Creating a financial plan may seem like a task for only the very wealthy. But anyone with goals for the future, such as buying a house or saving for a child’s education, will benefit from having a plan to help reach those objectives. Successful financial planning takes time, dedication, and, of course, goals. It involves developing a strategy to have funds available when you need them. This usually calls for investing in assets that are most likely to produce the amount you’ll need. Here are a few things to consider as you design your plan. Know Your Goals The first question to ask yourself is what you want your financial plan to accomplish. You may have several objectives with different investment time frames. Short-term goals are the things you’ll need money for over the next few years, like a new car, a down payment on a home, or funds to start a business. Mid-term goals include major expenses you anticipate over a slightly longer period — perhaps college tuition for your children, a second or a larger home, or travel. Long-term goals are those needs that are far in the future — retirement or saving an inheritance for your heirs. What You’ll Need When In the world of financial planning, timing is everything. How soon you’ll need the money is something you should think about when you choose investment vehicles. Short-term investments, such as money market funds, certificates of deposit, and Treasury bills, may be appropriate if you’ll need the money soon. Growth stocks, stock mutual funds, and bonds may be more suited to mid- and long-term goals. Tailor Investments to Your Needs The plan you and your financial advisor develop should provide the flexibility to meet goals you have currently and to adapt to future changes. A variety of investment types — including stocks, bonds, life insurance, and annuities — may all have a place in your plan. It’s important to periodically review your strategy and your progress and make any necessary adjustments.