Future is always uncertain; planning for life means building value and realising goals. Money should exactly do the same thing what we expect from it at different intervals of life.
This is why devising a financial plan today will not only help you meet your financial requirements today but also to help you live well during your retirement, while taking into account the uncertainty of life event.
So, expect a good, effective financial plan to just the right mix of income, savings, investments, and insurances of various kinds. All this helps you meet your financial goals successfully.
The very basic need for you, if you don’t have financial plan yet or have one that is just a formality, is to understand it fully well; to understand what a financial plan is in essence and why you must have one.
Here is what you must know.
What’s the aim of the money you are earning?
Well, to be honest, for most people, financial planning is mostly limited to managing day-to-day income and expenses. But is that why you are earning money? Only to live on an everyday basis? Do you not have future goals, like buying a house or your children’s education, or living a respectable life after retirement? Is it not your income and savings that will make up for those goals? This is why a great financial plan must allow you to balance your present and future priorities and align your income and expenses accordingly.
What exactly is a Financial Plan?
To put it in simple words, a financial plan is nothing but a list of the priorities—things that must be fulfilled now; things that you want to achieve in the future—and the way you plan to use your present money towards achieving these goals.
Through a financial plan you can:
- Save enough money to meet your short as well as long-term goals
- Manage how you will repay your debt
- Insure yourself and your loved ones
- Plan your and your partner’s retirement
- Create your estate possessions
- Leave a decent legacy for your family after your death
There are certain factors that you will need to take into consideration when you even start considering creating a financial plan. We’ll discuss them here briefly.
It All Starts with Personal Planning
The first step to create a financial plan, even before you hire a professional to make a personalized financial plan for you, is to take a ground reality check. Yes, the very first step is to have a very clear idea of your current financial situation. Without that into account, it would only a foolish idea to proceed.
Take a close look at your present income (primary and secondary in case you have one), and then see where are you spending it. Take note of your spending habits and gauge if they are creating any regular wasteful expenses for you.
Broaden your Horizon
As much as you need to pay attention to your present, you need to throw a glance at the future. Gauging the expected (and unexpected) changes in life is important. You need to know about both, what you need to do with your money today, and what you may want to do with it in future are changes—marriage, children, buying estate, starting a business, retirement, etc.—take place in your life.
Ask yourself questions like:
- When do I want to retire?
- Will I have saved enough for retirement whenever that is?
- If something untoward happens to me or to my job, do I have the financial cushion to fall back on?
- Am I ready for increased expenses when I get married, or have children, or even if case inflation kicks in?
Remember, financial goals become a subject of family discussion when you have people to cater to. It’s a great idea to sit with family and friends and talk about the future and how expected changes are likely to happen. Write that down and how you are going to work towards meeting the changing demands of life with the money that you have now.
Professional Help Is Necessary Unless you Are a Financial Planner Yourself
Not everyone comes with a great knack for managing finances. And even if one does, sound financial advice comes with practical experience from having fnes finances for so many clients that come from varied financial backgrounds.
No matter how much money you have, an expert financial planner can help you plan and manage your present and future financial needs.
But, How do you Find the Right Financial Planning Advisor?
This is a very genuine question. While every advisor in Canada will claim to be the best you can get. However, self praise is no recommendation. Is it? Each person has a different financial situation and portfolio. So, the one to manage it should be someone who sees where you are coming from and can be at the same page as you.
So, in order to find the right professional financial planner, who helps you in identifying your financial needs and enables you to make wise financial decisions for your present and future, you will have to do some homework.
First, Think about What you Want
The first step as we discussed before is gauge how much you have and what you want out of it for now and for the future. Spend some time with your partner and jot down your goals. Take a round up of your current financial status and ponder about what you want. Do you have a job change or a business that you wish to start soon or if you wish to buy estate, in short, sort out your priorities, short term and long.
The drawback of consulting an advisor without your priorities is that you might find it difficult to grasp the advice since there will be no background to it in relation to your needs.
So, see if things seem in order in your head. If not, it is a good idea to share the present state of things as they are, with your advisor.
What to Look for in a Financial Planning Advisor?
Yes, it’s a great idea to take references from friends and family. And it is also a great idea to search over the web.
Remember that since it’s your money and your future, we are talking about, you need someone you can not only trust but are also comfortable in talking to. You will need someone who can understand your financial situation and guide you honestly. Look for someone who puts their clients first and is a good listener.
And you have a great choice. You don’t necessarily have to hire the first advisor to speak with. Take your time to find the right one, even if it means going back and forth. The ease of conversation and the level of mutual comfort in discussing your financial situation and priorities is the key.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are in the process of selecting a financial planning advisor for yourself.
- Ask them about their experience in the field and if they are certified to carry out financial planning.
- Get to know how good they are at their job. Talk to them about some typical cases that they’ve managed.
- Ask what all they can do for you and what not.
- Inquire about the credentials and achievements of the company they work with.
- Ask them what they do to stay updated with latest changes and laws in financial planning.
- Inquire how available they will be before and after they do financial planning for you.
- Talk to them about what all needs to be prepared from your side.
- Ask them if they have any references you can talk to for their feedback.
You will be surprised to know that the entire effort of financial planning that looks so gargantuan on the face of it, can be simplified to the minutest detail of you have the right financial planner with you.