Why Have a Financial Plan?

When it comes to money, planning and preparation is always a good idea. While things might not always follow your plan, the plan itself will help keep your finances focused on your goals.

But why is it really that important? Your parents probably didn’t have a financial plan. But we aren’t living in the same world anymore. Credit is out of control. People live longer. Social security is always at risk in the future. Health care for the elderly isn’t cheap by any means. Planning is important for many reasons.

A financial plan will help protect you and your family from many risks, such as not having a home, going bankrupt, losing everything you own in a lawsuit and other disasters. These events can be caused by a variety of happenings, such as injuries, illness, death and credit cards.

By having a financial plan, you are protecting your family’s finances. You have the proper life, homeowners, auto and disability insurance. You have a will. You have an emergency fund. You have little debt and a lot of credit. You have equity in your home.

All those things might seem like a wonderful dream. But they aren’t just a dream. They can be a reality through — you guessed it — financial planning.

Total consumer debt in the US is in the trillions, not counting home mortgages. Research shows that Americans have between 8 and 10 credit cards each. The average consumer has a credit card balance of $8,400 per card.

Debt makes it impossible to save for your future. If you want your to pay for your child’s college, you have to get rid of your debt. If you want to retire comfortably, you have to get rid of your debt. Your financial plan should focus first on debt reduction, then on saving.

Why save? Because you will probably live until you are 90. Maybe even 100. People are living much longer. You will have to have a lot of savings to support yourself for 35 years after you retire. Most financial planners say that you should plan to live until you are 95, though that could be a low figure.

Financial planning gives you a better quality of life. You have less stress and enjoy your daily life more. You are able to pay for things without credit, such as your daughter’s college education some day. You are able to drive a nice car without the large payment. You can buy a home for your family. You can retire when you want to.

You aren’t hounded by creditors. You aren’t trying to stretch pennies into dollars. You aren’t awake at night wondering how you’ll survive.

You have a plan that provides for you and your family. No, you can’t prepare for everything. Despite the greatest plans, life has its own ideas. But a plan is beneficial to your present and your future. Take the time and form a financial plan. It will pay you back tenfold.

Martin Lukac