7 Steps to Financial Independence

Last updated:
July 2, 2021

The 7 Steps to Financial Independence is a resource on your Plan page that helps you understand your financial landscape and plan accordingly through a series of guided action items. You can access your Plan page on the upper left-hand side of your screen. Beneath your status, you’ll see a button displaying your available actions. Click this button. This will immediately direct you to the Plan page. Once here, simply scroll down to the Optimize your Plan category located at the bottom of the page, and there you’ll see a box labeled Start My Financial Plan’s 7 Steps to Financial Independence. Once here, select Start Step 1, and your series of guided action items will initiate.

Step 1 starts at the very beginning. This is where we help you build a foundation and understand your earning and spending patterns. This step works best when you have connected your financial accounts, so please do that first. When you link your accounts, My Financial Plan intelligently organizes transactions into an income or expense category. If we identify a transaction we believe requires your review, we will flag that transaction and send you an action in your plan actions list. This is how we accurately maintain an in-depth understanding of your earning and spending patterns.   

Step 2 focuses on building financial resilience. We help you achieve this by guiding you through creating an emergency fund designed to help buffer unexpected future costs.   

Step 3 helps you start planning for retirement by making sure you are getting the most from any matching plan your employer may offer. In this step, we’ll ask you for more details about any employer contributions to your retirement plan and suggest how much you could contribute to get your match.

Step 4 enables you to examine your debt profile and help improve your decisions in debt repayment. In this step, we prioritize paying off high interest debts first. This results in lower overall interest payments for your debt. 

Step 5 is where we start to zoom out to look at the longer-term situation. In this step, we guide you through adding major life goals in your financial timeline, and help you understand the associated financial implications.

Step 6 is focused on retirement, where we help you plan your ideal retirement lifestyle. We’ll ask when you plan to retire and let you know what you can do to prepare for that date. We'll also allow you to estimate your expected Social Security benefits (with the understanding that a precise estimate depends on variables we don’t know but you may wish to determine on the US Social Security Administration's website). 

Step 7 is where insights from the previous steps coalesce and advanced tactics for financial independence start to kick in. At this point, you’ll have a complete financial timeline you can view, edit, and interact with. You’ll be able to observe your path to financial independence. 

After going through the 7 Steps, you will have a much deeper understanding of your financial landscape and the action items you need to take to realize your plans.