15 Best Financial Planning Practices from Finance Expert Keith Fitz Gerald

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Financial planning is a big topic. It encompasses numerous aspects of your financial identity, from money market investments to estate planning. What most people don’t realize is that it’s essential if you want to build and sustain a high net worth.

Sure, it sounds boring. But financial planning can hold the key to enormous success if you follow good money management tips and pay careful attention to your investments.

Let’s look at 15 financial planning best practices so you can learn to manage your wealth more effectively.

1. You Need Both Long- and Short-Term Investment Strategies

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Focusing exclusively on short-term investments is a short-sighted strategy if you want your financial planning to succeed because long-term investments help round out your portfolio. Notice that I use the word exclusively.

Yes, short-term trades can have a positive impact on your net worth and help you earn income faster. However, they’re also highly volatile and prone to unexpected results. If you don’t have long-term investments to balance out any losses during your day trading or swing trading activities, you’re not adequately planning for your future.

2. Avoid Giving in to Panic

Panic is often what drives huge price movements in the stock market. Investors start dumping shares like crazy because of some catalyst, and the more the price falls, the more panic ensues. Make no mistake, this is how the stock market survives, but it doesn’t have to eliminate your profits.

Dip buyers and other investors who actually profit off panic stand to benefit the most from a financial planning perspective. Think about it. Instead of panicking along with everyone else, you short a stock when you see the plunge start to occur, then take money off the back side. It happens every day to smart traders.

3. Create Your Own Financial Planning Rules

Everyone needs a set of his or her own financial planning rules. These rules are set in stone and are based on your risk tolerance, goals, net worth, and investment strategies.

Why do you need rules? Because investing can become addictive. So can spending.

Let’s say, for instance, that you have a few thousand dollars in your savings account and few other assets. You wouldn’t want to make a big purchase and throw your safety net out the window. Create a financial planning rule that says you can only spend X dollars on any given purchase, or in any given week, until your financial situation changes.

When it comes to investing, you might create a rule that requires you to step away from the computer when you start trading or investing based on emotion. If you’re too invested — pardon the pun — in a stock, you know you’re trading on emotion instead of logic.

4. Know That Sentiment Drives the Stock Market

If you don’t understand sentiment, you can’t trade effectively. There’s no place for logic in the stock market when it comes to predicting the future behavior of a given security. You might trade based on logic, but the stock market doesn’t operate that way.

When sentiment changes toward a specific security, expect price movement. Negative sentiment drives prices down and positive sentiment drives them up.

Sentiment isn’t always technical or fundamental. It might relate to a company’s treatment of employees or to its attitudes toward corporate social responsibility. Paying attention to these catalysts allows you to accurately predict stock market sentiment and protect your financial planning strategy.

5. Contribute to Your 401(k)

Some people say that 401(k)s are worthless. This is far from true. If you’re actively contributing to your retirement account, you’re investing in your future. That’s a good thing from a financial planning perspective.

If you have a 401(k) through your employer, contribute the maximum match. That way, you’re constantly growing your net worth without ever seeing the money you’re contributing.

6. Take a Few Risks Outside Your Comfort Zone

I mentioned financial planning rules above, but this doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally take a risk. You shouldn’t bet your entire net worth on it, but try moving outside your comfort zone every once in a while.

My publications can help. Once you get comfortable with following money management tips and trading advice, you can gradually take a few greater risks. When you reap the rewards, you’ll feel more motivated to invest actively.

7. Constantly Look for Opportunities

The best investors actively look for opportunities to profit. They’re always paying attention to the latest news, fundamentals, and technicals so they can snatch profits when other people aren’t paying attention.

If you don’t have the necessary time or resources to do this yourself, following financial management tips can help. Subscribe to my publications so you can get the most pertinent information delivered right to your inbox.

8. Make Financial Planning a Habit

It’s a myth that financial planning is something you do once, then forget about it. Constantly review your accounts, goals, and other financial information to determine whether you need to make changes.

It should become a habit. Revisit it with your spouse or other family members, and make a point to consider your overall financial goals before you make a decision.

9. Pay Attention to Good Money Management Tips

There are lots of money management tips floating around out there. Some are wonderful — others, less so. Find a reliable source of tips to help you navigate financial planning and related pursuits so you don’t miss out on opportunities to grow your wealth.

10. Avoid Debt Like the Plague

I know people who take on debt consistently. They figure they build a better position to profit later if they’re able to finance whatever they want to buy.

Don’t fall into this trap if you want your financial planning to prove successful. There’s nothing wrong with buying a house and carrying a mortgage if it fits with your overall financial plan, but don’t depend on debt as a crutch.

For instance, you might have credit cards, but don’t rack up balances. Pay them off and take your points, miles, or whatever rewards the cards offer you. Debt can quickly sink your financial plan and reduce your overall net worth.

11. Reallocate Investments When Necessary

Sometimes, you need to reallocate your investments to diversify your portfolio and to bail out of a potential loss. Don’t hesitate. There’s nothing wrong with calling your broker or accessing your account and changing your investment strategy if it will result in more profits down the line.

12. Consider Your Estate Plan

Have you thought about preparing for your family’s financial survival? If not, it’s time to create an estate plan. You get to decide what happens to your assets when you leave this world, so don’t leave it to chance.

Creating a formal estate plan with trusts is the most efficient method. You can avoid putting your loved ones through the probate process and ensure your wishes are carried out.

13. Stop Living Paycheck-to-Paycheck

If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, now is the time to quit. It’s an unsustainable strategy that will put you in financial jeopardy if you need to cover an unexpected expense. Plus, it gives you no room to grow your net worth through smart investment choices.

Financial planning means assessing what you have and looking for ways to make it grow. That might mean getting a better job (or taking on a second job), opening a savings account, starting an IRA, or opening an investment account. Cut back on spending for a few months while you decide what your goals are and how to achieve them.

14. Save Before You Invest

Building on the last point, make savings the priority at first. You want a safety net for unexpected expenses, and saving money builds good financial planning practices that you’ll continue to use far into the future.

15. Manage Your Insurance

It’s possible to have either too much insurance or too little. Over-insuring your house, your car, or even your life can waste money and leave you with less cash for growing your wealth. Re-evaluate your insurance policies at least once per year.

Conclusion

Financial planning might not seem like the most fun way to spend your time, but it’s essential if you want to enjoy true wealth. From saving money to trading in the stock market, you need to understand how finance works.

If you’re interested in more money management tips and better opportunities to grow your wealth, subscribe to Money Map Report. 

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