You don’t need to have thousands of dollars in a savings account to consider DIY financial planning. Although it would make great financial sense to put your money into a high interest savings account or term deposit to grow your savings. Setting yourself up with a basic financial plan could put you on the path to future success a lot sooner than you realise and it will provide you with great confidence in your financial future. Here are 6 tips to help you map out a financial plan that best suit your needs. What is your current financial state? A net worth statement provides you with a summary of your finances. You can work out your net worth by calculating your assets and then subtracting your debts. You need to make a list of all your assets. Include things such as investment accounts, real estate and any personal property that is of significant value. After you have done that, list all your debts. Include all credit cards, mortgage, student loans, personal loans etc. The InfoChoice Budget Planner is a great tool to help you calculate these numbers. List your goals You need to establish exactly what it is that you want your money to accomplish. Do you have any short term needs? What are your long term savings for? And what about the years in between? Identify what is most important to you and your family. Be as specific as possible. Make sure to prioritise your goals. Once you have these items in a prioritised list, you will find it easier to be motivated about your savings strategy. Analyse your cash flow Simply put, this is how much income you receive and how much your expenditure is. What is your monthly take home income? Now list all your monthly bills and expenses. Don’t forget to add your food, mortgage or rent, mobile bill, insurances, petrol, outings. How often do your expenses exceed your income? How much are you saving? Is there any extra money left over that could go towards a savings plan? Planning your budget Once you have analysed your cash flow, you will have a better snapshot of where you sit financially on a month to month basis. Write down all essential expenses such as mortgage, insurance, food, transportation, utilities and loan payments. It’s also important to remember there are quarterly bills that arrive. Don’t forget to add these to your budget. Things such as rates, electricity, gas and water. There’s also those big payments we tend to forget about such as vehicle and home repairs and maintenance. Once you have analysed your essential expenses, think about your nonessential expenses? Restaurants, entertainment and clothes to name a few. Does your monthly income cover all of this without having to rely on your credit card? Do you put any money into a savings or emergency account? Examining all of these will help you put together a budget that not only suits your needs, but will give you that push to start up or top up that emergency fund that you will inevitably need one day. Pay off any debt In order to get a good start on financial freedom you need to get rid of as much debt as you can as quickly as possible. This can be done in a number of ways. You can budget to double up on payments or even transfer your credit card debt to a 0% credit card. InfoChoice compares over 71 balance transfer credit cards for you to choose from. Retirement savings Without a doubt, your financial plan must include retirement savings. Starting early is the key to keeping your contributions lower. If you begin saving early, you will find that even a small amount over time can make a big difference. You will be surprised just how much you will need in that account when it comes time to retire. This update is not financial advice. This article is general news and information. Home Loans: The comparison rates are based on a secured loan amount of $150,000 and a term of 25 years. Personal Loans: The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless otherwise indicated in the product name with^, in which case, the comparison rate is based on a loan of $10,000 and a term of 3 years. The comparison rates are for unsecured personal loans only for the relevant amounts and terms. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products. The products compared in this article are chosen from a range of offers available to us and are not representative of all the products available in the market and influenced by a range of factors including interest rates, product costs and commercial and sponsorship arrangements InfoChoice compares financial products from 145 banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in Australia. InfoChoice does not compare every product in the market. Some institutions may have a commercial partnership with InfoChoice. Rates are provided by partners and taken from financial institutions websites. We believe all information to be accurate on the date published. InfoChoice strives to update and keep information as accurate as possible. The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. Do not interpret the listing order as an endorsement or recommendation from us. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.