Personal Financial Planning

Don’t Procrastinate! Do Your Personal Financial Planning NOW!

Procrastination is your worst enemy because it keeps you from your financial successes. However, YOU are the Boss…You can stop it in its tracks!

OK, now take a deep breath, because now is also the best time to think seriously about your financial planning action items for your future. There is no better time than now!

You don’t want to wait too long, because implementing your financial plan action items should begin immediately. Too often we wait until it’s too late to think about our financial plans and then you get too busy…and before you know it, most of the time is gone – kaput! Excuses come easily, lulling you into believing that waiting till later is appropriate. Honestly, didn’t that happen in the past?  And all that time was wasted.

Don’t let that happen again! Time is your greatest financial asset. If you wait, you are wasting it! Make an appointment with yourself no later than this week and then work through the process below.

How to Start Planning

Here are a few questions to get your personal financial planning started. Don’t answer them yet — Just think about them for now…

  1. What were your best financial decisions/outcomes in past years?
  2. What were your worst financial decisions/outcomes in past years?
  3. How can you further build on the positive decisions/outcomes?
  4. How can you eliminate more (if not all) the negative decisions/outcomes?
  5. What are your achievable 1-year financial planning goals for a one-year timeframe?
  6. What action items must you implement to achieve these goals?

Know Where You Are First

Before you set off to answer those questions and create your new financial plan, it is critical that you assess your current situation first. Get a sense of your current financial situation by using 2 key elements: (1) your Net Worth and (2) your monthly budget.

To calculate your net worth, use these helpful websites:

To create a monthly budget, use these helpful websites:

 Now Answer the Questions

Once you have calculated your Net Worth and determined your budget, set your financial goals for the next year based on the tough, honest questions we asked earlier. Go ahead…jot down some answers now. For help with the goals and action items (Questions #5 and #6), see the next section.

  1. What were your best financial decisions/outcomes last year and past years?
  2. What were your worst financial decisions/outcomes last year and past years?
  3. How can you further build on the positive decisions/outcomes?
  4. How can you eliminate more (if not all) the negative decisions/outcomes?
  5. What are your achievable 1-year financial planning goals for this year?
  6. What action items must you implement to achieve these goals?

Develop Your Goals and Action Items

To be effective, goals and the associated action items must contain certain elements. Develop your goals and action items considering these simple questions: (1) What do you want/need to accomplish? (2) What benefit can you receive from it? (3) What is the target date for achievement? (4) Who/What can you use to help? and (5) How will you measure the results?

Example –

Annual Investment Goal:

To achieve my ideal investment portfolio mix going forward which can result in investment returns of at least ____% per year. (You can fill in the blank with your own number.)

Action Items:

  1. By the first week, read and learn about risk tolerance and risk preference.
  2. By the second week, use questionnaires/assessment tools, such as the My Optimal Asset Allocation Analyzer (MOAAA), in order to determine my risk tolerance and risk preference.
  3. By January 15th, research and choose my advisory sources (for example, TSOA Asset Allocation), and align my portfolios to the allocations set by those sources.
  4. Frequently check on any allocation changes (for example, in the TSOA Asset Allocation) by subscribing to paid investment newsletters or free websites like investbetterspendsmarter.com.
  5. No later than the end of each month, monitor my portfolio value to see if I am on track with my goals.

You are now well on your way to implementing your new financial plan. And with this matter off your shoulders, you can enjoy life even more and with gusto!

Remember… If you have no financial plan to know where you are going, you won’t get started, and you’ll wonder why you never got there!

The best to your great new personal financial plan!

Jim Tso


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Jim Tso wants to “give back” and share his 35+ years of successful personal money management experience to help others to achieve their financial goals. Jim created this InvestBetterSpendSmarter blog (IBSS) to provide you with free investing, planning, savings, retirement, and inspirational tips derived from his unique, innovative, and proven approaches to money management. He welcomes and appreciates your feedback.

Jim would also appreciate it if you would kindly share our IBSS website and blogs with your family, friends, and business associates. Thank you!

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