The main stages of the financial planning process are:
- Deciding on your goals and which of them are the most important initial stage. At some stages in life your top priority may be raising a mortgage to buy a home and to protect it with insurance. At other stages, building up retirement funds may become your key aim. Later on, balancing your income needs and your desire to save tax on your estate may be your main objective. Your goals and priorities are bound to change, and your planning must adapt accordingly. An essential aspect of this first planning stage is for us to discuss and understand your tolerance to investment and other kinds of risk.
- Assessing your resources accurately and fully is the next step. We need to know about your income, investments, property, borrowings, insurances, pensions and much, much more.
- Analysing your situation typically involves our identifying and measuring the gaps between your aims and your resources. Are you on track to have a comfortable retirement? Are you paying excessive amounts of tax on your income, investments or potentially on your estate? Are you financially protected adequately?
- Presenting you with the financial plan is the next stage. Our plan for you may be comprehensive and cover the all aspects of your financial planning. Or it may just be focussed on a relatively narrow area of concern that you asked us to comment on. Sometimes the recommendations will need to be changed in the light of a client’s better understanding of their situation or even a change in priorities, once it has become clear what can be achieved. Our aim in producing our recommendations is to make them clear and as simple as possible.
- Implementing the plan is the next step after you have understood and agreed with the recommendations. Where investment or insurance products are needed to implement the strategy, we aim to choose the most appropriate plans and providers for the purpose.
- Reviewing the plan is essential on a regular basis. Your circumstances will change, along with your needs and priorities. Products, tax rules markets and the environment will also change over time. Regular reviews are essential.