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The Money Roadmap: Why You Need a
Financial Plan (Even in High School)

APEF: Solving the Financial Illiteracy Crisis

Soft skills refer to a set of personal attributes, behaviors, and social attitudes that enable individuals to interact effectively with others in a workplace or social environment. These skills are essential for building healthy relationships, communicating effectively, solving problems, and collaborating with others.

an expense that a you can subtract from adjusted gross income, reducing the amount of taxes owed

tax that is withheld from an employee's paycheck and paid by the employer to the government

an amount of money set aside as a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, usually recommended to be approximately 3-6 months worth of expenses

It can be intimidating to embark on the path towards financial independence, especially for students in high school. The secret to success is planning. A financial plan will not only help you achieve your goals, but it will also equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to navigate the personal finance world.  In this article, we'll explore the benefits of making a financial plan. For some fun, we'll also delve into different financial planning personality types to help you discover your unique approach.

Financial planning has many benefits; let’s take a look at a few:

Setting Goals & Achieving Them - Have you ever felt lost when it comes to money? What should it be used for, and where should it come from? A plan helps you set clear and achievable financial goals, like saving for that new phone or that epic future travel adventure. Defined objectives provide motivation and direction, whether you are saving for college or a car.

Mastering Your Budget - Financial planning allows you to create a budget that will help you manage your income and expenditures. This skill is essential to ensure that you are able to allocate your funds effectively, avoid unnecessary debt, and create a solid foundation for financial stability.

Enjoying Peace of Mind - Knowing you have a plan reduces stress about the future. Imagine facing college applications knowing you've saved up some cash or feeling confident about buying that car someday. Life is full of unexpected twists, and a financial plan helps you prepare for emergencies. Establishing an emergency fund protects you against unforeseen costs.

Investing with Purpose - Whether you're interested in the stock market or real estate, a financial plan guides your investment decisions. It helps you understand your risk tolerance, timing, and the best strategies for growing your wealth.

Managing Debt - A financial plan helps you tackle debt strategically. Whether it's student loans or credit card balances, understanding your debt and creating a repayment plan will help you remain in control of your future finances.

Learning by Doing - A financial plan can be an educational experience in and of itself. You will gain essential financial knowledge, from understanding interest rates to learning about the power of compounding interest.

But how do you actually make a financial plan? It's easier than you think! Here's a quick guide:

  1. Track your income and expenses. Where does your money come from (allowance, job, etc.)? Where does it go (food, fun, clothes, etc.)? Use a budgeting app or a simple notebook to keep track.

  2. Set some goals! What do you want your money to do for you? New phone? College fund? Vacation with friends? Pick something realistic and specific.

  3. Make a budget. This is your spending roadmap. Allocate your income to different categories (savings, fun, needs, etc.) and stick to it!

  4. Adjust as you go. Life happens, and plans change- don't be afraid to tweak your budget or goals if things don't go exactly as planned.


Your financial plan should be a living, changeable document and not a rulebook that is set in stone. The important thing is to start taking control of your money. Trust me, even small steps now can lead to big wins later- just know that not everyone is going to follow the same planning process. Would you believe me if I told you that your personality will affect how you manage your money? It’s true! Let’s take a look at some financial personality types and see which fits you best:

The Type-A:
Characteristics: Meticulous and detail-oriented.
Approach: You love creating intricate financial plans, considering every nuance. You thrive on the organization and structure that a comprehensive plan provides.
Tip: Don’t get thrown by change! It’s ok to be flexible and alter your plans.

The Serious Saver:
Characteristics: Always planning for a rainy day, possibly a worrier
Approach: You embrace savings apps, automated transfers, and budget challenges.
Tip: Reward yourself for reaching milestones! Remember that spending money is okay as long as you do it responsibly.


The Risk Taker:
Characteristics: Bold and risk-tolerant.
Approach: You prefer taking calculated risks in your financial planning. You might be drawn to more aggressive investment strategies and always seek new opportunities.
Tip: Research investment options with different risk levels and start small. Seek guidance from financial advisors if needed.


The Dreamer:
Characteristics: Visionary and goal-driven.
Approach: You are motivated by your long-term goals. Your financial plans are filled with aspirations, from homeownership to early retirement, and you stay focused on the bigger picture.
Tip: Big dreams are great; we should all have them! Just don’t lose sight of any immediate financial needs. 


The Super Spender:
Characteristics: YOLO, baby! Impulsive and focused on the short-term
Approach: Life's an adventure; you believe experiences are worth every penny. You enjoy treating yourself and sharing with others.
Tip: You never know when life will throw you a curveball. Make sure to save up for the unexpected.


The Minimalist:
Characteristics: Simple and pragmatic.
Approach: You believe in keeping things straightforward. Your financial plans are streamlined, emphasizing essential goals and avoiding unnecessary complexities.
Tip: Be careful not to oversimplify; you might miss variables that could significantly impact your plans.


Which type resonates most with you, or are you a combination of two or more? Identifying your financial personality type helps you create a plan that feels natural and sustainable. 

It's not only about the numbers when creating a financial plan- you also need to empower yourself with tools that will help you shape your financial destiny! The key to a successful financial plan is to tailor it to your specific goals; this will set you up for continued financial resilience and success throughout your life. Time to get planning!

Bonus Tip: Check out these resources for young money-masters:

Articles to link:




Emergency Fund

Behavioral Psych? 

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