Six Steps of Financial Planning Advice

I whole heartedly believe in what I do. The clarity and piece of mind that is achieved through financial planning can alleviate the worry and stress of the unknown. Financial health is just as important as physical and mental health. Our money underpins our lifestyle’s. If we don’t look after our money, it won’t look after us. Poor money management can lead to undesirable outcomes. Many of us will pour time and money into eating, sleeping, and exercising better. So why then do we spend so little time and money on our financial health and put it on the long finger?


I am always asked by potential clients what can I do for them and how much will it cost? There are also those that believe they can do my job and I am surplus to requirements. So, what do I do? Simply put my job as a financial planner is to assist clients organize, save, protect, grow, spend, and gift their money throughout their lives.


What is financial planning? Financial planning is the process of determining whether and how an individual can meet life goals through proper management of financial resources. In other words, will you have the money to do the things you want to do. We follow a six-step process of what we do and why we do it:


Step 1

What We Do: The first step is having a chat to see if what we do is what the client is looking for. Usually, potential clients make contact for an acute reason regarding their finances. A reaction, for want of a better word. A financial planner will look to address the acute problem in the context of your overall financial health and not solely focus on a product or provider. We want to go from reactive to proactive money management.


Why We Do It: Often the reason for getting in touch is a symptom and not the root cause. A Doctor would be ill equipped to remedy an ailment accurately without being presented with a medical history and conducting some tests related to the symptom. A lifestyle financial planning approach seeks to reduce the potential of a repeat reaction going forward.


Step 2

What We Do: If both parties are agreeable in Step 1, we gather all the client’s financial details in one place via a fact find. Believe it or not most people are not as financially organized as they’d like to be. This can be seen by a client in one of two ways, a royal pain in the face or an opportunity to really get to grips with their current financial circumstances. It can require a significant amount of effort up front. Short term pain, long term gain.


Why We Do It: Being organized is underrated. Having someone to be accountable to, helps. A Personal Trainer is a perfect example of paying someone to compel you to show up on a given day and time to hold you accountable to yourself while you put in the work for your own benefit.


Step 3

What We Do: When a client provides complete and accurate financial information, we host a video call in which we attempt to unearth why money is important to them. Using conservative assumptions with the aid of cashflow modelling software we show what the clients financial future looks like based on their current circumstances before any advice is given. Knowing and seeing your financial future is a game changer.


Why We Do It: In our busy day to day lives when do we get a chance to step back and ask ourselves what are we doing and why are we doing it? Time is our most valuable asset and more specifically time we are fit and healthy. We’re programmed to focus on our immediate needs and wants. It’s only natural to not know what we are going to have for dinner let alone what the next few decades of our lives will look like. Good money & therefore life management requires a more medium to long term mindset.


Step 4

What We Do: If a client wishes to proceed with us, we go to work on reviewing & evaluating the client’s current financial circumstances. This is done to align financial resources to financial goals. This could mean replacing or optimizing existing policies to save money or provide improved benefits. Your financial plan will present your options, recommendations, and priorities.


Why We Do It: This is where we can save you money, protect your money, grow your money, give  you reassurance to spend and/or gift your money. We highlight your blind spots. Given the time horizon of many financial products such as insurance, pensions and investments what may seem like a small change can have a big impact on cost and benefits. Maybe you have some, none or all your financial product needs catered for but is it comprehensive and are you getting the best deal specific to your circumstances? Is there any added value? Measure twice, cut once. This is where financial expertise, education and coaching deliver significant added value. You don’t know what you don’t know.


Step 5

What We Do: Following presentation, discussion and agreement of your financial plan we then proceed to implement the actions required together to meet your objectives into the future.


Why We Do It: If you need a new financial product or to replace an existing one, we have access to the necessary third-party providers to make that happen. Implementation is a collaborative process and we provide the insights and support to get it done.


Step 6

What We Do: Each year we have an annual review meeting. The only constant in life is change. We start by asking if there have been any major changes in your life and provide a fact find verification report to see if any of your financial details have changed. We also review financial progress to your goals, reconfirm your goals and make any tweaks if necessary.


Why We Do It: A lot can happen in a year or not much at all. Either way it is a sufficient period of time to meet up, review your plan and goals to see if all is in order. The financial plan is the starting and end points. It is the annual reviews and planning that keeps us on track from A to Z. 


Helping people be better with their money is a privilege. Entrusting your financial future to a financial planner is not something that should be taken lightly. At the beginning of this blog post I said potential clients ask what can we do for them and how much will it cost. You now know what we do and why we do it. And so I ask, what is the cost of not engaging a good financial planner? I don’t believe I could do your job and so I’d say it’s safe to say you couldn't do mine. 


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The Money Mentor Team