Henry David Thoreau once said: “In the long run, we only hit what we aim at,” and nothing could be more true of financial planning. Whatever your goals in life — whether you want to climb Mt. Everest, retire at 60, start your own business or write a novel — you are unlikely to reach them if you don’t consider your finances. Ensuring that you have enough money available will put you in the best position to realize your dreams.

“The most important thing about setting financial goals is having them in the first place,” columnist Ron Lieber tells PBS News. “You don’t want to do things randomly without thinking about them first. That’s how we get into trouble.”

You may decide to draft and execute your plan on your own or perhaps you will hire a financial planner to help you. Regardless, here are some key points that any plan should take into account:

  • Debt: If you have any debt — whether from credit cards, student loans, a mortgage or all of the above — you should have a detailed plan for paying it off as soon as possible with a minimum of interest.
  • Life insurance: When drafting a financial plan, expect the best and prepare for the unexpected. Life insurance will let you rest easy, knowing that your dependents will be cared for even in the event of your death.
  • Retirement: Whether you are 22 or 62, if you are working then you should be working to save money for retirement. Remember: Hope is not a plan.
  • Will: Work with a reputable lawyer about setting up your will and any trusts.

If you are currently looking for new life insurance online, get a quote from Local Life Agents today!