Successful planning begins with the end in mind
20th August, 2018
One of the seven habits of highly effective people – habit number two, according to Steven Covey’s iconic bestseller – is “beginning with the end in mind”. You sketch out a picture of what you want in the future, then you plan and work your way towards it. Whether or not you are already a goal-driven person, this principle can enrich all aspects of your life – career, health, family, and of course finances. By taking a step back to consider and set financial goals, you can better understand the decisions, actions, and trade-offs you need to make in order to achieve them. To put it another way, life’s much better with a plan.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time" Zig Ziglar
The thing is many people don’t know what their goals are. They may not have written them down. They may not have prioritised them. They may not have even really thought about them. This is the starting point – a ‘discovery’ conversation with a spouse, with family, with a financial adviser, to ask the right questions and start building towards the answers.
For couples, especially where one spouse may be used to handling the bulk of the financial affairs, this conversation can provide much-needed clarity and reassurance about what the future holds.
Of course, no two people – or couples – are the same. We all have our own individual concerns and circumstances; everyone’s jigsaw has its own unique set of pieces. Most goals, however, tend to revolve around the following core pillars:
- Lifestyle / retirement
- Giving and Legacy
Depending on where you are in life, your primary goal might be to ensure you have enough set aside for retirement; or enough to send multiple kids to college. Maybe you need to consider how to transition the family business on to the next generation. Maybe you have inherited or come into another kind of windfall. Decisions, decisions…
Individual needs, individual goals
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial planning – no single formula – and all goals, decisions and strategies must be based on the individual. This is where personalised financial advice comes into its own.
Planning ahead… but no crystal ball
Whatever course of action you choose, you’ll need to maintain balance and manage risk. Personal financial advice, from an adviser who knows and understands you, will help you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture here; assess what’s achievable and help you get on the right path.
While forecasting analysis can sketch out a potential roadmap, there is no crystal ball in life or in finance. Unexpected things happen every day, and you will need a plan that is flexible enough to adapt to different scenarios, especially one that can provide you shelter from the storms of life. You do not set goals without first considering how you can best protect your wealth and your future earnings potential. This conversation usually includes the topic of succession planning; your vision for your assets when you’re no longer around.
Goals-based financial planning starts with an open conversation designed to establish what your main goals are. Once you’ve had that discovery conversation with an adviser, the building blocks of a plan can be assembled. It's important to include all stakeholders in the plan, your spouse or partner and children. This often includes input from spouses and other family members to ensure all angles are covered – and everyone’s on board.
Your plan can be adapted and fine-tuned to reflect changing circumstances as you journey through life. As with all financial planning, however, the sooner you identify and implement goals, the better the reward. Why not get started today?
Warning: The information in this article does not purport to be financial advice and does not take into account the investment objectives, knowledge and experience or financial situation of any particular person. You should seek advice in the context of your own personal circumstances prior to making any financial or investment decision from your own adviser. There are risks associated with putting a financial life plan in place. There is no guarantee that by having a financial life plan in place you will meet your objectives.