Tag Archives: retirement planning

Personal Financial Planning

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Financial planning is the process that can help you pursue your goals by evaluating your whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to your individual needs and available resources.

The financial planning process

Developing a comprehensive financial plan and putting it in place generally involves the following steps:

  • Take account of your income, assets, regular monthly expenses, and liabilities; evaluate your insurance, your investments and savings, and your estate plan
  • Establish and prioritize your financial goals and set a time frame for each
  • Identify areas of financial concern and financial strengths
  • Monitor your plan and make adjustments as your goals, time frames, and circumstances change
  • Use the services of financial professionals who have the expertise necessary to provide objective information and help you implement your plan results

Set and prioritize financial goals

Determining financial priorities and goals is ultimately the responsibility of you and your family. Start by making a list of your short-term goals (e.g., new car, vacation) and your long-term goals (e.g., home purchase, child’s education, retirement). Then try to prioritize those goals. How important is each goal to you and your family? How much will you need to save in order to reach each goal? Once you have a clearer picture of your goals, you can work toward establishing a budget that can help you pursue them.

Establish a budget

Creating and maintaining a budget may not only help you target your financial goals, but regularly reviewing and updating your budget can help keep you on track. To develop a budget that is appropriate for your lifestyle, you’ll need to identify your current monthly income and expenses.

Start by adding up all your income. Next, add up all your expenses. It helps to divide them into two categories: fixed expenses (e.g., housing, food, clothing, and transportation) and discretionary expenses (e.g., entertainment, vacations, and hobbies). You’ll also want to make sure that you have identified any out-of-pattern expenses, such as holiday gifts, car maintenance, and home repair.

Once you’ve added up all your income and expenses, compare the two totals. If you find yourself spending more than you earn, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Look at your expenses closely and cut down on your discretionary spending.

Tips to help you stay on track

  • Stay disciplined: Make budgeting a part of your daily routine
  • Distinguish between expenses that are “wants” and expenses that are “needs”
  • Avoid using credit cards to pay for everyday expenses: It may seem as though you’re spending less, but your credit-card debt may continue to increase

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5 Ways to Start Retirement Planning Before You Turn 30

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Retirement is for the birds, right? If you’re not even 30, why should you worry about it? You have student loan debts to pay off, rent or your first mortgage to pay, a tepid job market to navigate and insurance to be worried about. Retirement? You’ll think about that when you’re 40.

 

If you follow this train of thought, you’re on the wrong train. Retirement planning may be more crucial when you’re younger because it dictates how you approach your finances as a whole for the rest of your life. Remember the 2008 recession? Millions of Americans lost their retirement nest eggs and either had to go back to work or extend their working years.

 

You don’t want to end up working until you’re 67 or 68, right? Here are five ways you can avoid that fate:

 

Get a sense of what you need- but please don’t freak out. You need a goal in order to save properly, and there are seemingly endless resources available, at Alpine Bank and online, to help you see what you’ll need for retirement.

 

Prioritize- before you start funding your retirement, take care of your immediate needs: establish an emergency fund and pay down your debts.

 

Fund your 401(k)- if your employer offers a 401(k), opt in, especially if there’s a company match involved.

 

Get your IRA on- no 401(k) option? Try a traditional or Roth IRA. A traditional IRA lets you make tax-free contributions, while money in a Roth IRA grows tax-free.

 

Chill out- yes, saving and investing in your future early can really pay off. It also takes time for all that to happen, so be patient, don’t stress over each rise and fall and keep your eyes on the prize.

 

The earlier you save, the more your money gets the benefits of compound interest. You don’t have to start out dumping huge amounts into your account; all that matter is that you start. The Investment and Retirement teams at Alpine Bank can also be a trusted resource for this and other information regarding retirement, so be sure to get in touch with them if you have questions.