Five Steps for Starting Your Journey to Financial Freedom

Last updated on Mar 31, 2021

Posted on Feb 5, 2021

Whether consciously or subconsciously, you probably find yourself comparing your finances to that of your personal and professional peers. Don’t. When it comes to money, everyone is starting at a different place. And that’s perfectly fine. Money comes and money goes, no matter who you are, so it’s better to focus on building a plan from where you are now and tailor it to where you’d like to go.

Last year was definitely one for the books. While the pandemic brought about the literal embodiment of money coming and going, the economy is slowly improving. And while it’ll take time to get back to what it was pre-COVID, now may be your time to get working on your financial plan. Whether you’re a consumer or a small business owner, it’s never too late to start planning and thinking about the future. We've partnered with Morgan Stanley to round up five steps you can take to start or continue your financial journey.

Step One: Get Organized

You’ll find it’s impossible to figure out where you want to go if you have no idea where you’re starting. The first thing you need to do is get organized. Understanding your current financial situation is the only way you can focus on setting realistic goals for your future. Morgan Stanley can help with a number of tools to help you get organized, such as spending and budgeting apps, document checklists and family record organizers. Visit to learn more.

Step Two: Build Your Team

To get your finances in order, you’re going to need a Team. Handling your finances can be filled with a ton of policies and jargon that you’re not used to. Plus, it’s easy to miss out on hidden benefits when you don’t know what to look for. Teaming up with an accountant, attorney (tax, trust estate, etc.) and/or a financial advisor is a solid way to understand your options and potentially give yourself an added advantage.

Step Three: Consider Your Choices

When planning your finances, there are a lot of things to consider. You’ll need to consider processes like budgeting, investing, and financial and estate planning. It will take some time to consider your options and make the decision that’s best for you. Making these decisions shouldn’t come at the drop of a hat, so carefully consider each one and reach out to your financial team for help when necessary.

Step Four: Document Your Plan

Once you’ve considered your financial plan, it’s time to put your team to work. First, you’ll need to work with your Financial Advisor to put your plan in writing. Once your plan is set, you’ll engage the rest of your team to implement it. Throughout this process, remember to communicate with your team so everyone is on the same page with how you envision your financial future. Remember this is a living document that should be reviewed on a regular basis and updated as needed when life circumstances or objectives/goals change.

Step Five: Do What Works For You

At the end of the day, your financial plan needs to work for you and no one else. Starting your financial journey can seem daunting, but the result makes the process worth it. There’s no telling where the future might take the economy, so it’s important to have a plan in place. To learn more and to find a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, visit

Important information about your relationship with your Financial Advisor and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC when using a Financial Planning tool. When your Financial Advisor prepares a Financial Plan, they will be acting in an investment advisory capacity with respect to the delivery of your Financial Plan. To understand the differences between brokerage and advisory relationships, you should consult your Financial Advisor, or review our Understanding Your Brokerage and Investment Advisory Relationships brochure available at You have sole responsibility for making all investment decisions with respect to the implementation of a Financial Plan. You may implement the Financial Plan at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC or at another firm. If you engage or have engaged Morgan Stanley, it will act as your broker, unless you ask it, in writing, to act as your investment adviser on any particular account.

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