Financial planning can seem overwhelming even if you feel like you have a handle on your finances. Are you on the right track? Are you saving enough? A written financial plan is a good place to start, but before you do, consider the main areas of your plan and give serious thought to how you would address each. Following are categories to start with:
When you have existing debt and continue to accumulate it, saving for the future is like shoveling snow in a snowstorm; it's almost impossible to get ahead. First, take a hard look at your existing debt, and take proactive steps to whittle away at it. Once you eliminate your debt, you can save more for the future. Read Reducing Your Dependency on Debt for steps to get started.
Saving 3-6 months of your annual income in a Savings Account is an important safety net for unexpected emergencies. At Community Bank you can open a separate Savings Account for this fund and nickname it "Emergency" to remind you it is only to be used in the event of a true emergency.
Saving for college is something you can start as soon as your child is born. Whether your child is small or college-bound, it's never too late to start. Read Financing a College Education for detailed information and handy calculators.
It's never too early to start saving for your retirement. If you are young and just starting your career, time is on your side. Service members have Thrift Savings Plan options (traditional or Roth) to help you get on track. Deployed Service members can also participate in the Savings Deposit Program and earn a healthy 10% on deployment pay investments.
Life insurance can provide financial stability to a family that experiences tragedy. The government offers low-cost life insurance to Service members and veterans that can help cover your family's finances for their future. Read about Group Life Insurance to learn about how military life insurance works, and available options.
These days retirement is seen as a chance to learn new skills, travel, and even reinvent yourself. Even with the retirement benefits from the military, you may need extra funds to enjoy the lifestyle you want. Whether you're beginning to save for retirement or are ready to retire, Community Bank wants your golden years to be as enjoyable as possible. Use our online Net-Worth Calculator to help you assess your finances.
Smart investing allows you to maximize your savings. Here are some tips1 to help you get started:
1 Community Bank does not provide investment and/or tax advice. Consult with your financial advisor or professional regarding your specific situation.
Below are resources about financial planning at various stages throughout your career and into retirement. The following articles and resources provide general guidance as well as strategies you can use when creating your plan.
Now that you have read about the various strategies for creating a solid financial plan and preparing for retirement, it's time to apply what you've learned:
Using the 5 categories below, list action steps to reach your goals. If you are married, create this plan with your spouse and make sure all steps are actionable and scheduled with a specific date. Use applicable calculators to help you define the amount as necessary:
Once your written plan is complete, pick a target date for reviewing your progress and mark this important date on your calendar. Consider a monthly review for the first 6 months to make sure your spending and saving habits are working.