For those of you who aren’t as savvy with numbers, never fear, financial planning is not as daunting as it sounds. To put it in layman's terms, it is essentially concerned with developing strategies to help you manage your financial affairs, helping to meet your life goals and with a good financial planner, it’s made easy.
So what is financial planning all about?
Contrary to popular belief, financial planning isn’t just about making money, in fact it has more to do with creating new opportunities to reach particular goals and aspirations. Typically, financial plans are built around making the most of your money, financing your dreams and planning for your future ahead.
Many people often question, “Why would I need to see a financial planner?” Well, if you could achieve your financial goals by simply putting money away in the bank, you wouldn’t need a financial plan. Unfortunately, life can be somewhat more complex, and it can be difficult to understand the complexities of investments, taxation and the rules and regulations surrounding them.
There are a number of ways that a professional financial planner can help you, particularly in the lead up to and throughout your retirement. However, if avoidable, you shouldn’t wait until then, the sooner you start planning, the more likely you’ll be to achieve financial independence and peace of mind.
Here, we outline the reasons why you should consult a financial planner.
Help you measure your progress
Once your financial planner has helped you identify a plan of action, you can set up measurable goals, such as regularly contributing a specific amount of money toward either savings or debt over a period of time. Over time, you’re able to look back on your progress, and reassess how much further you have until your goals are achieved.
To help define financial goals
We don’t usually spare a lot of time for setting short and long term financial goals, we may just have one overriding aspiration motivating us. When visiting a financial planner for an initial consultation, they often begin by asking you what your financial goals include. They may spark your thought process, making your delve into aspects of finance you haven’t given much thought to in the past such as particular investment opportunities or different retirement plans available.
To set realistic goals in a desired time frame
After defining your goals, financial planners typically look at how they can help you achieve them – how much money you’ll need to save, what type of investments are right to make etc. Next, a cost-benefit analysis is undertaken to see whether the goals made are realistic – are they attainable with the financial resources available?
Most commonly, if goals are unattainable, it is due to an incorrect timeline. For example, common goals such as saving for retirement, a mortgage or your children’s education can take years to accomplish.
Identify where you can cut spending
Once you are aware of where you’d like to be and how long that will take to get there, then you are able to take a look at your cash flow to see whether you’re spending more than you’re making. If you have a negative cash flow, then there is no way you’ll be able to meet your desired goals. When you sit down to analyse your spending, you’ll likely be surprised by how much you’re spending on a takeaway coffee or dining out, and you’ll be able to identify where you can bring back your spending to help you achieve your goals.
Pinpoint your money mistakes
Once you’ve identified your spending errors, it is good to do a complete financial review to expose any financial mistakes you could be making, helping to identify where easy fixes could be made. For example, some people could be paying 18% on interest to a bank, but receiving nowhere near 18% return on their investments.
Find different ways to maximise your money
Having an outside expert look at your financial position might reveal opportunities to make or save money that you hadn’t discovered. Perhaps you aren’t taking advantage of a flexible spending plan your employer offers to assist with health care expenses, or perhaps you are contracted to the wrong insurance, health care, or credit plan.
Seeing a financial advisor will help you identify risk and make you feel more confident making decisions regarding your money. Usually individuals who seek financial advice feel more confident about managing their money, savings and investments and feel more in control of their finances. This helps individuals build wealth and live more comfortably.
Financial planning is a long-term partnership that works closely with your personal life goals. In order to succeed in financial planning, it all comes down to accessing the right advice. If you’re unsure whether financial planning is right for you, consider booking an appointment with Peard Financial Planning’s Conrad Francis on 0407 449 664. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and you’re under no obligation to continue.