There's a lot to think about when it comes to financial planning. The process is comprehensive and can vary, but in general it covers a step-by-step approach to meet one's life goals. This can often come with the help of a financial adviser or specific financial planner, but is equally possible alone or with your partner.
Whichever path you choose, we've got you covered with this complete guide. In it, we'll explore everything from setting goals and creating a budget to investing and retirement planning. So whether you're just getting started or looking to fine-tune your finances, this guide has all the information you need. Let's get started!
What Are The First Steps In Financial Planning
The first step in any financial plan is to set goals. What do you want to achieve financially? Do you want to save for a house, pay off debt, increase your retirement savings, or something else entirely? Setting clear goals can help guide your financial decisions and ensure that you're on track for success.
You should lay out short and long term financial plans - presumably the largest of these is to secure retirement and maybe plan for the future of your children via inheritance tax planning, but in the shorter term it will likely involve a house, holiday or car. What are your goals and what is the financial future you see for yourself?
Next, it's important to create a budget. This will help you to manage your money and keep track of your spending. When creating a budget, the most important step is to list your income and expenses. Track how much money you make each month, then subtract all of your regular bills and other necessary expenses like groceries and gas. The remaining balance is what you have left to save or use however you wish. Multiply this by 5, 10 and 15 years. How conservative are your goals and how likely are you to achieve them, with some back of the napkin calculations on career progression and compound growth.
Once you've got a budget in place, it's time to start thinking about investing. Investing is a great way to grow your wealth over the long term and can help you reach even the most ambitious financial goals. It's important for any to understand what types of investments are available and how they work. There are many different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs.
Do some reading around what represents a good portfolio allocation amongst these: a good rule of thumb is not to invest in the stock market with money you might need within 3-5 years - any good independent financial advisers should tell you similar. The rest depends on your appetite for risk: with the Strabo dashboard, you'll be able to measure and track this automatically over time.
Finally, it's important to start planning for retirement. Retirement may seem far away now, but the earlier you start saving the better off you will be in the future. Start by opening a retirement account and contributing regularly. Consider talking to a financial adviser to discuss the best options for you. You will likely want to maximise your matched workplace pension contribution - this is free money!
- Save a month's expenses for your starter emergency fund
- Pay off all short term debt using the snowball method
- Save 3-6 months of expenses to complete your emergency fund
- Invest 10-30% of your household income for short and long term goals
- Pay off home debt early
- Continue to build wealth at a faster rate and donate!
The Mindset Element in Financial Planning
The most important element in any financial plan is having the discipline to stick with it. Achieving your goals can take time and effort, so it's important to stay motivated and stay on track. Create regular reminders of your goals and review them often to keep yourself accountable.
Discipline is difficult to foster and often comes down to your ingrained financial habits. Having strong organisation can help to alleviate the need for discipline on days where this is difficult. If you have a partner, sit down and discuss your goals together so that you know you're on the same page and can hold each other accountable. No matter how good your investment strategy or how lofty your life goals, the correct mindset is a vital aspect of wealth management.
Following these steps can help you create a strong financial plan, no matter what your goals may be. With a little patience and hard work, you can achieve financial success in no time. Good luck!
The 4 Main Types of Financial Planning - or What to Think About After Step 3
Any professional financial advice will likely follow a combination of the following strategies
1. Investment Planning - This involves assessing your current financial situation and developing a plan for investing that is tailored to your individual needs.
2. Retirement Planning - This involves setting goals for retirement, creating a budget and making investments that will provide you with income during retirement.
3. Tax Planning - This involves minimising the amount of taxes you pay each year by making savvy financial decisions.
4. Estate Planning - This involves planning for the transfer of assets after death, such as wills, trusts and other estate planning tools.
Creating a financial plan can be overwhelming, but following these steps can help make it simpler and easier to manage your money and reach your goals. The 7 steps listed above are similar to those you'll be set by any financial planner, and each of them falls into one of the categories above.
The 3 Main Principles of Investing - or How to Achieve Step 4
The three main principles of finance involve risk, time and money management. Understanding these concepts is essential for creating a successful financial plan.
Risk Management - Risk management involves properly assessing the risks associated with any investment or decision you make and determining an appropriate response. It's important to understand your tolerance for risk before making any major financial decisions.
Time Management - Time management is the process of properly budgeting your finances, such as setting aside money for savings and investing. It's important to plan ahead so that you can meet your financial goals on time.
Money Management - Money management involves making smart decisions with your money and understanding how different investments work. It's important to understand the concept of compounding interest, as well as different investment strategies.
The 5 Types of Financial Documents - Your Toolbox
Your financial plan should include the following five documents:
1. Budget - This document outlines your income and expenses and helps you manage your money more effectively.
2. Cash Flow Statement - This document tracks your cash flow, or how much money is coming in and going out each month.
3. Investment Plan - This document details your investment strategies and outlines the steps you'll take to achieve your goals.
4. Financial Plan - This document is a comprehensive summary of all aspects of your financial plan, including budgeting, investments and retirement planning.
5. Estate Plan - This document outlines the transfer of assets after death, such as wills, trusts and other estate planning tools.
What Is A Financial Planning Tool
So you've got the steps in place to become a financial planner in your own right, and now you're probably wondering what the best tools are to use for this.A financial planning tool is any software, service or other resource that helps you to create and manage a successful financial plan. There are many different types of financial planning tools available, such as budgeting apps, investment trackers and retirement calculators. These tools can help you assess your current situation, set realistic goals and measure your progress. A financial planning tool can help you make sense of your finances and create a successful plan for the future. This decision is completely down to you - you'll find recommendations all over the place. What do you struggle with the most? Budgeting? Investing? Managing your risk? Setting future goals? Managing an unexpected bill or life event? There are services designed to benefit each of these various options.
With proper time management, money management and risk assessment, you can create a sound financial plan that will help you achieve your financial needs. The right financial planning tools can provide the guidance and support you need to succeed. By understanding the basics of financial management and utilising the right tools, you'll be well on your way to achieving your financial goals.
Financial Planning with Strabo
We've built a whole range of tools to make financial planning easier for you. Using the Strabo dashboard, you'll be able to automatically sync all your accounts across asset classes and upload them to one dashboard, where you'll see balances, history, trends and aggregates so you know how much you're worth, how much you're spending and how much you're investing.
In addition, the platform helps you manage your risk profile, rebalance your portfolio and analyse your current financial position. We give you the tools to achieve successful financial planning, but we do not give advice, and suggest you find the right financial adviser for you if this is what you need.
Once you've done this you'll be able to add widgets to allow account tagging, custom financial goals, multi currency tracking and portfolio analysis. You can sign up for the platform below!