Financial planning is not just for wealthy people moving money between complicated, exotically named investment vehicles. In reality, a financial plan is an important tool for anyone who wants to manage their money effectively, whatever their income or net worth. No monocle or top hat required—just optional. Not convinced? Here are four reasons you need a financial plan:
1. Comprehensive financial help
Financial planning is invaluable for building a stable future and a comfortable retirement, but it can also do much more. A good planner will work with you to optimize all aspects of your money life, including:
- Estate planning to maximize the value of the legacy you leave to your family
- Insurance planning to get the most suitable coverage for the right price, while stripping back the options you don’t need
- Tax planning to reduce what you need to pay while staying within the rules
- Debt planning to clear your most expensive debts most efficiently, making your repayments go further
- Help with day-to-day budgeting, improving your cash flow, and managing your income most effectively
- Working to invest the income you’ve freed up in the most effective way that suits your risk tolerance
- Establishing a solid emergency fund which is easily accessible when you need it, but still financially efficient by making your savings work for you
- Working toward specific savings goals such as paying for kids’ education, buying a home, early retirement, and so on
Every part of your finances can benefit from the attention of a professional planner. And when each area is working as efficiently as possible, the results can add up to a significant improvement in your current and future financial comfort.
2. Planning brings clarity
Developing your financial plan helps bring clarity to your current situation. With the help of your advisor, you’re likely to spot areas of your spending or savings habits that could be improved, but which have gone unnoticed during your daily life. Even a few small tweaks can make a huge difference to your financial situation when they combine over months and years.
3. Concrete goals
Setting out a detailed financial plan turns your aims for a better financial future into concrete goals you can fully focus on. Whether you’re looking for life-long help in making the most of your money, or help to devise an efficient way of achieving short-term targets, planning can give you a clear route to your destination.
4. Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals
A good financial plan can help you create S.M.A.R.T goals. That way you know how far along you are and how well you’re doing. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
S – Set specific goals. Know what the money is for.
M – Make them measurable. Money is pretty measurable, so you’re in luck there.
A – Make them achievable. Your budget can help you with this one.
R – Your goal should be relevant to you.
T – You should have an understanding of the time in which you’d like to reach your goal.
You can regularly assess your short-term results is the best way to achieve long-term objectives, giving you the encouragement of readily achievable targets at every step. It also gives you the flexibility to adapt your plan as your financial circumstances develop over time.
A financial plan isn’t just for those with immense wealth. The benefits it brings can help everyone make the most of their income and assets, building their net worth quickly and efficiently.