September 27, 2019

Shape Your Future - Goals to Get You Started

Financial Planning

You likely have goals in mind, but if you need inspiration for yourself or your loved ones, consider these.

Practical matters

Consider all things nitty-gritty. What are your family's immediate and long-term financial needs?

  • Aim to save 10% to 15% toward retirement each year.
  • Take advantage of tax-deferred or tax-efficient accounts.
  • Pay bills in full, on time whenever you can.
  • Pay off any high-interest debt.
  • Save for college.
  • Maintain a "what if" fund to bridge any gaps in cases of emergency or opportunity.

Living the dream

Get ahead of the game - careful consideration now can help you reach your future goals.

  • Aim for you and your spouse to retire early and still delay Social Security until full retirement age.
  • Develop a budget and track income and expenses. Spend less than you earn.
  • Build credit by leveraging good debt for large purchases like a home or advanced education.
  • Save for something fun, like a family trip.

Family first

Reflect on your loved ones. Do you have the right strategies in place to ensure they're taken care of?

  • Buy the appropriate amount of insurance, including long-term care.
  • Create a will, power of attorney and other important legacy documents - before you need them.
  • Discuss mid- and long-range plans with your partner and family, as well as your financial advisor.

Plan for more

Go above and beyond to make the most of the goals you have in place.

  • Reassess your risk tolerance and make adjustments to your financial plan.
  • Consider your options with any retirement funds still lingering with an old employer.
  • Set - and regularly review - your goals and progress with your financial advisor.
  • Establish buy/sell criteria with your advisor, so you can make decisions about cutting losses or reinvesting in a rational manner.
  • Take advantage of employer benefits like health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts and retirement plan matches.
  • Understand the investments you own and how they work together.

Think big - your goals should help drive your purpose and decisions in each season of life. Speak to a trusted advisor as you assess any life changes and new opportunities.

This article originally appeared on All expressions of opinion reflect the judgement of Raymond James & Associates, Inc., and are subject to change.