A Guide to Life Planning for Those Who Are New to It
You may know about the merits of financial planning, but when it comes to life planning, you may be in the dark. Life planning includes financial planning but also accounts for people’s life goals and ensures they make decisions that keep them on track to achieve those goals. Many people begin developing a life plan when they feel as though they don’t have enough direction in life or aren’t making the progress they had hoped for in their careers. Others create life plans when they get married or have a child. If you are new to life planning, our guide will help you along the way.
Take Stock of Your Current Situation
The first step of creating a life plan should be to evaluate your current situation. Take a good look at your health, finances, career, relationships, and emotional well-being. Take notes on what is working, what is not working, what brings you joy, and what causes stress or anxiety. If your happiest times occur when you are with family or friends, and your stressful times occur when you are working or dealing with a toxic relationship, start thinking about what you need to do to change your current situation. Many people find that the root of their stress is their financial situation.
Picture Your Ideal Life
You may spend time daydreaming and setting unrealistic goals from time to time, but this is the stage of your life plan when you need to picture your ideal life. Be specific and descriptive, but also be honest and clear. This is not the time to set unrealistic goals like becoming queen of the world or winning the largest Powerball in history, but it is the time to think about what you want to be doing, where you want to be, who is with you, and how you feel. Maybe you picture having a home on a few acres of property in the mountains and hiking with your future grandchildren. Maybe you picture a small home near the beach with a few dogs. Whatever picture you create will lead you to your life goals.
Work with Professionals to Create an Action Plan to Achieve Your Life Goals
Believe it or not, most of the difficult work of creating a life plan occurs when you honestly take stock of your current situation and picture your ideal life. Once you know where you are and where you want to be, you can enlist the help of a life coach or a financial advisor to help you create an action plan to achieve your ideal life.
The sooner you start taking steps toward securing your future and that of your children, the better, and a financial advisor can work with you to estimate how much money you will need to achieve your ideal life. Your financial advisor also can make sure that your retirement account, savings accounts, and life insurance policies are in place to protect you and your family. You can work with a financial advisor to set up accounts for your children. You may decide to create custodial savings accounts for them and college tuition savings plans to provide them with some financial stability when they turn 18.
This also is the time to work with an attorney and make sure that you have designated a guardian for your children and put protections in place for them and their future. You should write a will and clearly state what your final wishes are for your assets and your property. Ensuring that your family is taken care of in the event of your death is an important step of life planning that you should not hesitate to complete.
Life planning may seem like a daunting task at first, but when you sit down and take stock of your current situation and your future dreams, you’ll find that you set a path for your life that you realistically can achieve with some focus and hard work and the help of some professionals.