Save and Invest

Why you should create a 5-year money plan even when the future is uncertain


CNBC Make It is posting a new financial task to tackle each day for a month. These are all meant to be simple, time-sensitive activities to take your mind off of the news for a moment and, hopefully, put you on sturdier financial footing. This is day 30 of 30.

Thirty days ago, CNBC Make It set out to provide a month's worth of simple, easily achievable financial tasks many people could do at home to take their minds off of other concerns for a short time. If you've been following along since then, you've tracked your spending, calculated your net worth, created a money mindfulness practice and even crossed a task or two off of your to-do list.  

Today, reflect on the past month. What have you learned about yourself and your priorities? How has your spending changed, if at all? What were the hardest tasks for you to finish, and why do you think that is? You can simply ruminate on these questions for a few minutes or jot down your answers in a journal or Google doc.

Once you've done that, start to think about the future. That can be an especially difficult concept right now. No one knows what the future holds, or what our world will look like in the next few months. You may also have an overwhelming number of present financial concerns to contend with.

But if you are able to, consider what your financial state has been, and where you would like to see it go in the next five to 10 years. Have the past few months made you reconsider old goals? Or do you now want to double down on them? What would it look like to reach those goals, and what would help you reach them? Are they realistic?

You don't need to write down a step-by-step plan to accomplish them, or even know exactly what they are. But thinking and planning for the future can be a balm for any anxiety you're feeling right now. Studies have found that the pre-trip planning can be the most enjoyable part of a vacation. Applied to your finances, that could mean there is great joy to be had in planning out how you will buy a home one day, or how much you'll need to splurge on a bucket list trip in a few years.

At the very least, this exercise can shake up a potentially staid daily routine. It may also be just the thing you need to get through another difficult day of uncertainty and anxiety. Everyone could use something to look forward to.

Don't miss the last five days: 

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

How a 31-year-old making $118,000 in Philadelphia spends his money
How a 31-year-old making $118,000 in Philadelphia spends his money