Strategic Planning & Budgeting

two smiling women collaborating in front of a whiteboardDuring the process of strategic planning, budgeting for the long-term should be a major consideration. Trying to plan for long-term expenses often proves difficult for many people. Here are the basics of how to budget for long-term success.

Determine Goals

The first thing that you will need to do to plan is to decide exactly what you want to accomplish. If you have no idea where you are going, then you will have no idea when you get there. Financial planning is all about setting and achieving small goals. Therefore, it is critical to sit down and decide exactly what types of financial goals you would like to accomplish. Break it down into segments. For example, you need to decide how much money you want to have one year from now.

Decide how much money you would like to have five years from now. Then do 10 years and so on. Decide how much money you would like to have in an emergency fund by a certain date. The more specific that you can get, the better chance you have of attaining your goals. Write them down and look at them often to keep yourself on track.

Come up with a Plan

Once you have set some realistic goals for yourself, you need to come up with a plan to make them happen. Just because you say the one $1 million 10 years from now does not mean that it will happen. You must do something about it. Determine what actions you need to take to reach your financial goals. Break it down into months and days if you want. Looking at it in smaller increments will help you see what you need to do on a daily or weekly basis to make the amount of money that you want.

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Cost Analysis

When trying to budget for the long-term, you need to look at all the different expenses that you have. Go over them with a fine-toothed comb and determine if you are being wasteful in your spending. If you see anything that can be eliminated go ahead and do so. Weigh each expense against the importance of your final goal. If the expense can be done without and is not more important than your goal, then eliminate it.

You also need to determine if there are any bigger moves need to make now. For example, if you have a large car payment, it may be to your advantage to get a less expensive car and save the difference between the two payments. Work out the total amount of money that you could save by switching to a less expensive car and determine if it is worth the change. There are many ways that you can evaluate your financial situation and see if changes need to be made to meet your financial goals for the long-term. While the decisions might be tough, they are decisions that need to be made.

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