Personal financial planning allows an individual to navigate through different stages of life while simultaneously anticipating opportunities and anticipating any contingencies that may arise. When an individual employs a sound financial plan, it becomes easier to determine short-, middle-, and long-term financial goals. As a result, one becomes conscious and mindful of how they use or deal with their finances. However, developing a comprehensive financial plan depends on the extent with which I understand my current financial situation. Hence, to deliver a comprehensive financial plan, I will delve deeper into my career plan, financial goals, banking services used, housing decisions, automobile, insurance, investments, and monthly budget.
Currently, I am employed with an annual salary of $35,000. However, as an ambitious individual, I strive to become an actuarial analyst within six months, which implies I will get an average salary of $62,604. As an actuarial analyst, I get to work in various sectors, such as casualty or property insurance, health insurance, and consultation. However, I intend to venture business analysis as a consultant. With time, I will become a senior finance analyst and eventually a manager. While the career path is competitive, it is highly rewarding and the salaries in this field are expected to increase by 20 percent by the year 2026. Hence, this path would facilitate my ability to achieve my financial plan fully.
Personally, I want to handle my finances in a manner that I receive the full satisfaction when spending every dollar. Hence, financial goals are instrumental in ensuring that my main objective is achieved. Importantly, identifying and setting priorities is fundamental in achieving the desired satisfaction. Hence, setting a comprehensive financial plan will serve as the foundation for progressively enhancing the quality of life and minimizing uncertainties in meeting future needs.
Creating short-term financial goals is essential for boosting individual financial knowledge as well as forming the foundation for achieving middle term and long-term goals. The first short term goal is to create an emergency fund of $1000. The goal should be met within a year. After meeting this objective, I will strive to increase the fund by $200 until the annual funds contribution per year reaches $3000 to ensure that I can cover emergencies, such as unemployment.
The second short term goal is to pay credit card debt. While achieving the first goal is essential, it is crucial to ensure a balance between emergency funds and paying credit card debts. Notably, the interest for credit card debts is costly and failing to pay the same may render my financial goals futile or hard to achieve. With a credit card debt of $4,500, I can comfortably pay off the debts within four years by paying $100 per month, inclusive of interest.
After establishing an emergency fund and having paid the credit card debt, I will strive to achieve my midterm financial goals since they are elemental in bridging the short- and long-term goals. The first midterm goal is getting a disability income insurance and life insurance. Both life and disability income insurance are essential for meeting both my goals and those of my future family’s needs in the event of an injury or disease that incapacitates me, or in the event of death. The life insurance is beneficial to people, such as spouse and children who would be dependent on my income. On the other hand, a disability income insurance will provide benefits besides the social security disability income by allowing me to live a better life even when I lose my ability to earn. These insurances will require approximately $240 per month.
The second midterm goal is clearing student loans. Notably, midterm goals are those that can take approximately ten years before achieving them. Hence, smart planning is integral to avoid setting the goals too high such that a frustration may result in the crumbling of the long-term goals. Considerably, student loans are significantly larger compared to credit card debts, and they may become a huge setback to achieving many financial goals. By lowering or paying off my student loans, it gives me ample time and resources to save for retirements and reaching my dream goals. Considerably, the average student loan in 2019 was $30,000 (Hess, 2019). Currently, I have a student loan balance of $10,000, which implies that I have fared well compared to the average student loanees. To repay the loan within a period of six years, I need to pay a monthly installment of $140.
The third midterm goal is buying a home. Notably, buying a house can range from mid-term to long-term objective based on income received. However, with a ten-year projection, I will have managed to save enough to own a two-bedroom house. Currently, West Virginia is the only state where a two-bedroom house costs below $100,000, making it the cheapest and most ideal state to own a house compared to other states, such as Alaska where the median cost of a house is $310,000. Hence, relocating to West Virginia would significantly save a substantial amount for housing. Given a projection of ten years, I need to save $834 per month to achieve that dream. However, considering inflation over the next ten years, the cost of owning a new home will have risen to $140,000, which implies I need an additional $333 per month to offset inflation.
Another middle term goal is to buy a car to reduce my transport cost. Currently, a low cost sedan, such as Nissan Versa and Hyundai Accent ranges between $12,000 and $16,000. Hence, my financial target would be to buy a $14,000 Sedan within a period of six years. To achieve this goal, I need to set a monthly saving of $195 towards the car finances.
Long-term goals may range from saving for retirement, to saving to buy real estate, and saving towards children’s college education. Buying real estate serves as an ideal investment option given to the steady rise in cost of real estates. One of my long-term financial goal is saving for my son’s or daughter’s college education. My educational background forms a foundation to my financial plan. For this reason, saving for my daughter’s or son’s tuition remains an indispensable long-term financial goal. Given the assumption that my son or daughter enters college in 16 years, it is important to accumulate enough funds to cater for his or her educational needs at a decent college. Additionally, I also need to accumulate sufficient funds for their college tuition such that no additional savings will be needed to meet her higher education tuition fees. I assume that the current in-state tuition in a reputable college costs $20,000 per year, inclusive of board and room. Furthermore, based on the past trend, the annual rise of tuition fees is 5 percent. Moreover, I will consider the tax advantage of buying EE bonds to fund my son’s or daughter’s education. For instance, if I invest in the state of Missouri’s 529 plan, the Vanguard Moderate Growth Fund has an interest rate of 7.12 percent for five years. Hence, to reach the targeted goal, the following calculations help to determine the monthly savings for college education.
