. Which leads us to…
3. Stay out of debt.
Use your emergency fund for unexpected expenses, not your credit card. Better yet, don’t have a credit card! Save up for what you want to spend money on. It’s easier to save if you have a clear idea of what you are saving for, so set some goals.
4. Protect your wealth.
Get some insurance to cover unforeseen health issues or loss of income. Remember, your grand plans of holidaying, owning homes and building investment portfolios all come crashing down without your income.
5. Learn how to invest.
Ask an expert (hi!) or read, read, read.There are endless books and websites available, so self-education has never been easier. As a starting point, aim to understand how your superannuation is invested and whether it is going to meet your retirement goals. If the answer is no, do something about it!
If you get the fundamentals right, you are on the track to financial freedom. You are also developing an awareness of saving, budgeting and investing, so when the day comes that you have a lot of money, you will know what to do with it!
Fortress Financial Solutions Pty td is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd ABN 54 086 266 202, AFSL 221557.This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should consider whether the information is appropriate in light of your objectives, financial situation and needs.
Emma Linton Doig
Emma Linton Doig is a finance professional with Fortress Financial Solutions in Toowoomba. Fortress is a financial advisory firm that is passionate about financial education and helping people achieve financial freedom. Emma has commercial experience in Australia, Singapore and the UK.
For further information or to book an appointment phone 07 4646 4970