Investment Planning — Five basic stages
Gather current information to determine your financial picture. Assess your ability to meet financial objectives.
· Statement of assets and liabilities
· Previous three years’ tax returns
· Projected monthly money flow (income and expenses)
· Recent payroll stubs
· Recent employee benefit statements and booklets
· Copies of wills, trust or estate-planning documents
· Insurance policies
Do you have excess money flow? Or are you projecting a shortfall? What are your individual income sources? Review education or retirement expenses to determine if future adjustments are needed.
Develop a budget to meet long-term, high-priority goals such as retirement, a child's education or investing. Consider tax deferral and payroll reduction.
Choose specific investment options to match your risk tolerance. Select a suitable portfolio based on asset categories and classes.
Monitor your plan annually. Have your goals changed? Are you meeting them? Document each review and performance for key financial areas.
An investment planning process is the first step toward financial independence. Remember, the sooner you start, the sooner you can reach your goals.