CF0 – CF12 = 0
CF16 – CF19 = ($20,000)
Interest = 2.02% [(1.0712/1.05)-1]x100
Net P.V = $59,877.19
NPV = $59,877.19
No. of payments = 192 months
Interest = 0.59 (7.12%/12)
Payment= $588.24 – or – $7,213.16 per year
Hence, the necessary contribution towards college education is 588.24 per month to ensure my son or daughter has the right funds when ready to join college.
The ultimate long-term goal of implementing a financial plan is to fund a comfortable retirement. Given that retirement starts at 65, there are 40 years of savings that I can use to achieve my retirement goals. My retirement goals include traveling, golfing, gardening, volunteering, and painting. To achieve a comfortable retirement, I will need to save or make an investment that totals to $1,000,000 or more by the age of 65. In this case, it is crucial to invest in an organization with a record of accomplishing success. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (n.d.), saving for retirement implies that I need to pay myself on a monthly basis before diverting the income elsewhere. In this case, I will need to ensure that the bank automatically transfers $2083.33 to my retirement saving account, such as the 401(k) plan. As the Securities and Exchange Commission (n.d.) enlightens, the approach not only secures my retirement savings, but it automatically relieves me off some tax obligations. Additionally, it increases the chances of remaining committed to my financial plan and achieving my goals.
Banks offer a plethora of services that can help one achieve short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. Notably, assuming that all financial goals can be accommodated by a single account is ineffective, especially when dealing with long-term goals. Though setting a savings account would be appropriate for emergency funds, the account cannot apply for retirement savings. Retirement savings are best accommodated by an IRA or 401(k), or any other account specific to retirement. To save for a house, a high-yield savings account in my current bank would help meet the needs for my home and car savings. Given the fact that owning a car and home requires substantial savings, a high-yield savings account would suffice since it offers high interest rates, sometimes up to twenty times higher compared to regular savings accounts. Hence, such an account would accelerate the rate of achieving the desired home and car savings. Additionally, banks are ideal at facilitating automatic transfers from the checking account to other accounts. While the process is painful due to the reduced cash at my disposal, it is seamless and it helps fulfil my financial goals.
One of my financial goal is to build a house with art within ten years and shift from rental housing. Currently, the cost of buying a home ranges between $100,000 and $300,000 depending on state of choice. If the construction cost rises at the current inflation rate over the next ten years, I will need an additional $40,000 for a home worth $100,000. Hence, I need to allocate a monthly saving of $1,167. While saving $1,167 per month might be challenging considering other expenses and savings, I can direct additional funds from my current investment to achieve this goal. Taking this initiative will help from current investments
Currently, I have no automobile and I use public transport. Usually, the average transportation cost I incur is $250 per month. When extrapolated annually, the sum becomes $3000, and considering the amount needed to purchase a cheap Sedan car, my four-year transportation cost would suffice to cater for the cost. Moreover, owning a car offers flexibility and convenience as compared to public and taxi transport. Hence, being mindful of my other financial goals, I strive to own a new car within six years. As previously mentioned, my monthly savings towards automobile will be $195. However, considering inflation, I will need to save $200 per month.
There are different insurance policies. However, several policies remain integral to my personal financial plan. As previously outlined, life insurance is an indispensable investment for protecting my family financially. It serves as a guarantee that my family can receive ample finances to cater for my large financial obligations in the event of death. Another important insurance option is health insurance (Weltmer, 2019). My employer pays about 80 percent of my health insurance, making it more affordable. On the other hand, I need to adopt other insurances, such as disability insurance, car insurance, and boat insurance. These
Smart saving is essential for meeting small funds and other emergency funds. However, investments are instrumental in preparing individuals to becoming millionaires. While I can be skeptical about taking the investment option, especially in financial markets, such as stock and bonds, since it may be perceived as gambling, with high chances of losing money. However, as Huang (2016) elucidates, one can master the art of investment. Notably, Huang (2016) informs that one only needs to control the impulsive urge to gain riches fast. Instead, taking that option might lead to loss. The common investment options ideal for achieving my financial goals include mutual funds, stocks, and real estate. For instance, if I opted for ABC Financial Group and invested $562.09 in Canadian Equity Fund and the funds grew at a rate of 15 percent, then it will be possible for me to save a million dollars by the time I retire.
|Net Income (After Deductions)||$ 3333 (Annual Salary =$ 40,000)|
|Total Income||$ 3333|
|Utilities such as internet/cable and telephone||$ 100|
|Alcohol and beverages||$ 150|
|Total Expenses||$ 2,850|
|Monthly Cash Flow||$ 483|
Based on my current monthly consumption, the expenses surpass my current needs for savings. Hence, if I am to meet my financial goals, I need to minimize different costs and adopt a saving trend. For instance, I can minimize on alcohol and beverages by $50 and entertainment by a similar amount. While the amounts do not sufficiently meet the surplus in the monthly savings, I expect to change employment within six months and secure a job that pays an average $62,604. The transition will increase the savings amount by about $27,604 annually. Therefore, I will manage to cater for all my savings need.
Setting goals serves as a step to actualizing the financial plan. However, achieving the objectives is another huddle that demands discipline and commitment. Besides creating and executing the savings plan, it is essential for me to check my performance periodically. When I keep track of my financial progress, it can help realize whether the goals are truly actualizing, whether I can save more, and whether I veered off the saving trail before reaching the finish line. Furthermore, annual checks can help to determine whether my current investments are growing and whether they can help me reach my financial objectives. In this case, if there are better investment options, financial plan tracking can help to change to the favorable options, allowing me to reach my desired goals. Moreover, as time progresses, some additional goals may arise, and they might need to be accommodated to the current financial plan.