After acquiring my first job as a teacher, I knew that I needed to start seriously thinking about my finances. I had previously established credit and consciously saved throughout college, but now I was encountering a new stage in my life. I needed to reevaluate my financial plan and put money towards a 403b plan.
I was overwhelmed by all of the options that my school offered and I needed guidance to help me determine the most appropriate plan for me. I also wanted to learn how to plan for the next big purchases in my life, such as financing a house.
I decided to attend a seminar on the Life Cycle of Financial Planning presented by a Certified Financial Planner. At this seminar, I was exposed to all different aspects of financial planning from estate planning and long term care insurance to financing a new car. However, there were three key ideas that I took away from the seminar that I plan to use throughout the next stages of my life:
- Save and start to save early: Always continue to put money towards your savings as you never know when you may need the money. Accidents and emergencies do happen and it is critical to have at least 6 months worth of cash to use in case something should happen to you.
- Set goals and continue to reevaluate them: When planning for big purchases you need to set financial goals for yourself so that you know how long it will take to purchase the item without acquiring any debt. It is important to reevaluate your financial goals each year to make sure that they are still aligned with your own needs.
- Educate yourself: Attend financial seminars, fully explore all of your opportunities and seek guidance from professionals who can look at your financial plan and determine which options are best for you. When you are aware of your choices, you can choose the best plan that will enable you to have a stable and happy financial future.
Before the seminar, I spent many nights worried about my future and the difficulty I might have with financing the purchases I would want to make. Let’s face it, not many teachers go into the profession for the money!
After attending the seminar, I started to work with professionals who helped me choose the right 403b plan for me and I started to set my financial goals. I now rely on those key principals I learned at the seminar when making financial decisions in my life.
I began to get an idea of how I can maintain the lifestyle I lead and comfortably afford some big purchases as well. I can now rest assured that when I retire, I will be able to pay for my expenses, help my future children with their goals and even have a little money left over for yearly vacations.