Thursday, June 19, 2008

Comprehensive Financial Planning: Initial Thoughts

I've been slowly getting up to speed on how money works, on the importance of budgeting and appreciating the principle of compound interest. In this learning process I've realized that there are several expensive milestones which I should be planning for now. As I look at these events, I realize that I need a comprehensive financial plan.

Some Large Financial Milestones

  • House

  • Kids College

  • Sons' Missions

  • Helping my kids become financially stable

  • Retirement

Some of these are so near it's scarry (House). Others are so far off it's hard for me to be able to estimate how much I need to save. All of them will require large amounts of money. Some (retirement, college) can get extra help from special types of accounts (529, 401k, IRAs, capital gains vs. earned income taxes) if I plan wisely.

Complicating Financial Factors

There are complicating factors for me to consider when thinking about these financial events. Markets will change, my job will probably change, I don't know how many kids we'll be having.

Side Note : Inheritance assets

On a trip last weekend to visit my grandpa-in-law I was also reminded that there are some people in my life who will be leaving something to me in their wills. My father and grandpa-in-law have potentially large assets, possibly my grandpa too.

Inheritance assets are hard to include in a comprehensive financial plan since there's no way to know when someone is going to die, or how much their assets will be worth when they do.

How To Get Started

I don't know how I'm going to make my comprehensive financial plan. I think that I'm on the right track to create it though. The first steps are to 1) get my day to day financies in order then 2) understand the events I need to be planning for then lastly 3) make educated guesses and estimates about the situation.

In a few weeks you should see an initial revision of my plan. If you have any suggestions before then, I'd love to hear them.


Sarah said...

Just my opinion on inheritances: I don't think anyone should ever count on them, for the reasons that you've listed. There's also the risk of counting on the money, and then not getting it, or getting less than you'd hoped.
We've all also probably heard stories of families torn apart by fights over wills and inheritances. I think this is so sad, and would probably make the deceased person sad/upset/angry if they saw their passing and subsequent gift cause such problems.

I think that inheritances should be seen as a pleasant surprise if they are received. That way, there are no expectations and no resentments if things don't go as "planned".

Just my 2 cents.

Rich said...

Good point.

I'd rather stay friends with my siblings than get caught up in some legal battle.