We all love to be forward-thinking—we plan our four-year academic track our freshman year in college, we plan what internships and jobs we want to secure a year in advance, and we ask others about their career path and dream job. Have we actually given sufficient thought to our own future? Have you thought about what will happen to your family after you pass away? Even when we are in college or find ourselves somewhere after post-graduation, it is important to think about what will happen to yourself and your beloved ones in the future, even if you have a lot of student loans. It is tough to predict the future, so we must ask ourselves the hard questions and start to plan ahead.
Some tips to help start or help facilitate your planning
Make lists: Lists can help you sort out your future planning
Make deadlines: Set deadlines for yourself, use Google calendar
Make Excel sheets: Use Excel to keep track of your spending, savings, and investments
Set reminders: Have goals for yourself of what you need to complete
Save money for your retirement once you start a career! Once you are at the end of your career, you want to support yourself through your retirement fund. What type of retirement fund do you want to open? An IRA? A Roth IRA? Read more here! Most employers give you the option of starting a 401K that puts aside a percentage of each of your paychecks towards your retirement. Saving for retirement can be tricky.
So, how much in your retirement savings is enough? The general rule is to save 25 times the salary that you are making. It may sound like a large amount but if you consistently put aside 10-20 percent for pre-tax income, then this is attainable. More specifically, in your 20s, you should think about setting aside 10 percent and incrementally increase your savings after every decade. Calculate your savings here.
Put aside money from your paycheck or make sure to deposit a few hundred or so each month. For my work-study jobs in college, I usually transfer some of my paycheck to my savings account. My account is only for emergencies.
When you purchase assets, bonds, or real estate, you are investing your money. There are many ways to invest but you should consider risk-levels. Some investment options are generally riskier than others, like real estate. When looking at investment options, there are halal options available, meaning that it is in accordance with Islamic principles.
It is ALWAYS best to start early. Sorry to sound morbid, but we never know when our deaths are prescribed. This is why you should start to at least think about writing your will. Generally, you should work with an attorney or tax advisor in order to minimize future costs with court fees and taxes. Attorneys are expensive in some cases, so you could also consider writing your own. The laws vary by state, so make sure to read your state’s laws before writing one. However, it is strongly suggested to get an attorney if possible. Read more about wills here.
Letter of last instructions
When I told my mom and uncle that I started my letter of last instructions, they thought I was crazy. However, it really is important to put together. It is more of an informal letter that includes burial instructions, people to contact, account information for family members, and other information to know after your death. Here is a template and here is more information.
Designate a trustee
A trustee is someone designated to manage your assets. They can be a company or an individual.
Power of Attorney
The designated individual will make decisions on your behalf in a situation when you cannot such as being incapacitated. A durable power of attorney will continue to make decisions after your death.
Good luck with planning! It is certainly best to start thinking about this sooner than later. The internet has ample information on these topics, so make sure you browse the web, ask others, or use resources on campus for input!
*Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, so everything mentioned should only be taken as advice