How to Make a Financial Plan in Just 4 Steps

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Money: Master the Game" by Tony Robbins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

Like this article? Sign up for a free trial here .

Are you wondering how to make a financial plan? Are you looking for an easy way to save money?

Luckily, Tony Robbins has answers for you in Money: Master the Game. In just four steps, you can master the art of finances and develop a rich lifestyle.

Keep reading to learn how to make a financial plan by keeping a positive attitude and investing wisely.

Making a Financial Plan

Robbins explains that most people end up without enough money because they don’t know how to make a financial plan. Afraid to look at their finances, they simply hope that things will work out and tell themselves that financial skills are too far above them. 

However, this mentality leads to uncertain outcomes: If nobody steers the ship, there’s no telling where you might end up. To ensure a positive outcome, make a plan and follow through with three key commitments: Focus relentlessly, commit completely, and embrace serendipity.

Keep these three commitments in mind as you make your plan, which involves these four steps:

Step #1: Get Your Bearings 

The first step to making a financial plan is to figure out where you’re starting from. Take an honest look at your financial situation, however scary it may be. As Robbins explains, you can’t get physically fit without acknowledging your current health and measuring your progress—and the same is true of your financial health. (Shortform note: In contrast to Robbins, in The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday recommends starting immediately and adjusting as you go. If you struggle to take action, this can help you avoid getting bogged down in the planning stage and build momentum so that you’ll keep going. As you go, learn quickly from every mistake you make and adjust your strategy accordingly.)

Step #2: Set Your Destination 

You need to set a clear destination to get anywhere: Calculate how much you need to save and invest to obtain monthly returns that can support your desired lifestyle.

Robbins says that you can reach financial well-being with much less money than you think. He suggests five levels of financial well-being:

Level #1: Financial Safety—you can cover five of your basic needs—housing, food, utilities, transportation, and insurance—with your investment yields. In other words, you don’t have to work to pay for them. 

Level #2: Financial Robustness—You have enough additional investment income to cover half of your desired luxuries—such as gym membership, restaurant expenses, or nice-to-have software subscriptions—without having to work.

Level #3: Financial Sovereignty—You have enough investment income to cover Levels 1 and 2, as well as any other expenses that are part of your current lifestyle. Since you don’t have to rely on earned income, your life—your time—is now your domain, and you can work when and if you want to.

Level #4: Financial Autonomy—You’ve met the above goals and can also afford a few significant luxuries—such as a vacation house or long-term travel—without having to work for them.Level #5: Complete Financial Autonomy—You can do whatever you want, whenever you want—without having to work to afford it. Money is no longer a concern for you or your family, and you can live your life entirely on your own terms.

To move past this stage in your financial plan, Robbins recommends picking three goals from the above: An easy, medium, and hard goal. Achieving the easy goal will feel great, build momentum, and motivate you to reach for your medium and hard goals.

Step #3: Start Saving

Once you’ve figured out where you are and where you want to end up, it’s time to start saving in the third step of building your financial plan. Decide on a percentage—such as 10%, 15%, or 25%—of your monthly income to save, and “pay yourself” by setting that aside before paying any other bills or other expenses. If you don’t commit to saving a set amount, it’s all too easy to spend it without thinking. This is the principle with which you’ll start investing.

Robbins also recommends saving up an emergency fund before you start investing. To do this, aim to accumulate enough money to cover your basic expenses for at least six to 12 months.

You’ll reach your financial goals more quickly by saving more and spending less. The more you save to invest, the faster your investments can compound.

Additionally, avoid pitfalls that derail your progress. Robbins explains some unsavory players will take advantage of you to line their own pockets. In general, avoid getting sucked into the marketing hype that encourages you to buy into the newest, “hottest,” investments. These mainly profit the brokers, not the investors.

Step #4: Allocate Your Assets 

Your assets are your money-earning investments—stocks, bonds, and commodities. Allocation refers to how you divide your money among assets. In other words, to allocate your assets is to build a diverse portfolio of investments by splitting your money among different “buckets” or asset categories.

Robbins recommends using three “buckets” or overall divisions of your money in this step of building your financial plan. Decide how to divide your money in whole-number percentages (for example, 30%, 60%, and 10%), based on your own risk tolerance and age. 

Bucket #1: Conservative investments—this bucket is for investments that will grow slowly but steadily, with relatively little risk. This involves cash (it’s important to hold some cash in case you need funds rapidly), government bonds, pensions, annuities, and life insurance policies. Be patient and hold onto these for the long term—in time, they’ll provide exponentially compounding interest.

Bucket #2: Aggressive investments—this bucket is for investments that might yield massive gains but are also high-risk. These assets include corporate stocks—through mutual funds, index funds, and exchange-traded funds—as well as real estate, commodities (such as gold, oil, and wheat), and foreign currencies.

Bucket #3: Enjoyable investments—unlike the previous two buckets, this one is for setting aside a small amount of money with which to enjoy your life now. There’s no point in getting wealthy if you aren’t living a good life along the way. Pick a small percentage and use that money to do things you love—such as taking a tropical vacation, going to the movies, or getting a new laptop. Investing in your happiness will help you enjoy life and stay moving toward your financial goals.

How to Make a Financial Plan in Just 4 Steps

———End of Preview———

Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Tony Robbins's "Money: Master the Game" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Money: Master the Game summary :

  • Tony Robbins’s approach to changing your money mindset and financial strategy
  • Why money is not the end goal, but rather a tool
  • Why you should play the long game rather than trying to get rich quick

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.