Financial Planning is a process. If the process is strictly followed, the chances of meeting your objectives and achieving ‘Financial Independence’ will be considerably improved.
Stage 1 – Gather Your Financial Information
The starting point is to create a profile of you, covering your personal circumstances, current financial situation and how you have arrived there. The more detail the better, because the clearer this picture of you and your finances is, the clearer the starting point of our journey will be. We will consider your family, your work or business, your tax position and your investments so we can appraise the appropriateness of them in relation to your financial plan.
Stage 2 – Identify Your Goals
The second stage is to clarify where you want to go, your objectives, concerns and aspirations as well as your attitude to investment and other risks. This is especially important, as it will be critical to investment portfolio construction, a key aspect of your Personal Financial Plan. Unlike many financial firms, we take investment risk extremely seriously as we know we are dealing with your financial future. Therefore, we ensure that we truly understand your willingness and ability to tolerate risk through the use of ‘Risk Profiling’ techniques.
Stage 3 – Identify Financial Issues
The third stage is to analyse your current position and consider your objectives to determine the ‘gap’ between the goal and the reality. This ‘Gap Analysis’ will enable us to clearly understand the journey you will need to travel in order to achieve your goals.
Stage 4 – Prepare Your Financial Plan (called a Statement of Advice)
Stage four involves the creation of a roadmap or journey plan generally known as a Statement of Advice, which communicates the most efficient route from A to B. This roadmap is your Personal Financial Plan. It will analyse your financial arrangements and make recommendations as to how your existing finances can be utilised. This will cover your assets, investments, liabilities and income. The way in which you spend your money is also a vital aspect of the analysis. Therefore, a review of your expenditure, in both the short-term and over the long-term will help to establish how robust the overall financial plan is. The plan will identify the cost of achieving your objectives, your financial independence and plan for any disasters which may arise. Your Financial Plan can be multi-generational and can cover the effective and efficient distribution of assets on death, in accordance with your wishes.
Stage 5 – Implement the Recommendations
The fifth stage of the process is to implement the plan. This stage may also include an action plan and/or investment strategy document, as noted in the Statement of Advice.
Stage 6 – Review and Revise the Plan at Regular Intervals, or When Circumstances Change
The final stage is to regularly review the plan and make modifications where required. Reviews should take place at least annually, but can be more frequent if required. The overall aim of the financial planning process is to help you reach your financial goals and develop or maintain your desired lifestyle, in the most efficient way possible. Financial planning gives consideration to strategies for the creation, distribution or protection of wealth specifically to meet your financial objectives.