What is Financial Planning in 2019
Regardless of age, gender, income or where you’re based in the world, have you given any thought as to what financial planning in 2019 entails and why you should consider it?
For many, it seems a topic best avoided and reserved for those who are wealthy and understand the concept, intricacies and dynamics of money. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being on the cutting edge of technology and with the new generation of Certified Financial Planners who can speak your language and understand your financial needs, this is an exciting time to embark on ensuring your financial security.
So, how does one become savvy with financial planning in 2019? The first step is to have an open mind! The rest is actually pretty simple.
Financial Planning in 2019 - Where to Start?
Believe it or not, your education in financial planning began before you knew you were planning financially.
Remember your first piggy bank – whenever Aunty Sal or Uncle Joe gave you a little something for your birthday or Christmas - well, you put it away for a rainy day, didn’t you?
And let’s be honest, “rainy days” back then were for items like baseball cards, video games, and super soakers, etc!
Now that you’re all grown up, establishing your place in this world and earning a regular income, the need for financial planning is important and that little pink piggy bank just doesn’t cut it anymore.
In this article, I will take you through every facet that makes up financial planning in 2019, from what goes into a financial plan, the subject of online financial planning, to essential tips for financial planning and the role of a financial advisor in all of it.
What is a Financial Plan?
A financial plan is not just a bunch of paper stapled together. I like to refer to it as a “living document”. What do I mean by this?
Well, a financial plan and the process of financial planning is a journey, and not just a financial one. A financial plan is a road map to help you realize your hopes, dreams, and goals.
How can you expect to achieve any significant goals without planning?
Here’s an example:
Think about it this way, you and your significant other are planning a vacation and decide you want to visit South Africa and go on a Safari. What an adventure!
Now that you have the end goal in mind do you just hop on the next flight and see what happens? No way! You now plan out the entire trip.
You talk about and write down the things you want to see and do. Perhaps you want to see elephants and rhino’s while on safari. You would like to go skydiving, then learn how to surf, and finally tour some vineyards. OK, great, sounds like a ton of fun, but now what?
Unless you are a travel professional you now seek out a travel expert who can help you sort out all the details to make this trip a reality, like what flights to take, where to stay, how to organize the activities you want to do, and maybe even some suggestions on things you haven’t thought about.
The end result is they give you a travel itinerary. This document may not be exactly what you wanted when you dreamt up this trip, but this document shows you exactly how to make your trip a reality.
It is your vacation road map, done by an expert who made it a point to learn about what you wanted and combined that with their expertise to design a custom travel experience to make your dream a reality.
Are you getting the idea here? A financial plan and the process of financial planning is essentially the same thing as planning your next vacation.
The only difference is that the financial plan shows you how to accomplish everything you want in life and the specific steps you need to take to make it all happen.
Budget is still king
Look, although it is a boring aspect of life for many, if you get your budgeting right then you will have more money available to do the things you want. Whether that be saving for a vacation, saving for retirement or buying a new car.
One of the biggest stresses that we face is having a lifestyle that is not matched by the amount of money we earn.
Oftentimes, when we take a deeper look at our finances, there are always things that aren’t entirely necessary, things we can do without.
All these small expenses tend to add up over a month, or year, and you are essentially throwing it all away.
My advice is to start budgeting right now. Like, stop reading this for a second and write that down somewhere.
7 Financial Planning Tips
So then, just how do you start planning for your financial future? These pointers come from a place of professional experience after dealing with many people’s financial situations over the years in my career.
Here are 7 steps to help you get started:
- Start Early
It may seem an obvious point, but it’s never too early to start planning your finances. It makes logical sense that the sooner you start crystallizing your hopes, dreams, and goals for the future, the sooner they will become a reality.
Start by having a fun conversation with your significant other about what you want out of life, this will drive how the financial plan works.
- Save, Save, Save
Yes, in order to make your dreams come true you need to plan on how to pay for them. Remember, money is a very powerful tool and most of the time a key component to getting what you want. Defining your goals and then saving for them is part of creating a financial plan.
In most cases, your savings is the money that remains after your expenditure is deducted from your income. Instead, your monthly expenditure should be the amount left over after you’ve put aside your monthly savings. This is a little tweak that makes a huge difference.
- Make A Budget
Folks, again, please don’t underestimate the importance of a budget. A budget is a necessity and can also be a lot of fun to make.
Monitor your expenses using phone apps or a notepad and challenge yourself to find creative ways to stick to your budget no matter what it takes!
