The short answer: probably not.
If you think you don’t need a financial plan because you’re too young or not far enough along in your career, you’re missing an opportunity to take control of your finances and get on the path to financial and emotional well-being.
So, how will I know I’m ready?
Even if you’re just finishing school and starting your first “real” job, it’s an ideal time to start planning.
Time is on your side—you’ve got lots of it ahead of you,
Vancouver-based Certified Financial Planner® professional Alim Dhanji says that once you start earning some income, you’re probably ready to sit down with a financial planner to set some goals and get your plan started.
How should I get started?
Alim offers some tips to get your planning off to a good start, regardless of your situation:
Putting things off can lead to continued procrastination—sometimes stretching to months or even years. Start the financial planning process now and you’ll be rewarded with a clearer picture of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. Then taking the next steps will come much more naturally.
Be aware of what you’re earning, spending and saving. Be especially conscious of accumulating debt, which can weigh you down for years to come.
Go for your goals
Set life goals for the next several years as well as far into the future. Consider the various aspects of your life and both needs and wants—you might aim to pay off your student loans, plan for a dream vacation, and (as far off as that may sound now) get a jump on your retirement planning.
Develop good habits
By starting young and getting expert advice, you’re cultivating valuable financial behaviours that can last a lifetime. Make them stick by committing to change and focusing on why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Plan for the fun stuff—and the not so fun
Life has its ups and downs. Be sure you target your dreams, like a car or house, along with preparing for Plan B with contingencies like an emergency fund and disability insurance.
Stay the course, but be flexible
Even when you feel overwhelmed by the different areas of your financial life, stay focused on your goals and the plan you’ve developed with your financial planner. When your lifestyle evolves or you hit major milestones, it’s probably a good time to check in with your planner to ensure your plan reflects your changing reality.
Congratulate and reward yourself when you achieve a milestone goal, like paying off your student loan.
Is it ever too late?
“At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong time to meet with a trusted financial planner,” Alim says. “No matter when you start, you’re better off creating a plan that will help shape your financial future, rather than leaving it to chance.”
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