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032 – 8 Steps to Creating a Lifestyle Financial Plan

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Do you go to the grocery store every day?  Every week?  What is your shopping routine?  We all have a favorite, but we don’t always adhere to our favorite grocery shopping routine.  I like to go to the grocery store once per week and buy everything we need during that trip, and I prefer to go early Saturday or Sunday morning when no one else is shopping.  I also like to plan my trip thoroughly.  I go through the refrigerator and pantry to see what we are out of or low on.  Planning all of our weekly meals before shopping allows me to get everything needed for each dinner.  Making a list and organizing it per grocery isle provides optimal efficiency when shopping for my groceries.  A grocery plan also helps ensure I don’t forget any of the items.  With a plan, I know we are addressing all of our grocery needs for the week.
However, it doesn’t always turn out this way.  Often the grocery trip is made at a moments notice after church during a time when the store is overflowing with shoppers, and I am hungry.  A list is not prepared to guide the way.  A meal plan is not prepared ahead time, so we aimlessly throw groceries in the cart.  My hunger forces a five pizza purchase instead of a single pizza purchase. The kids are screaming for all sugary foods to enter the cart.  As a result, it takes twice as long, and we spend twice as much, and a subsequent trip is required mid-week for all the missed items.  Taking inventory of current food in the house allows us to know where we are, planning meals makes it possible to know where we are going.  When we go without planning, we have no direction and end up not achieving everything we want out of the grocery visit.
Unfortunately, when it comes to our financial lives, we don’t have a plan.  We have no idea where we are and don’t know where we want to go.  We justify that saving up to the match in our 401(k) plan will take us to the promised land.  I have news for you; this may not get you even close to achieving everything your want out of life.  It simply is not a well thought out lifestyle financial plan. 
There is another way.  A way that will allow us to come closer to achieving everything in life that we want to.  All of our goals, dreams and building abundance in the cornerstones that matter most in our lives.  A way that allows us to be remembered by our actions and the legacy we leave behind. 
Everyone deserves a lifestyle financial plan.  A lifestyle plan is like a combination grocery list and meal planner but instead of acting as our grocery store guide, it serves as our life guide.
Eight Steps That Make Up the Lifestyle Financial Plan:

Identify all your unique Goals and select the Importance of each.

The very first thing is determining the outcome we want to achieve.  It allows us to focus on everything that is important to us.  Some of our goals and dreams are not as important as others, so we rank them in order of importance.  Examples of goals: A steady supply of income, health care, early retirement, car, college, travel, home improvement, gift or donation, wedding, major purchases, leave a bequest, hew home, start a business, celebration, provide care for parents or someone else.  The list goes on a one.  Each of us has a unique set of goals and dreams that we want to achieve before we take our last breath on this great earth.

Educate yourself to make informed decisions.

We tend to purchase financial products before we realize what we need and do not need.  Often is because a salesperson talks us into requiring a financial product, and usually it is out of fear that we make the purchase.  If we educate ourselves first, then we won’t be caught off guard.  It’s not time in the lifestyle financial planning process to buy any financial product.  We still have a long way to go.

Identify the resources that will help fund your Goals.

Identifying your resources is a process to determine where we are right now.  What are all of the potential sources of income available at retirement?  Do I have a completed net worth and cash flow statement?  Knowing where you are right now is important because if we do not have a snapshot of where we are financially right now, how will we ever get to where we want to go.  If you called your friend and asked for directions, the first thing your friend will ask is where you are right now.  Otherwise, it is not possible to give the instructions.

Determine the balance of risk and return that is right for you.

Never take more risk with your investments than needed to accomplish all of your desires in life.  Actually, would you ever assume extra danger in any other scenario of life?  Also, never take more risk than your appetite will allow or you may have to kiss your dreams away.  Understanding ris