1, 2, 3 Financial Plan, Who Needs a Planner?

Bill and Mary are do-it-yourselfers and always have been. They don't spend a dollar if they don't have to. Bill probably got this from his dad who, admittedly, died asset-rich but "experience poor," says Bill. Bill and Mary want to travel the world!

So, when we sit down together, we go through a 1,2,3 financial plan. It's rough, but it gets the job done. Where you need the planner, like any of our experienced experts here, is for everything that doesn't fit into a neat little grid below.

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Would you like to ballpark how much money you might need for retirement? Here are the steps:

1. Write down your monthly income need at the year of retirement. Write down how many years you have until you retire.

2. Account for inflation: If you don't know the number, use 4%. If you don't have a fancy calculator, Google "Future value calculator".

3. Capitalize it (this is a big number. . . and may be scary). Take your future income and multiply by 12 and then divide that number by .04.
Congratulations, that is the lump sum number you need. Now, let's go back down to how you're going to get there in three easy steps.

4. Subtract the amount you have already saved from the big number in step three. This is your shortfall. Ask yourself, how much can I commit to saving every month? Write it down.

5. How many months until retirement? Write it down.

6. Calculate the required rate of return. If you don't have a fancy calculator, Google "rate of return calculator with monthly payments."

You may find that you need a financial planner to help you reach that goal!

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