Planning for the future

Saturday, December 19, 2009 | by Newlywed | Labels: , , |

I know this blog focuses a lot on the steps and planning of a wedding day, but really, all of that doesn't really matter if you don't have the days and years after the wedding day all figured out. OK, no one has anything all figured out, but it would be foolish not to even give it a thought.

Today, we made some serious steps toward financial planning as husband and wife, meeting with fiancial consultants to discuss options for our future. Granted, it was just a consultation, but we are seriously considering hiring professionals to give us some realistic financial goals to shoot for.

I had been both anticipating and dreading this talk. Anticipating because, well our future is much too important not to have a structured plan. My fiance and I are both ambitious people and we know the importance of planning and goal-setting. But I've also kind of dreaded this discussion -- especially with strangers-- cuz, well, my income has dwindled down to zero, or pretty much close to that in recent months. Recession sucks. Who wants to listen to how bleak your financial future is based on your bleak present status?

But the two consultants we met with today were a good balance between realistic and encouraging. They looked at our assests and our income, our goals and told us what we needed to do to get there. It was also a helpful overview of stocks, bonds and savings strategies. So, no, it wasn't the dismal, guilt-ridden, ego-crushing lecture to send me further into financial depression as expected, but rather a positive reality check to make us feel confident and take charge of our future with both ambitious and realistic goals. Our choice to set our wedding budget to $15,000 was made because we'd rather make sure we have funds left over to build on life after the wedding. You know, for marriage.

What were some of the tips we got out of our first session? Well, it starts by laying out some basic steps (Remember, these are questions you should ask between your fiance and yourself, as you make decisions together):

1. Set goals: Where do we want to be? Career-wise? Fiancially? Do you want to be fiancially independent? Do you want to buy a house? When? Do you want to set aside a fund for regular travel?

2. Look at your current fiancial status:  This can be ultra-sensitive area, because it hits you where you might be hurting. How much income are you both taking in? Do you have any assests? Retirement fund? Savings fund? Do you have any debt, credit cards, college loans, etc.

3. Develop strategies to get to your goals: How do you go from point A (which might be at the bottom of the gutter) to point B (the light at the end of the tunnel)? This might require some help as not everyone (including myself) are savvy about their fiancial options. IRA? Stocks? Bonds? Taxes? Huh? It definitely helps to do your research or get some helpful advice to navigate through all of this. Also, goals always change as life will always change. Always reassessing goals is key.

I encourage everyone to seek out fiancial planning assistance -- whether you hire someone or seek advice from someone you know. Sure, you want a nice wedding, but it all won't matter if you don't put that same energy, focus and planning into your future and well-being.

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