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Financial Planning for those Just Starting

This Financial Planning discussion is aimed at those in their 20s and early 30s whose career is just getting started. You probably don't have a lot of money now but you do have a bright future. Most of your contemporaries are living for today but you know that you panning ahead now can pay big dividends in the future. This page describes the things that you can do now that will have the biggest impact.

There are two part to a Financial Plan

  1. Protecting what you have already
  2. Preparing for the future

Protecting what you have

You probably don't have a lot of money now but you do have a future. You need to protect it.

  • Have Health Insurance and Car Insurance
  • Pay your bills and make debt payments on time. Everyone looks at your credit history -- employers when you are looking for a job, landlords when deciding whether to rent to you, and, of course, people who you are deciding whether to lend you money. Any failures now will harm you for years to come.
  • Pay off credit card balances. This is VERY expensive debt.
  • Create an emergency fund equal to 3 months to 6 months of expenses for emergencies or if you lose your job.
  • Have Disability Income Insurance, which replaces lost wages if you become disabled and unable to work for a period of time.

Note that many employers offer Health Insurance and Disability Income Insurance as a part of their benefits package .

WHY a House is More of a Liability than an Asset

A house more of a liability than an asset because it meets the definition of a liability. Namely, a liability is something that costs you money both now and in the future. As everyone knows, maintaining a house and paying taxes on a house is very expensive.

Of course, everyone needs a place to live so we are not telling you not to buy a house. What we are saying is:

You should buy the house that you need NOT the house you can afford.

Establish good financial habits

The things described below will help you right now. However, what is most beneficial about them is that they put in place habits that will pay dividends over and over during your entire life.

Make a budget and stick to it

Start savings regularly. Have 10% to 15% of each paycheck go automatically into savings. This strategy is know as "Payingself first." The amount earmarked for retirement should go into a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k).

Many employers will match your contributions to a retirement savings plan up to some maximum amount. This is FREE MONEY. Don't pass it up! Usually, however, the amount of your savings that the employer will match is below the minimum 10% that you should save so getting these matching contributions is just a start.

In retirement you need $150,000 saved for each $10,000 of income you need to replace because you are no longer working. In addition, each child you send to college will cost $100,000+. Read our web page The Advantage of Starting to Save NOW.

Read our comments above on why a house is more of a liability than an asset.

Let's Get Started Planning Your Financial Success

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