A solid financial plan starts with protecting your assets. Such a basic first step is known as an estate plan, and it begins with a will. A will dictates how your assets will be dispersed after your death. An estate plan will probably include insurance protection and may feature trusts or other elements.
Once an estate plan is in place, a retirement plan is the next step. Having clear goals for retirement will help you know how much to save during your working years. Retirement plans should also address the need for long-term care if you or your loved one can no longer live independently.
The next step, a budget plan, ensures that you set aside enough money to meet your long-term goals without taking on too much debt.
College and other goals
The final step in a solid financial plan is nonretirement savings. You may want to set aside money for a child's college or establish a trust to benefit a charity, for instance.