I recently attended a young professionals networking event with a professional development presentation on money management. This was a great presentation (as a money nerd, and someone who makes a living writing about it, I was riveted), and it brought up an important consideration:

How much time do you make for your financial plan?

The presenter, Eric Hess, pointed out that most people spend more time researching their next TV purchase than they do planning their finances. When you think about this, it suddenly doesn’t seem so odd that many of us have a hard time managing our money.

It’s never a bad time to step back and think about what you want from life and what you will do with your money to get there. Here’s what you should do.

Break It Down

As with all things in life, everything seems more manageable when you break it down. You don’t have to sit down and create your holistic financial plan in one go. Instead, break it down into tasks. Start out by deciding what you want your life to look like. Take half an hour to create a life map, jot down a few ideas, or just decide how you want to handle retirement. On another day, you can take another 30 minutes to figure out where you stand. What are your expenses? Where do you get your income?

You can track your expenses fairly easily with the help of any number of personal finance apps. YNAB, Quicken, Empower, and others can provide you with a way to see exactly where your money is going. Take the time to set up the…

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