How do you get started building your own financial plan? Allison Alley, CFP® from Pure Financial Advisors explains: it starts with determining your net worth and your cash flow, then it’s a matter of imagining what you really want to do in retirement.
One of the questions we get quite a bit is where do I even start when trying to create a financial plan? Well, first of all, you’ve got to take a look at where you are right now. That requires creating two different documents or statements. The first is your net worth statement. You want to take a look at all your different assets, all your liabilities. Assets: things like your house, any other real estate, your retirement accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth accounts, any other non-retirement investments, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. Take a look at what all of those assets are. Then you want to take stock of your liabilities. That’s going to be your mortgage, a car loan, student loans, credit card debt, things like that. Assets versus liabilities – net worth statement.
The other document you want to put together is your cash flow statement. Your cash flow statement is going to be your income and your expenses. So your income, if you’re still working, might be your wages, rental income, anything like that – self-employment income. Then you want to look at your expenses: your mortgage payment, your car loan payment, and you want to look at not only those fixed expenses, but the discretionary expenses, right? Vacations, eating out, entertainment. Those are also your expenses. So income versus expenses gives you your cash flow statement. It tells you, are you living within your means? Do you have a shortfall? Do you have a surplus? And you can kind of get an idea of exactly where you are.
Then you want to look at, well, what are things likely going to look like in retirement? What retirement income sources do you have? Are you going to have a pension? Do you have Social Security income? Will you have rental income? And what do you want retirement to look like? Once you kind of get an idea of what you want retirement to look like and what income sources you’re going to have, then you can start putting together a plan of attack of what you need to do to get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. That’s really the basics of starting your financial plan. If you have any other questions contact us at PureFinancial.com.