October is finally here, and with it comes National Financial Planning Month—a nationwide reminder for people to organize their finances. As people and businesses enter Q4, it’s imperative to set time aside to determine your financial plans for next year. From investing to retirement planning, there are many ways people can get their money in order, and it all begins with setting financial goals. A successful financial plan starts with evaluating your current financial situation to set achievable plans for next year. Consider the following tips as you start to map out 2024 to achieve financial success.
The importance of setting financial goals
Setting financial goals is the key to achieving financial success. This should include both small goals and large stretch goals to make it easier for you to make sacrifices or stick to a budget because you know what outcome you’re striving for. Keeping timely financial goals helps you stick to a plan because it creates a desired outcome to strive toward. Your goals will allow you to stay on track and see progress throughout the year which will keep you motivated and inspired. Your goals will also help inform your budget and ensure your money is working for you.
Creating a budget
At the heart of any robust financial plan lies a well-structured budget. A budget is your personalized spending plan that gives an estimate of what you can safely purchase based on your own income and expenses. It serves as a guide to help keep your money in check as you work toward your financial goals. Determining your budget can help lead to financial independence. As you are developing a budget, it is essential to weigh all possibilities. What is my best-case scenario? What is my worst? Asking yourself these two simple questions will help you formulate a flexible budget capable of accommodating all of life’s unexpected events. Whether it’s paying off debts, saving for a vacation, or planning for retirement, well-defined goals help steer your financial ship in the right direction.
Plan for the unknown
Despite economic predictions, you can never fully prepare for unexpected changes to your personal finances, business or even the economy. Unexpected emergencies, investment opportunities and more can disrupt even the most meticulously crafted budgets and goals without proper preparation. From a big-picture perspective, considering that rising interest rates, a recession or changes in currency value can all affect your financial plans and should be kept in consideration while developing your goals and creating a map for success. It is vital to assess these potential outliers and have contingency plans in place. This proactive approach ensures that your financial plan remains resilient in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Preparedness for the unknown is a hallmark of effective financial planning.
Finding the right partner
A healthy budget is a strong pillar of any financial plan, but all-encompassing wealth management goes well beyond. The financial specialists at Cogent Bank have the knowledge and expertise to help create a tailored plan for your financial success. Cogent Bank offers a comprehensive suite of financial planning resources. These include personalized budget assistance, guidance on investments, strategic retirement planning, tax optimization strategies, support for education planning and much more. As you sit down to set your financial goals for next year, ensuring you have the right financial partner can lead to greater success throughout the year.
Ben Lalikos is the EVP, Central Florida Market President at Cogent Bank