A financial plan can help you assess your cash flow and set up a budget that makes sense for you.
- Control Debt
Once you start earning a salary and build a credit record, banks are more than willing to lend you money in the form of loans or credit cards.
It’s easy to feel as if you have more money to spend than you do. Be extremely cautious of this, as while borrowing is not a bad thing, it is important to keep it in check, so you don’t have to sacrifice your investments to pay off your debt.
- Buy Insurance
Whether it’s accidental, health, car or life insurance, this is a layer of protection that nobody can do without.
Buying insurance is typically the foundation for financial planning as it secures the very future you are planning for.
Insurers these days offer a variety of customized plans for all sorts of customers – so do your research and start paying for protection. You simply cannot go without insurance.
- Ask an Advisor
I cannot emphasize the importance of conducting research before you make anything official.
Whether you hire a financial advisor to assist you in the initial stages or ask for help from a friend who is good with money, make doubly sure you clarify all doubts and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Remember the vacation example? They hired a professional to help them, the same holds true when it comes to your money.
- Draw Up A Will
Having a will is the best thing you can implement for the future of your loved ones as it ensures they don’t have to struggle to use the money you intend on leaving them.
Plan and write a will detailing your financial investments and assets as well as whomsoever you want it to benefit at the end of your financial life cycle.
Wouldn't it be comforting to know you can have your cake and eat it too? Save money now and be prepared for life’s uncertainties.
Avoid cash crunches and at the same time, reach all your goals – financial or otherwise. Isn’t that a sweet thought?
The role of a financial advisor
The role of a financial advisor is someone who is an absolute specialist when it comes to knowledge in investments, savings and money management.
Your financial adviser is supposed to provide you with specialist advice on how to manage your money.
The role involves researching the marketplace and recommending the most appropriate products and services available, ensuring that you are aware of products that best meet your needs.
A financial advisor is also capable of offering you mortgage, pension, and investment advice. Choosing the right financial advisor for your needs is important, because some are generalists, offering advice to clients in all these areas. Whereas some are specialists, with a deep focus on certain facets such as insurance, SkyMiles and portfolio management.
Financial advisers are also known as financial planners or wealth managers.
There are essentially two different types of financial advisers:
⦁ Those acting under a Fiduciary standard
⦁ Those acting under a Suitability standard
Fiduciary financial advisers, like Certified Financial Planners, research and consider all retail investment products or providers available to meet your needs after conducting a thorough analysis of your current financial situation and where you want to be in the future.
They will provide you with unbiased and unrestricted advice.
Advisers acting under a suitability standard only offer limited advice, focusing on a particular range of products or on products from one, or a limited number, of providers. There are plenty out there operating under this standard that truly do what is best for their clients, but the fact remains they are not legally obligated to.
Your financial advisor should, before providing advice, tell you whether they operate under the fiduciary or suitability standard.
They should provide the following services:
- In-depth reviews of your financial circumstances, current provision, and future aims
- Analyse information and prepare financial plans best suited to your needs
- Risk analysis
- Provide you with information on new and existing products and services
- Design a financial strategy
- Assist you with informed decision making
- Review and respond to your changing needs and financial circumstances
- Keep up to date with financial products and legislation
- Produce financial reports
- Contacting you with news of any new financial products or changes to legislation that may affect your savings and investments
- Being your “emotional” coach when there are stressful financial times
As the Digital Age advances rapidly, so do the resources available to us, thus affecting the way we conduct our everyday lives.
The almost weekly technological trends are influencing the world of finance too, having a direct impact on financial planning.
Yes, you guessed it. You're now able to plan financially, online. Let’s go through some of the major possibilities this has allowed.
Online Financial Planning
Most of you will have been using online banking and mobile applications for years, but the concept of online financial planners is still fresh and may take the many skeptics out there some strong convincing to adjust to it.
Being a people person, someone that has dealt with many clients face-to-face over the years, I will always believe that there is unrivaled value in interpersonal relationships.
Although, dealing with a person face-to-face, especially on a personal subject such as financial planning is beneficial, how does it compare to online financial planning? Let’s get into it!
With an online financial planner, you can:
Develop plans for your finances
This includes long-term investment management, spending trends, college funds, estate planning, insurance investments, and even retirement.
This means you will be able to gain a deeper understanding of how debt management works and therefore develop a plan to pay off your debt.
Access your finances at any time
One of the benefits of online financial planning is that you will not need to make appointments with a financial planner. It’s very convenient in that way.
