Creating a financial plan with eFinPlan
Ever get up one morning and decide you just want to take off somewhere?
“Honey! Kids! Come on, we’re going somewhere!”, John yelled as he looked for his keys finally finding them on the small table by the door. “Where are we going?” his wife and kids all yelled back unanimously. John was ready to go, “Just come on lets get going.”
A few minutes later, all four were in the car and backing out the driveway. “Dad, where are we going?” John looked into the rear view mirror and saw Becky, his 13 year old daughter looking at him anxiously. John put the car in drive and headed down the main street of their neighborhood. “I don’t know Beck, somewhere. We’ll figure it out.” Brent seemed to suddenly become interested as well. “How long will we be gone this time Dad? I have a game later this afternoon.” “Probably a few days, maybe a week tops. We’ll see. I can’t wait until we get wherever we’re going!” ”Dad, the last time we did this I missed 3 games!” “Who cares about your stupid games Brent, I didn’t pack. No makeup, no hair brush, no clothes. I hate it when you do this Dad!” Becky curled up in a ball and starred out the window. Brent just continued to stare in disbelief, and Mom. Well Mom just kept quiet. She had been down this path many many times before.
Sound familiar? Probably not. Why not? Well, because most people that I know do a little more planning before they just get in the car and go somewhere. Some more than others of course, but seriously how often have you gotten into your car, heading down the road with no clue on where you driving to? I’d suspect seldom if ever.
Funny though, millions of people do this everyday with their finances. They get paid, they buy things, they save a little, but have literally no clue where they are headed. They want to be wealthy of course, and they hope they will be one day, but that’s the extent of it. It’s the financial equivalent of getting in your car and saying: I’m going on vacation to Disney World and I am just going to drive around hoping I get there one day.
Creating a financial plan
Creating a financial plan might just be one of the most important steps you can take to get yourself heading in the right direction financially. After all, most people do some level of planning for everything else in their lives. Most people do not have a financial plan though. Why? Well, I haven’t done any detailed research, but I would suspect it’s for two primary reasons: 1) They don’t want to the spend the money for a financial planner 2) They don’t know how to create one themselves.
Creating a financial plan with eFinPlan
Enter eFinPlan. eFinPlan is online financial planning software that helps you create a financial plan. Creating one with eFinPlan is simple, straight forward and generally takes less than an hour. The eFinPlan website walks you step-by-step through 10 screens designed to gain more information about you and your personal finances. They are:
- About you – Obtains basic information about you, your family members, income and tax bracket
- Investment values/assets/liabilities – This is where you provide information about your retirement and non-retirement investments. Any assets such as homes, autos, businesses and liabilities such as your mortgage, credit card debt, etc.
- Retirement benefits – When do you expect to retire? What are your pension benefits? These are the answers you’ll provide on the Retirement benefits page.
- Spending and money habits – This is the step that may take you longest. If you have a budget in place, it will be quick, if not it will take some time. This steps looks at your living expenses and plans for future expenses. It also asks though questions like do you budget, do you pay your bills on time, do you purchase under peer pressure. Be honest here and not fudge the data, it won’t benefit you.
- Investment preferences – This page is used by eFinPlan to gauge your investment experience and the to learn more about the types of investments you prefer.
- Your insurance – Grab your various insurance policies. This page asks you to enter all the information about the various insurance you have (or don’t have). It also asks a few questions.
- Children’s eduction – This was the most painful one for me! Just looking at the cost for college for 6-kids. Whoa. I knew the numbers already, but it’s still shocks me.
- Your legacy – Better known as Estate Planning this page asks you questions about how you’ve prepared for after you die.
- Your advisers – Who is helping guide you along your financial path?
- Assumptions – All plans have some base level of assumptions they are based on. A financial plan is no different: inflation rate, income needs, etc. eFinPlan fills the data in for you, but you’ll be asked to review it and change it. Be realistic!
The eFinPlan Report
Now that you’ve entered all of the data, it’s time for you plan. eFinPlan generated out a 60+ page report for me, . The report is extremely comprehensive. The plan provides detailed reports, charts and analysis of the data you entered along with specific action items for you to take in order to achieve your goals and get yourself on track.
The report is really impressive and highly insightful. Reading through mine really gave some perspective on where I am, and where I really need to be. I’ll be taking some actions this week to put some things in place and to make some adjustments to things I have in place but aren’t set-up correctly.
eFinPlan cost and final thoughts
The cost for eFinPlan is $98/year. I hear some of you now going what? $98/year?? First off, that’s only $8/month. The cost of 1 lunch out. If you’ve ever considered or looked into financial planning it’s expensive. $98/year is nothing compared to the normal cost of a professional adviser. Through my employer, we have access to free financial planning software, but eFinPlan is a much more comprehensive solution. I’d be willing to pay a couple hundred for the report it provided, excluding the fact that with eFinPlan you can keep your report updated and make changes as your life changes.
To create your financial plan and report, click here and follow the instructions. Enter the coupon code: glbl10 to get a 10% discount!. It’s really that easy.
This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.
Photo by: bk86a