Financial Planning is an integral element of personal financial management. It is a strategic approach in which a financial planner helps people deal with various financial issues in areas such as cash flow management, investment planning, retirement planning, risk management etc. It involves the incorporation of myriad of financial resources and financial tools to achieve financial goals.
All industries across the world have seen drastic changes since the last decade and better financial planning and management is required to handle the financial intricacies. Moreover, with recent economic slowdown and recession, people are realising the importance of financial advisers and planners, especially in Sydney, to manage their personal finance through proper assessment of current situation and comparison with the plan.
Important Aspects in Financial Planning: A financial planner should address all the areas of the client’s financial needs and successfully achieve the set goals. Some of the areas that must be addressed in the overall financial plan are:
? Risk Management
? Cash Flow Management
? Insurance Planning
? Education Planning
? Investment Planning
? Tax Planning
? Estate Planning
? Relationship Management
Steps Involved in Financial Planning: Financial planning involves strategic decision making. Discussed below are the steps that enable strategic financial planning:
Step 1: Goal-setting with the client- Primarily, the financial planner has to identify the client’s financial goals and life goals.
Step 2: Gathering information on the client’s cash inflows and outflows- Preparing a list of how the cash is coming and going would help the planner to better understand how well the money is utilised and how much has to be used for investing purpose.
Step 3: Identifying financial problems that can create barriers- After listing the goals and collecting information on cash inflows and outflows, the financial planner has to identify the pertaining or possible financial problems that can create barriers in achieving the financial goals. Some of these barriers may be recession, high inflation, inadequate increase or decrease in income etc.
Step 4: Making the plan- For each financial goal, a systematic investment plan has to be devised by choosing the correct investment instruments and planning the alternatives, wherever possible.
Step 5: Implementing the plan- A financial plan is only successful if it is put into action. This is done by utilising the resources allocated for each goal in the plan.
Step 6: Periodic review and revision of the plan: Many times the planned scenario does not match up with the actual situation. Because of this, it is important to review the steps to check for misalignment and changes in the client’s situation.
Importance of Financial Planning: In order to reap long term benefits, it is important to plan finances with the help of financial planners and advisers. Some of the reasons why financial planning is important are stated below:
? Increased cash flow: Financial Planning ensures proper flow of cash by undertaking measures such as tax planning, prudent spending and careful budgeting.
? Strong capital base: Through efficient financial planning, strong capital base can be established. It enables the person to think about investments and thus, improve their financial position.
? Income management: Financial planning facilitates management of income which helps in segregating it into tax payments and other monthly expenditures and savings.
? Fulfil financial goals: By planning the finances, an individual can fulfil his or her aspirations which may include enrolling for an educational program, going for a vacation or savings for retirement.
? Family security: From the point of view of family security, financial planning is crucial. Various policies available in the market serve the purpose of financially securing one’s family.
? Standard of living: A proper financial plan ensures that one’s standard of living is not affected even in difficult times. For instance, death of the bread winner in a family or recession may affect the SOL if the financial plan is not in place.
? Savings: Through planning, one can ensure financial security in the form of savings and investments.
Though financial planning is believed to be a time-consuming activity, it is worth all the effort.