The pandemic has given you an opportunity, if you have taken it, to reassess what you want to do with your life. Many of you will have specific goals you want to achieve and this time out over the last 12 months may have given you the space to be clear in what you want to achieve.
In order to achieve these goals it’s a good idea to look at your financial planning for the year ahead. Spring is a good time to prepare. Just like gardens need to be prepared now if they are going to flourish in the Summer, you need to think about your financial situation now so you can benefit from the success later in the year.
By gathering your information together, you will be able to make informed financial planning decisions for the future. Perhaps consider a brainstorming session with someone else. This helps you not only clarify your own thinking, but also the other person can ask you questions which will help you to be specific in your goals. Believe me, financial planning will make you more successful.
Hi, I’m Anna Goodwin, your friendly finance mentor. With over 30 years of experience, I know it’s important for individuals and businesses to take time to prioritise financial planning for their future.
I have an annual update with my Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) and this is a great opportunity to revisit my financial planning decisions and it provides me with focus.
This is a typical agenda for what we cover in a session.
The Financial Planning Agenda
- Update on my circumstances – you need to know where you are starting from so that you can plan ahead.
- A review of what’s happened in the past year and goals achieved – allow yourself to celebrate all you have achieved and consider what did and didn’t work so that you can reflect on it when planning for the next 12 months. What could you have done differently?
- My objectives for the next 12 months – be as specific as possible.
- An update of how my investments are performing – gather all the relevant information together. You may need some outside help to fully understand what to do next.
- An agreement of next year’s actions – consider your objectives and past performance, then create a plan of action. Again, be as specific as possible. For the larger actions, you may find it useful to split them into more manageable activities throughout the year.
These are all things you could pull together yourself to create your own financial plan. Put some time aside and go through the points one at a time. Gather together all the information you have. Jot down your thoughts and then put them into a plan with goals and timescales.
I use a similar structure when I work with clients on their financial planning.
In one of my recent mentoring sessions, we concentrated on how much needed to be saved and invested on a monthly basis to hit her goals of wanting to have a property portfolio. We took these into account in the financial planning. She found being able to ask questions and float ideas beneficial and got a lot out of the session as a result. Sometimes you can feel too close to the issue and can’t see the wood for the trees. Speaking with an independent person helps you to clarify your objectives and to figure out how to get there.
Investing and saving is a frequent priority for my clients in their financial plan. However, you first need to ensure that it is the right time for you to start saving. Here is a slide from my Mastering your personal finances training course, emphasising the best time to start thinking about saving and investing:
When should I add savings to my financial plan?
- I am in control of my monthly expenditure and pay my bills in total each month.
- There is money left over at the end of each month.
- I have paid off small debts and have started paying off larger debts.
You need to agree with all of these.
It’s easy to put planning your personal future off for a rainy day that never seems to arrive. However, this year has been one of reflection for many of us, a year of becoming more certain of what we want to achieve in our lives. Whatever age you are, it is a good idea to give financial planning some thought. Working with someone else will give you the motivation to get it done and lessen the fear of having to do it all on your own!
So, as we prepare to release from lockdown, think about what you need to put in place now. Wouldn’t it be great for you to have your own personal finance plan coming into fruition? Contact me if you would like some help in getting started.
Next time, I will concentrate on how to price and set targets effectively.