Imagine you’re going on a cross-country road trip along scenic highways and new landscapes. You’re going to visit places you have only read about and you can’t wait to begin your exciting adventure. As you’re packing, surely one of the first things you’d be sure to bring is a map or atlas to help you navigate this new territory. Would you even consider going on this road trip without first consulting a map or atlas and then continue to consult it along the way?
Now imagine trying to navigate the tricky waters of paying college tuition, getting a car loan, buying a home, and saving for retirement without some sort of guidance. You have never done this before and even if you know people who have, don’t you think it would be better to create a financial plan or map that is suited to you and your needs to help you reach your financial goals and destinations?
Making a financial plan is something many people shy away from because they simply don’t know where to begin. In following the road trip analogy, simply decide where it is you want to go. Decide what your big financial commitments and goals are and put them in chronological order. Then, dissect each of these commitments/goals and see which ones require the most time, effort, planning ahead, and also the estimated cost.
When you identify where you actually want to be going with your financial plan, you can then begin your journey. Start budgeting for large expenses; open up the necessary savings or retirement accounts; teach your children about smart financial habits early; build good credit by applying for a loan. There are so many ways for you to reach your financial destinations, so explore lots of options.
In fact, there are even “tour guides” to help you on your financial journey. Visiting with a Member Service Representative can help you apply for a loan, open a savings account or Home Equity Line of Credit among other things, and they can explain all the options to you to ensure that you understand and are comfortable with all the options you have to making your financial plan work for you. Another excellent option is to meet with a representative from Utah Community Investment Service (UCIS). The representatives are trained financial advisers that are happy to meet with you for a no-pressure consultation to help you identify some of your financial goals and how to meet them.
Just as you would not dream of taking off on a long road trip adventure without consulting a map and forming a plan of your trip, don’t put off starting a financial plan. A financial plan is nothing but useful as you plan for events, big and small, that take a little bit of financial preparation. When you have a financial plan, you will find yourself with more peace of mind and more financial freedom to explore whatever life routes you may choose to take.