A Complete Beginner's Guide to Life Planning

June 7, 2019

 

If you want to take control of your life, it’s always best to start with a plan. From saving for retirement to starting a family, life planning is an increasingly popular way to stay on track. “Life planning” is a roadmap for success where you’ll set goals for specific areas of your life, such as your career or your relationships. By breaking bigger goals down into small, achievable milestones, you’ll stay productive rather than just spinning your wheels.

 

Millennials and Gen-Zers, the generation born in the late 1990s to early 2000s, enter the workforce, they’re beginning to plan their futures. Although retirement is several decades away for these young adults, they’re already preparing for it. Because they’ll be coming of age in a world where Social Security is [potentially] no longer an option, it’s crucial for today’s adult professionals to consider career paths, 401Ks, IRAs, retirement funding, and finances.

 

Regardless of your age, it’s never too early or too late to start preparing for the unexpected. If you’re new to life planning, here’s how to start thinking ahead as you plan for your future.

 

 

 

Your Financial Future

 

For Millennials, Gen-Zers, or anyone else, the key to a successful future starts with your career.

Start by defining what you want out of your personal and professional life, then find a career that will point you in the right direction. Before accepting a job offer, you might even talk to experts in that field to gain insight on whether or not the role might be an ideal fit for you -- and vice versa.

 

Additionally, you should also plan for your financial future. Create short- and long-term goals that you can work to achieve in the coming weeks, months, years, and decades. Start by building up a nest egg to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses. Next, start gradually paying down your debts, including student loans and car payments, to work toward becoming debt-free. You should also invest in a 401K or IRA to build your wealth over time. As you pay off your bills, invest that extra money into savings each month for a snowball effect.

 

 

 

Your Family’s Future

 

Now that you’ve got the financial ball rolling, it’s time to think about your family. Are marriage and children part of your plan? If so, you should know that recent studies estimate the average cost to raise a child is over $230,000. However, saving for college funds and family planning can help offset some of these costs.

 

Life insurance is another worthwhile benefit to your family. Fortunately, before selecting a policy, you can use an online calculator to estimate your life insurance policy rate. Typically, it only costs a few dollars per month to provide your family with financial security in the event of an unexpected tragedy, like the death of yourself or your spouse or partner.

 

You might also consult with an estate planning attorney. That way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family will be financially secure, someone will be delegated to make decisions on your behalf, and your children will be taken care of should anything happen to you. Although none of us enjoy planning for end-of-life arrangements, death is inevitable. Thinking about these details ahead of time will save your loved ones money and stress when the time comes.

 

 

Where to Learn More

 

If you’re new to life planning and are looking to learn more, Dave Ramsey, a financial planning expert, offers some user-friendly plans for building wealth. Planning for retirement feels less daunting when broken down into baby steps, such as the ones Ramsey outlines in this beginners’ guide to growing over a million dollars in retirement funds.

 

Keep an eye on your wealth and track how you’re progressing, but also be willing to enjoy the ride. As Forbes notes, life’s about more than just “checking things off a list.” The purpose of a life plan is to help you achieve goals, not dictate your every move. If you realize you’ve gotten off track, it will guide you back to where you want to be.

If you’re new to life planning and are looking to learn more, Dave Ramsey, a financial planning expert, offers some user-friendly plans for building wealth. Planning for retirement feels less daunting when broken down into baby steps, such as the ones Ramsey outlines in this beginners’ guide to growing over a million dollars in retirement funds.

 

Keep an eye on your wealth and track how you’re progressing, but also be willing to enjoy the ride. As Forbes notes, life’s about more than just “checking things off a list.” The purpose of a life plan is to help you achieve goals, not dictate your every move. If you realize you’ve gotten off track, it will guide you back to where you want to be.

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