Financial planning entails so much more than money management.
- Mapping out your financial future includes considering your career, academic plan, and current financial goals. Make sure you know where you're headed, and seek the experience necessary to achieve your goals.
- Stick to your values and goals when creating a financial plan.
- Use the provided list of financial calculators to help you plan specific goals and manage your money now.
My Financial Plan
Financial planning entails so much more than money management. Here are some things to consider as you set financial goals and plan accordingly:
Consider your career objectives as you plan for the future. What impact will your career have on your present and future finances? If you're planning on supporting a family, will your career cover the costs of raising the amount of children you want to have? What do you want to accomplish with your career? What kind of job environment do you want? How many hours are you willing to put in, how many years of academic and experiential preparation are required for your career, and how much financial "wiggle-room" do you want to have now and in the future?
The U.S. Department of Labor maintains an "Occupational Outlook Handbook," which grants you access to important career information such as median pay, future job market, educational requirements, and much more. Access it through the Career and Academic Services' Online Resources, and keep your long-term goals in mind as you peruse your career options.
Once you've chosen your career, you must set the necessary goals to reach it. Make certain you create an academic plan that fulfills the educational and experiential requirements of your chosen field of work. If you need to go to grad school, make sure you select a university that has a reputable program for the degree you're seeking but also won't plunge you into inescapable amounts of debt. Seek internships and jobs that will give you valuable experience for your future career. Stay on top of your grades and prepare carefully for all entrance exams, such as the MCAT or GRE. Be realistic about how many years this process will take. Make sure you ask yourself if this option still fits the long-term and short-term goals you hold for yourself and your family. (See above questions under "Career Objectives.")
Now that you've considered your career and academic goals, you can plan your financial goals accordingly. Ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years, 25 years, and when you retire. Estimate how much you'll need to save per year to reach those long-term goals, and set yourself on a continuous financial plan, adjusting as you go to stay on track to reaching your goals. For an easy, 6-step financial planning process, click here.