It is the best of times and the worst of times to invest. Markets are volatile and unpredictable. Deals are to be had, but how can we know things won't continue to get worse? Scam artists are everywhere and reputable, centuries-old financial firms are collapsing. Should we all just go out back and dig a hole and throw our cash in there? No. Because great struggles mean great opportunity, and for someone with great personal financial planning can reap the benefits. Fortunately, you don't need fancy and expensive financial advisers. You can create your own personal financial planning and take control over your investments and your future.

The first step to your personal financial planning success is to have a transparent and comprehensive understanding of your personal finances. After all, how can you accurately undertake personal financial planning if you don't even know what you're planning with! Get a recent credit report so that you have a complete understanding about all of the various debts and obligations you have. Keep a detailed expense report, so you have a full understanding of where your money goes. This way, you can identify places that you can cut back.

Before starting a full investment plan, you really should be eliminating all debt you are carrying. Rare is the investment that will return more than the interest you pay on credit card debt. Mortgages and some car loans are the exception here, but I like building a lot of equity in these purchases before really trying to go forward with my personal financial planning.

The key to personal financial planning is actually to not take it personally. If you are in control of your personal financial planning, you have to act like a reasonable person. The markets aren't out to get you – ideally, they want everyone to get rich. Taking control of your personal financial planning means to take accountability for the consequences. Don't manage your personal financial planning emotionally or unrealistically. Understand what the potential risk and reward. Nothing should ever truly surprise you, especially if you understand what the worst outcome is. Remember, even if that happens, you're the one that made the choice and made such an outcome possible.

With the Internet comes more information than was ever available for some one that opts to take control over their own personal financial planning. If you get as much information as you can, plan accordingly and understand the options and their consequences, you can achieve the investment goals you want have the financial future you've always dreamed of.