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Six steps process of financial planning
1. Self assessment
Clarifying present situation, is a preliminary step someone has to complete prior to planning their finance. Doing a self assessment enables a person to understand their present wealth status and responsibilities. Self assessment should contain following
- Prospective retirement age - Main source of income - Dependents in family - Expenses and monthly savings - Current investment status
One should identify their wealth status prior to moving with financial planning.
2. Identify financial, personal goals and objectives
One should identify their wealth status prior to moving with financial planning.
Each individual aspires to lead a better and a happier life. To lead such a life there are some needs and some wishes that need to be fulfilled.
Money is a medium through which such needs and wishes are fulfilled. Some of the common needs that most individuals would have are:
Creating enough financial resources to lead a comfortable retired life, providing for a child's education and marriage, buying a dream home,
providing for medical emergencies, etc.
Once the needs/ objectives have been identified, they need to be converted into financial goals. Two components go into converting the needs into financial goals. First is to evaluate and find out when it is needed to make withdrawals from investments for each of the needs/ objectives. Then person should estimate the amount of money needed in current value to meet the objective/ need today. Then by using a suitable inflation factor one can project what would be the amount of money needed to meet the objective/ need in future. Similarly one need to estimate the amount of money needed to meet all such objectives/ needs. Once a person has all the values they need to plot it against a timeline.
3. Identify financial problems or opportunities
Once goals and current situation are identified, the short fall to achieve the goal can be assessed. This short fall need to be covered over a period of time to fulfill various needs at different life stages. Since future cannot be predict, all the contingencies should be considered will doing financial planning. A good financial plan should hedge from various risks. A flexible approach should be taken to cater to changing needs and we should be ready to reorganize our financial plan from time to time.
4. Determine recommendations and alternative solutions
Review various investment options such as stocks, mutual funds, debt instruments such as PPF, bonds, fixed deposits, gilt funds, etc. and identify which instrument(s) or a combination thereof best suits the need. The time frame for investment must correspond with the time period for goals
5.Implement the appropriate strategies to achieve goals
A person needs to implement the plan into action.Necessary steps needs to be taken to achieve financial goals. This may include gathering necessary documents, open necessary bank, demat, trading account, liaise with brokers and get started. In simple terms, start investing and stick to the plan.
6. Review and update plan periodically
Financial planning is not a one-time activity. A successful plan needs serious commitment and periodical review (once in six months, or at a major event such as birth, death, inheritance). Person should be prepared to make minor or major revisions to their current financial situation, goals and investment time frame based on a review of the performance of investments.
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