Financial situation analysis
Besides being able to change your financial plan as your life changes, you can also run financial situation scenarios in order to prepare for any uncertainties or hurdles that your future may bring.
It’s completely private, especially with the General Data Protection Regulation now officially in place. So, no one else has access to your personal information.
Run quick reports with easier understanding
Online reporting is fast and efficient. It is also accurate, but how you determine the results of these reports are up to you.
The benefits of utilizing an online financial planner:
Your online financial planner is, in theory, supposed to offer you the same benefits of a traditional financial planner. They should also offer the following services:
Portfolio and Asset Tracking
This includes up-to-the-minute data on all your investments, as well as an overview of your total assets and advice on your investment portfolio.
An online financial planner should help you to quickly understand the risk level of any proposed investment and give you advice on risk management.
One of the major benefits of online financial planning is that you can view your account from any device, including smartphones and tablets.
You can essentially manage your finances remotely, making updates and changes from anywhere, at any time.
Set up financial goals, and easily see how you're tracking against them. Services like Mint even offer email and mobile alerts, bill reminders, and more, to help you stay on top of your goals.
The benefits of having an online financial planner
In fact, it’s cheaper than a traditional financial planner. The primary advantage here is the cost.
Think about it, online financial planning can’t possibly cost as much because the online financial planners don’t have the overheads of running a firm.
So, immediately the service fee is cheaper.
Not convinced? Compare the fees you are paying your financial planner with ours and see the difference. This is the direction the world is moving, everything has become mobile, so why should it be any different when it comes to your financial planning?
Look, it’s not as if a robot is going to be running your finances or advising you on how and where to save.
I get that this is what people think when they hear virtual financial planner. I get that but you won’t be dealing with some robo-advisor. You’ll be dealing with real, highly experienced people, just online.
As I’ve already said, financial planning is something that needs to be tailored and that is why the human element is imperative.
No walk-in meetings
Another great benefit of hiring the services of an online financial planner is that “meetings” are remote.
This means that when you correspond with your online financial advisor, they talk to you from the comfort anywhere really. Whether on your lunch break at work, at home or in a coffee shop.
This eliminates the task of having to travel and wait around.
All communication between you and your online financial planner is done over whatever device you choose. That can be a via mobile phone, a computer or a tablet. The only thing you need to ensure is that you have a stable connection to the internet.
In this day and age, you and your partner aren’t always together. One of you might be travelling from work, or maybe one of you has a permanent job in an office and the other works from home. Whatever the case may be, with online financial planning, conference calling is a possibility.
Applications such as Skype, FreeConferenceCall or Zoom offer this service, which means you can set up a video conference call where multiple users can join. So, in this case, you, your partner and your financial advisor. very convenient. I literally have had joint meetings with people in 3 separate time zones at the same time!
As you will probably know already, financial planning is a tedious task that requires mounds of paperwork.
If you have received basic financial planning advice before, you’ll know that this can be up to 200 pages of documentation about the financial recommendations provide on your first go.
This is the same for when you need to sign-off on things. In 2019, this is highly unnecessary. How is anyone supposed to keep track of that much documentation?
Online financial planning embraces the benefits of technology so all of this is done securely online, without the hassle of having to print, fill out, scan and resend because you’re now able to sign documents online.
If you are worried about security, don’t, because all these documents will be stored in a secure, protected online drive.
Hiring a virtual financial advisor
If you are looking for sound online financial planning advice, then I encourage you to get in touch with me to have an initial conversation.
This step, as in moving from the old-world method (because that’s essentially what it is), to moving all your financial planning, investment management, insurance, portfolio and retirement income planning, and SkyMiles management online is a big one.
I do get that, I have been doing this for years and can assure you that it is safe, effective and so much more convenient.
So, what is financial planning in 2019? It is the great shift from traditional planning to online planning. I think we will see individuals embracing it more frequently this year.
You know how it goes, at first people are skeptical about new technology, especially when it is as personal as finances, but then a couple of years later, everyone has an opinion on how it can improve.
At Intrepid Wealth Partners, we have been planning this migration for years and the technology and processes we use are advanced and in some instances, quite revolutionary.
Still, the same fundamentals ring true:
Putting a financial plan in place to address and solve your varied problems can ensure peace of mind and financial security.
I encourage you to get in touch with me via phone at 877-497-8737 or email me today for a complimentary, no obligation conversation.
Thank you for reading this post, if you have any questions regarding my services, please feel free to contact me here.
Thank you for reading!