Top 5 Financial Planning Strategies for 2024

Entering a new year refreshes motivation for new goals. One area deserving of this renewed focus is your financial planning. Here are the top five financial planning strategies to help you achieve your financial wellness goals year after year.

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1. Start Financial Planning With A Monthly Budget You Will Stick To.

Creating a well-thought-out budget and sticking to it is the cornerstone of any sound financial plan. Here’s how to start:

Calculate Income

  • Estimate your monthly income, accounting for things such as raises and bonuses.

Estimate Expenses

  • Review your average monthly expenses from last year and determine your fixed monthly expenses. These are your mortgage or rent, utility bills, car payments, childcare costs, student loans, retirement contributions, etc.
  • Look at your variable expenses, such as travel, eating out, groceries, gifts, etc. Then, account for any big-ticket expenses anticipated for the year ahead.

Your Monthly Income – Monthly Expenses = Monthly Savings

  • Do the math. If your estimated savings are shy of your goals, revisit your expenses and start cutting back to help reach your financial goals. A great place to start is setting rules around things like eating out, subscriptions and travel.

2. Set It & Forget It: Move Your Money Automatically.

Once you’ve set your monthly savings goal, make it untouchable. It’s as simple as setting up automated transactions on payday. You won’t be as tempted to use that money when you directly transfer that portion of your income into savings or retirement accounts. We always recommend automating your monthly bills for timely payment, too—some companies even provide a discount to autopay customers.

3. Understand Your Tax Situation Like The Back Of Your Hand.

Use tax filing time to understand your income and see if you can improve your tax situation. Always review your W-4 withholdings to ensure you’re not overpaying or underpaying taxes. Throughout the year, keep track of all your tax-deductible contributions and expenses (retirement, childcare, etc.) because they can significantly reduce your taxable income. Lastly, educate yourself on any recent changes in tax laws, or consult with a tax professional.

4. Protect Your People & Finances With Insurance.

Prioritize adequate insurance and benefits coverage to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your assets. Make appointments with an HR representative at your company, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, a tax professional, your insurance agent, and others who may be in your corner. They will ask the right questions to ensure you’re proactively managing your risk and that your coverage aligns with your current needs.

5. Continuously Educate Yourself On Financial Planning & Seek Professional Guidance.

Navigate the complexities of financial planning by staying informed and seeking advice. Stay updated on tax laws, retirement strategies, investments, and risk management. Consult certified financial planners, tax advisors, and estate planning attorneys for tailored strategies. Remaining informed lets you adapt to changes and optimize your financial future.

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Hess Financial Provides Financial Planning Strategies In Harrisonburg.

Adopting a proactive and strategic approach to financial planning allows you to navigate uncertainties and build a resilient financial foundation for the years ahead. Hess’s experienced CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals are here to assist you in financial planning goals that work for you. Contact us today to start your journey.