Being a business owner, my year is through, mainly because there isn't a lot I can do late in October that will work fast enough to make a difference this year. That is why I am in meetings for the next month with my consultants and staff to provide a framework for next year. As the old cliché goes " I want to hit the ground running" in the New Year. Does that mean I am planning my own personal finances as well? An easy answer is yes, but it isn't true. I am not. Like any professional worth his or her salt, I never seem to get around to it. That is my excuse, what's yours?
My wife and I will talk endlessly about what we did this year, congratulating ourselves over the positive moves and bemoaning the not so positive ones. But our discussion generally ends there. Not this year! We are going to plan. She has already told me I spend too much money on lunches, and I think (and have foolishly told her) she doesn't always need that new purse, even though she reminds me she also makes the money to buy it. In case you don't realize it, this is not planning. This is a simple attempt at making your spouse either earn more or spend less. It doesn't work, but it gets the air cleared between you.
Let’s talk planning instead of "air clearing". Planning, especially financial planning, is a lot more complex than you think and probably will take you a lot longer than the time you are now willing to allocate to said endeavor. The reason? Everything is tied together and one move usually brings you to another. In trying to make things work and end up with something in the way of money by the end of a given period, you cannot stretch one way without cutting something from another place. Money is a rare resource that I am sure your parents told you "doesn't grow on trees" (with deference to the farmers).
You need to start with a long-term picture and then fit the yearly budget within that framework. It doesn't matter if you are in your 30's or 60's, you need both plans.
Long-term plans are for slowing down or retirement. Short term plans are for managing the money in a way that you can comfortably rely on the accuracy of your long-term goals.
The first thing when working on your long-term goals is to "hedge your bet". You do that with insurance. No need working toward a retirement if you don't have the proper insurance because one unplanned occurrence, illness or accident, and you could be wiped out. The two types of insurances I would recommend are disability insurance, which will give you an income if you become disabled, and long-term care insurance, which will help take care of you when certain physical things go wrong.
Roger Schlesinger's Mortgage Minute is heard on hundreds of radio stations and daily on the Hugh Hewitt radio show and Michael Medved shows. Roger interacts with his hosts and explores the complicated financial markets in order to enlighten his listeners and direct them along their own unique road to financial freedom.
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