I have a 2000 Toyota Tacoma.  It may be the best thing since sliced bread (unless you ask my wife, who I have a feeling rolls her eyes behind my back as I exhaustively list the virtues of the truck).  The top coat is fading or completely missing in some spots — evidence of days, weeks, and months spent outside in the squadron parking lot waiting to be driven home after a deployment or temporary duty.  I’ll admit that it’s getting somewhat embarrassing; I was told that I must be a “value investor” by another advisor after he glanced at my truck as we walked out of a meeting together.

But I take care of the stuff that matters.  I’m not a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a Haynes manual and a rhythm of routine care.  I wouldn’t say that it’s fun; however, there is a certain element of proud ownership that’s at play when I finish scraping my knuckles.

That’s how we think you should start with your do-it-yourself financial plan.  The first few months may be challenging — like those first few oil changes until you figure out how to get your hand to the filter without removing the skid plate — but then you get into a rhythm of quick, periodic care.  Do we expect you to be an experienced mechanic — a financial advisor — in maintaining your financial plan?  Absolutely not.  You may find times where you need professional assistance.  In the meantime, however, you can develop your own method for keeping the plan on track and running smoothly.

We’ve created a simple one-page template that you can use and modify to your liking.  There are checklist-like elements to it, but they’re designed to make you think and perhaps encourage you to do a little more research (like whether or not you need to change your life insurance, for example).  You can download the one-page example here:

Example DIY Financial Plan “One Pager”

We also talk about how to use the “one pager” in this short video.  At the end of this installment, we hope you’ve thought through your values-driven goals, placed a monetary value to them, built a simple 50/30/20 budget to get your savings on the right track, and put pencil to paper (fingers to keyboard?) with a simple “one pager” of your own.


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