Make Your Dreams A Reality With Personal Financial Planning
If you are like millions of people all over the world, you don’t wait for the beginning of a new year to worry about making important changes in your life. It’s a year-long affliction. And there are some resolutions that always catapult to the top of the list. Perhaps the most popular are those based around personal health issues, like pursuing a weight- loss and fitness program. However, there are some other, equally important ones that keep us awake at nights. In this category are things such as getting a specific qualification, a new job, a new car, buying a house, taking a trip abroad etc.
It is commonly agreed that all of these goals are more likely to be achieved if actual thought, time and effort is spent developing a solid plan and following through. In other words, one should plan for next year, this year. Plan for tomorrow, today. Research has shown that people with a Personal Financial Plan [PFP] are more likely to save well, feel better about their progress, make informed financial decisions, minimize money mishaps, optimize financial opportunities, and more than anything else, enhance quality of life.
I have personally observed the effectiveness of a PFP for a number of our clients over the past year. And, I am firmly convinced that a PFP is the best recommendation to effectively manage the achievement of all other goals whether they are lifestyle, health, educational, professional, or anything else for that matter since everything has a financial element. In this way, dreams can become reality, and goals will actually materialize in line with your planning.
Develop a PFP. Actually investing in a written PFP is more beneficial than one that is ‘up in the air’ – a plan that you thought or talked about, and hope you remember! Most experts agree that the following 7 steps will help you plan and implement a successful PFP.
1. Identify and embrace the importance of PFP 2. Set goals for short, medium and long term [SMART goal-setting] 3. Prepare a net worth statement 4. Gather past income and expense records 5. Complete a spending and saving schedule [Budgeting] 6. Keep records of spending and saving. [Spending Tracker] 7. Review and Reset goals as appropriate [Course-correct]
Hire an Independent Financial Adviser. Although you may be able to make good money decisions, it is highly likely that a professional adviser will serve you better. Their advice is more likely to be fact- based; they will be more objective than you can be about your money, and, you can choose someone who is committed to giving you the best advice possible without trying to sell you a specific product, and, or potentially having a conflict of interest.
Once you have completed an initial consultation with your Financial Adviser, it is important to decide whether you want to develop a Basic PFP that is focused on achieving a specific goal or a limited number of goals, or you want a Comprehensive PFP that will include decisions that cover whole life issues including tax planning, investing, retirement planning, estate planning, and later life issues etc. In either case, a PFP is an indispensable tool for moving towards a satisfying and secure future.
Finally, fear of a future without sufficient funds to take care of our families and our expected as well as unplanned needs is very real. It is even scarier when we do not have a clear idea of how to change things for the better. Whether you choose to develop your own or opt to employ the services of a professional Financial Adviser, having an PFP will allow you to be more objective, optimistic and confident about achieving your goals, living a quality life, and enjoying the process of turning dreams into reality.