Financial planning simplified

Personal financial planning is the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan to help a person achieve financial goals. The idea is to focus on these goals as the starting point in a financial planning process.

In the planning process, an individual’s financial affairs (i.e., investments, savings borrowings, insurance, retirement plans, estate plan, charity, and so forth) should be considered as a coordinated whole. Financially savvy people use a variety of financial instruments to achieve their goals and objectives. To emphasize financial planning is a process, not a product. It is something that you do continuously. It is like going to a gym or to a doctor. It has to become a part and parcel of your life.

Lawyers, accountants, bankers, investment advisors, insurance agents, stock brokers, tax specialists, mutual fund advisors, can all help an individual to meet his or her specific financial objectives. In fact, most people need to deal with several professionals to receive the quality of expert advice that is needed for the most effective financial planning. This makes coordinat­ing the advice among these experts very important.

Coordination of financial advice can be seen as an integrated approach toward meeting financial goals. Financial planning integrates the basic advice of all specialists into a coordinated approach for each individual. Think of a “whole-body approach” to health. Or look at the financial planner’s role as the role of a Conductor of a Symphony Orchestra.

Financial planning can help answer many “what ifs” in life such as:

• What if I want to purchase a more expensive home?

• What if I decide to go to college for myself?

• What if my children go to college abroad?

• What if my spouse stops working? Or incapacitated?

• What if my parents ask me for some financial support?

• What if I decide to retire at age 48?

Financial planning is dynamic. The financial decisions you make will initiate various actions, each with its own consequences. These must be evaluated in an objective manner. Your personal commitment is essential. The time you invest in planning now will pay dividends later. Not planning is a sure step for failure

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