Your Brief Guide to Efficient Personal Finance Planning

Personal Finance Planning

A sound personal financial plan is the key to leading a financially stress-free life. However, only about 48% of Americans have an emergency fund sufficient to cover the expenses of at least three months. It indicates a lack of personal financial planning skills among the people. Limited incomes, uncontrolled expenses, and lack of savings are some of the most common reasons that lead to financial mismanagement. 

However, the good thing is that you can hire a professional, like a Long Island CPA, to help you create a sound financial plan. It can enable you to save money while also managing your day-to-day expenses effectively.

Personal Finance for Beginners: 12 Fundamental Principles

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Effective Personal Finance Plan

While a CPA can help you create a sound personal finance plan, it could only work out when you know how a personal finance plan works. Therefore, it is essential to understand the main elements that govern a personal finance plan.

Determine your goals

Creating a master list of your short-term and long-term financial goals is the main element of a personal financial plan. It will enable you to develop a course of action to achieve your targets. Your short-term goals could be creating an emergency fund, paying off credit card dues, etc. At the same time, long-term goals could be saving for a house or retirement.

Create a budget

Creating a budget is the main step in reaching your financial goals. It involves laying out all your income and potential expenses so that you can manage them effectively. 

One of the most popular methods of creating and managing monthly budgets is the 50/30/20 budget rule. This rule states that you should spend 50% of your after-tax income on essential expenses, 30% on needs, and 20% on savings.

Create an emergency fund.

The thumb rule of emergency funds says that you must have savings equivalent to at least three to six months of living expenses. It will enable you to be prepared for sudden costs while also allowing you to handle small financial issues smoothly. You can start small by putting away a set amount of money every month.

Pay off your debts

Another essential thing to do is to tackle debts with high interest rates, such as credit cards, payday loans, or personal loans. These credit instruments have a very high rate of interest, and you may even end up paying twice the amount you borrowed.

However, if you find it hard to settle such debts upfront, you can also apply for a debt consolidation loan with a lower interest rate.

Have a solid retirement plan.

A good personal finance plan is incomplete without a solid retirement plan like a 401(K) or IRA. While investing in a retirement plan may be a reduction in your take-home pay, it can help you build a significant retirement fund while also offering tax benefits.

Don’t forget the taxes.

Another critical aspect of a good personal finance plan is tax optimization. You can save a significant tax amount by itemizing your deductions and utilizing the tax credits. Efficient tax planning will also help you stay compliant with local, federal, and state tax regulations.

Typical financial planning mistakes to avoid 

While personal finance is essential for every individual, many either do not create a personal finance plan or do it very carelessly. As a result, you do not get the desired outcome. Here are some common financial planning mistakes individuals make.

  • The most significant financial planning mistake individuals can make is not creating a financial plan at all. Creating vague goals without knowing how to achieve them can leave you nowhere near financial stability. 
  • Many people overlook resting emergency funds. They put aside a few dollars in the name of an emergency fund and expect to tackle unforeseen expenses, which is not practical.
  • Some individuals put aside very little money towards savings. They fail to understand how much they should be saving to meet their financial goals.
  • You might have a personal finance plan in place, but if you do not review it periodically, it may fail to deliver the desired results.
  • Some people fail to understand the need to create a retirement fund or start it very late in life. As a result, they do not have sufficient money for retirement or have to work in their old age.
  • Many people do not understand the need for insurance, but it can provide financial help to your loved ones in case of an incapacitating accident/ illness or demise.

Therefore, it is important to create an effective personal finance plan that covers all the bases of your finances and ensures that you enjoy financial stability even in the event of unemployment or other emergencies.