11.2.2 Case study: How a financial plan looks

The form that a financial plan takes will vary, depending on your needs, the type of plan and the style of the person who prepares it. But most personal financial plans will include these parts:

The financial plan that follows is for a young family beginning to plan for the family's long-term goals. They use the same tools that you can use to plan for your own goals.

At any time, you can click the link above titled Build your financial plan to go directly to the blank financial plan tool where you can make out your own financial plan.


  • Parts of this plan are based on forms used in other modules, such as the Income, expenses and budget module. You'll find it most useful and easy if you have already reviewed the information in the other modules. If you filled out the forms in those modules, you can use the information to fill in this plan.
  • Be sure to keep this type of information secure to guard against identity theft.
Carnen and her family make a household financial plan.

It's helpful to have your personal data available and written out if you'll be talking to a financial professional about your plans.

This plan uses sample data for Carmen, who works as a marketing agent for a large company, and her partner Justin, who works as a plumber for a small local company. They have two children, aged 3 and 6. You'll see the details of their lives as you review the plan.

Step 2


Your net worth is the summary of what you own minus what you owe. Carmen's and Justin's assets include two pensions and a variety of investments, as well as shared ownership of a $300,000 home. They still owe $150,000 on their home mortgage, and have a few smaller debts.

step 2
Step 3


Carmen and Justin list their monthly income from all sources, and then subtract their paycheque deductions. They calculate their income separately, and then combine it to form one household income. They enter their total expenses as a household. The difference between their income and their expenses is their monthly surplus or shortfall.

Carmen and Justin have a surplus of $1,190 per month after the expenses in their budget.

Step 3
Step 4


You manage your finances in order to help you achieve important goals in your life. Here you can write down your short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and estimate the savings you will need to achieve them. For most people, the first financial goal should be to pay off expensive debts. Carmen and Justin have a few goals that they are focusing on, but the number of possible goals could be very large. Select the most important goals to enter here.

Step 4


Your first goal is usually to pay off expensive (high interest) debt. 

Step 5


Step 5 compares the income, expenses and the savings you need to reach your goals. If you have money left over, first use it to pay down any debt you can. Then you could add it to your savings for future needs, put more money toward your goals to accomplish them sooner, or add goals with lower priority.

Carmen and Justin have more money than they need for the goals they have identified, so they will pay off their debts, then add any extra money to their savings to invest for the future.

Step 5

If the difference is a positive number, you can add it to your savings.

If the difference is a negative number, you have a few options:

  • Cut back. Reduce your expenses and adjust Step 3.
  • Push on. Work more to earn more money and adjust Step 3.
  • Revise your goals. Reduce the cost or number of your goals, or hold them off until the future and adjust Step 4.
  • Use your assets. If you have assets you’re not saving for future needs, consider whether you can use them to meet your goals. But don’t sacrifice important future goals to meet short-term desires.


Step 5 is a summary of Step 3 and 4.

Steps 1 to 5 show you your financial picture. Now go on to work out the steps needed to complete your goals. 

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