No matter if you are a new college graduate or nearing retirement, there are always financial decisions to be made. Some people don't like making financial decisions, so they make the decision to stick their head in the sand until they are forced to think about it (harsh, but true). If you are that person, don't stress. You don't have to make all of these decisions at once. I just want to create a financial awareness that allows you to see the big picture over time. Gradually over time, little changes turn into big results.
No one has ever complained that they started too soon. They've only regretted starting too late. Check out this article from CNBC about the top 5 regrets from retirees.
Check out these questions below and see what you come up with:
1) What is my take home (after taxes and deductions) income each month?
2) What are my regular, fixed household monthly expenses?
3) What are the (un)expected expenses that may come up in the next 12 months?
4) How long can I continue to pay bills and expenses if my income stopped?
5) What percent of my gross income am I saving each year?
6) Am I saving into the right places in order to build the future I desire?
7) Am I getting compensated for the risks that I am taking with my investments?
8) What happens to my family if something happens to me?
9) Where could I generate extra income if my main source of income stopped?
Take some time to think about these questions. This is a great initial step to start to stress test your financial plans. Each answer is very important to know, and it provides an insight into where you are at today. Creating awareness is the first step towards making progress. Most people don't know they have a blind spot or an inefficiency until something happens and an event triggers that realization. We want to be aware of those things ahead of time so we can do something about it before it's too late.
For instance, most people feel like they aren't saving enough each month, so they end up chasing rates of return to overcome that gap. That might work well in some years, however if you are taking on too much risk, that can have devastating consequences. This year in the stock market and bond market is a perfect example. It's like a boat that is taking on too much water. You may be fine initially, but at some point too much water causes you to sink. In 2022, stocks AND bonds have had a bad year simultaneously. What if this was the year you planned for retirement? Could you still do it?
Also, don't feel like you have to take on these questions alone. I'd like to help if you're open to it. Schedule a time here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's start to answer some of these questions together and we can put together a plan from there. You may be quite amazed at how much progress we can make in just a few short months!