Financial Planning Tips

When it comes to Financial Planning, we've been there, done that, now serving 126 tips in 13 categories ranging from Auto Insurance to Savings Accounts.

Is there a way to save money while on vacation?

Two Tips on How to Save Money While on Vacation

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and relieve the stress built up from work or daily family life. But overspending on vacations can unintentionally build up stress levels. You don't have to break your bank account to have a good time. Check out these two tips that can make you enjoy your trip with a little extra cash leftover to spend on the souvenirs.

Tip #1: Avoid Convenience Stores By Packing Snacks

Long road trips will make tummies grumble for the entire family. However, it can become expensive to continually stop at roadside restaurants to eat, and grabbing a bite at convenience stores can cost more than a full tank of gas nowadays. Instead, pack snacks in a cooler. This way, you know your family will eat the food, and you won't spend cash on junk food that is only good at expanding waistlines while decreasing bank accounts.

Tip #2: Budget It Out

It can seem harder than it looks. But a workable budget will let you keep the overspending to a minimum. Look for vacation package deals and off-season sales at resorts to keep a bit more money in your pocket. A realistic budget will let you enjoy your vacation more.


Personal financial planning can help to reduce stress

Many people do not realize how important personal financial planning is. No one can predict what will happen in their future. There are times when people are laid off, fired, or sometimes an accident occurs that makes it impossible for them to work. Whenever something happens in our lives that affects us financially it can cause great stress. Being financially prepared will lead to a less stressful life even if nothing detrimental happens to your financial situation.

Making sure to take the time to do personal financial planning can help you to be prepared no matter what life throws at you. It is highly recommended that someone save enough money to be able to support themselves for three months if they lost their job. This money does not have to be saved immediately. It is smart set aside a little bit of money every month to make sure that you can build the amount of money that is in your savings account. Being prepared just in case anything happens can help you to avoid getting into debt. There is a lot of financial planning software available that can help to make sure that you have the best personal financial planning possible.


Personal Financial Planning is Better

Flexibility is a master key for successful personal financial planning. An important quality to look for when selecting a personal financial advisor is to find a coach who will allow you to retain flexibility in your financial planning.

Flexible personal financial planning is better than having your asset bank tied up so tight it is inaccessible in case of an emergency. Think of it as having a “Plan B” to complement your ongoing “Plan A” financial map. Financial planning will have many goals, depending on each person’s individual circumstances, income and needs. Strong planning for the long term is advisable, but there should always be an “out” available for emergencies. The only other option for emergency expenditures would be to borrow cash and pay interest rates for that convenience.

Step one in flexible personal financial planning is to know what your total asset value is. Step two is goal setting to establish your ideal end point for all this planning. In step three, you and/or your personal financial advisor determines what plan will be most effective in reaching those goals. Step four is putting that plan into action by executing the plan.

The most important step, and the step where flexibility counts, is constant monitoring of the plan and making reassessments or adjustments when needed should an emergency occur.


Life Cycle Retirement Accounts

Life cycle retirement accounts are not new, but they are gaining popularity because they offer a low-maintenance mutual fund investment vehicle that adapts to your needs over time.

Say you buy shares in a life cycle fund at age 25. Since you are still 40 years away from retirement, you should be heavier in riskier, higher growth vehicles like small-cap stocks, and lighter in instruments like municipal bonds, which offer more security but lower returns. So, your life cycle mutual fund may consist of 70% stocks and 30% bonds. Among those stocks, you may have half in small cap growth stocks and half in blue chips.

By the time you hit 45, you'll still have 20 years to retirement. Using specially designed financial planning software, the fund manager will have shifted your mix to perhaps 60% blue chips, 35% bonds and 10% money market. As you approach retirement age, your mix may shift to an income generating profile of 20% blue chip stocks, 20% money market and 60% government bonds.

Life cycle retirement accounts adapt to your changing risk profile, periodically changing your investment mix to fit your needs. However, they really only work as intended when you invest 100% of your savings in a single life cycle fund whose target retirement date is the correct one for you.


Alternatives for Retirement Investments

An important part of planning for your future is how to approach retirement investment options. With the unstable economy, the changing nature of business' approach to offering retirement benefits and greater flexibility in career paths, it has become more important to seek alternate avenues when approaching retirement choices. The uncertainty of social security and the fact that many companies are slashing contributions to employee matched retirement accounts, it may be wise to consider personal retirement investments. There are a growing number of financial services available for people seeking to create a personal nest egg. This can provide additional peace of mind and the ability to have greater control over a personalized program.

There are many financial companies that offer flexible programs with different options to suit a variety of needs. While each have specific features, common attributes include determining how much to invest, when to make a contribution, choosing which type of retirement planning options best suits your needs, picking funding options and the ability to transfer funds between different plans. One thing to keep in mind is that the withdrawal of funds will have substantial monetary penalties. When making the commitment to invest in a personal retirement investment program, stick with it for the long haul to realize the maximum benefits.


How Financial Planning Software can Help You to Plan for Retirement

When you look at your retirement accounts, you might find that you are constantly wondering how much money you are going to need in order for you to retire. Now, you can do just that. With the help of financial planning software, you can figure that out.

With the financial planning software, you can set up a budget. This budget can take the amount you have in your retirement accounts. Then, you look at the bills you have and figure how much you are going to need. Retirement is about being free of work and able to enjoy the money that you have made while working.

However, to make sure that you retirement accounts are good to go for that day when you do plan on retirement, you have to make sure that you budget wisely and such. With the financial planning software, you can keep track of everything and see where your money is going. That’s what it’s all about. When you plan ahead, then you know you are set with the money which is needed to secure your future.

This is how financial planning software can help you. The sooner you use this, the easier it will be. It’s never too soon to start planning for retirement. The sooner you start and the more help you have with working out the details, the more you can rest assured that you won’t have to work forever, but can retire.

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Sheri Ann Richerson