Why you need a financial plan If you have financial goals, you need a financial plan. Here's how to make one. March 24, 2016 Studies have shown that financial planning plays a key role in achieving major life goals. Why wait any longer? Start assessing your current situation, setting goals, and thinking about how the right Discover savings account could help you focus more closely on your financial future today. The Best Laid Plans Before you can start planning, you need a clear picture of where you stand today. Tracking your income and expenses on a regular basis and assessing your net worth — total assets minus total debts — helps you see how much money you can commit to individual financial goals. Your First Home Home ownership is at the heart of the American dream. The biggest obstacle facing homebuyers is funding a down payment -now often at least 20% of a home’s purchase price. The good news is there are many down-payment options for first-time buyers. Check with banks in your area to see what special programs may be available to you. Earn guaranteed returns with a fixed-rate CD Learn more Discover Bank, Member FDIC If you intend to buy a house within five years, a good way to save for a down payment may be through short-term investments, such as those available through a Discover Money Market Account or Certificate of Deposit (CD) to help pay for your first home. Your Child’s Education Ideally you should start saving for your child’s education as soon as — or even before — he or she is born. Tuition and fees at four-year colleges continue to rise between 4% and 6% annually — more than twice the current rate of inflation. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to consider investing your education dollars in stocks or stock mutual funds. While stocks can be riskier than other investments over short time periods, over the long-term they have historically produced the highest returns. There are many other education savings options, and some, such as state-sponsored 529 college savings plans and the Coverdell Education Savings Account, offer tax advantages as well. Your Retirement Planning for a secure retirement is probably your most important long-term financial goal. Experts estimate that, in many cases, you will need at least 70% to 80% of your final working year’s salary for each year you spend in retirement. That’s why it’s important to start saving for retirement early in life and keep saving as much as you can throughout your working years. Opening a Discover IRA CD is one of the easiest — and most effective — ways to save for this important goal. Get the Help You Need Knowing the right financial moves to make and when to make them is a complicated job that most of us don’t have the resources to handle alone. Consider consulting a qualified financial professional who can help you keep your financial plan on track with your ever-changing needs. And be sure to familiarize yourself with all the different ways that Discover’s savings accounts can be at the center of your strategy. Their great rates and convenient account management options may be just what you’re looking for. Discover Regardless of your time horizon, risk tolerance, or savings goal, you can always find the right savings vehicle for your needs at Discover. Discover offers an Online Savings Account to help you with your short-term savings goals, a full range of CDs and IRA CDs with terms from 3 months to 10 years as well Money Market Accounts that may be ideal for rounding out your overall savings strategy. Open a Discover account online or call our 24-hour U.S-based Customer Service at 1-800-347-7000. The article and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.