Financial Planning is an ongoing process to help you make sensible decisions about your finances so that you can achieve your goals in life.
It’s not just about buying products like life insurance or joining a particular superannuation fund.It might involve putting an appropriate Will in place to protect your family, thinking about how your family will manage without your income should you fall ill or die prematurely or spending money differently. It involves thinking about all of these things together i.e. your ‘plan’. You can build a plan on your own, or if your needs are more complex you might want the help of a Financial Planner.
Create a sound financial plan in six steps as follows:
- Establish your goals in life – short, medium and long term
- Work out what assets and liabilities you have – write them down
- Evaluate your current financial position – how close are you to achieving your goals?
- Develop your plan – create a “road map” for achieving your different goals
- Implement your plan – make the changes and make it happen
- Monitor and review your plan at least yearly and make adjustments when needed
Start by working out your goals in life, in the short, medium and long term. Prioritise them, and think about the likely cost of those goals and when you will need the funds, so you can start to plan your finances to work out how to achieve them. Don’t forget you also have to plan for some of the hurdles you may have to overcome too.
It’s about getting organised and being in control of your finances, rather than letting your finances control you.
By planning your finances to meet your goals you will:
- Have a much greater confidence of where you are going in life
- Reduce your stress levels and start to enjoy life more
- Gain control and peace of mind through knowing whether you’re on track for the future you want for yourself and your family
All of this may at first sight seem somewhat daunting so it might be a good idea to first engage with a qualified Financial Planner, so that you start off on the right path from day one.
How do you ‘engage’ a Financial Planner?
It’s important to make sure you are comfortable that your Financial Planner has taken the time to understand your needs, goals and preferences before they make any recommendations. Here is what you can expect from the financial planning process.
DEFINING THE SCOPE OF ENGAGEMENT
Your Financial Planner should explain the process they will follow, find out your needs and make sure they can meet them. You should ask them about their background, what financial products they cover, how they work and how they charge.
IDENTIFYING YOUR GOALS
You work with your Financial Planner to identify your short (<2 years), medium (5-10 years) and long term (>10 years) financial goals – this stage serves as a foundation for developing your plan.
ASSESSING YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
Your Financial Planner will take a good look at your current financial position – your assets, liabilities, income, insurance coverage and investment or tax strategies.
PREPARING YOUR FINANCIAL PLAN
Your Financial Planner should provide you with a documented plan recommending suitable strategies, products and services, and answer any questions you may have.
IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS
Once you’re ready to go ahead, your financial plan will be put into action. Where appropriate, your Financial Planner may work with specialist professionals, such as an Accountant or Solicitor.
REVIEWING THE PLAN
Your circumstances, lifestyle and financial goals are likely to change over time, so it’s important that your financial plan is reviewed annually, to make sure you keep on track.
If you require further advice from a professional ‘Financial Planner’ ,please use our Business Search Directory to find a suitable provider near your location.