Life is difficult to plan, but it is necessary to have some plans in certain circumstances. Plans cannot avoid troubles or negative surprises, but they can help deal better with them. This is the case of financial planning. What is it? The European Financial Planning Association (EFPA) explains that it “is usually a six-step process, and involves considering the client’s situation from all relevant angles to produce integrated solutions”.
The main target is knowing the customer in order to organise his or her finances for the whole life, so that the person reach his or her goals, keeps a similar standard of living and can manage unexpected events. The six steps listed by the EFPA are:
- Establishing and defining the client and personal financial planner relationship.
- Gathering client data and determining goals and expectations.
- Analyzing and evaluating the client’s financial status.
- Developing and presenting the financial plan.
- Implementing the financial planning recommendations.
- Monitoring the financial plan and the financial planning relationship.
Financial planning deals with all kind of assets (from cash to deposits, stocks or real estate) and life situations (worker, self-employee, retired, heritage). The main points are:
- What are the main goals for the customer: is he or she planning to buy a house, save for the studies of the children, keep money with some annual returns for the retirement? We have to consider the age, the professional and the personal situation. Demands are not the same if the person is married or single or have one or several children.
- What is the time horizon: after considering the goals, we have to think about a realistic time horizon to reach them. It will not be the same the timeframe for a house or for a car.
- What is the risk profile: this is one of the main pillars, because the financial planner will propose the investment in appropriate assets. A conservative investor cannot receive a proposal with a half of the investments in stocks, for instance. There are several tools to profile investment risks, as the regulations are becoming harder to protect individual interests.
Individual investors can ask for the advice of a financial planner or be more independent using tools to organise their own plans. T-Advisor financial planner is one of the possibilities. What does an investor have to ask to this kind of tools?:
- A chance to select different goals and time horizons.
- An analysis of your risk tolerance.
- A result with a range of possibilities from the more optimistic to the more pessimistic.
- An analysis of tax and inflation effects.
- A proposal of a combination of assets to reach your goal taking into account your risk tolerance and the time frame.
Nobody knows the future and financial planning will not avoid shocks. That is part of life. But financial planning can help organise your goals with a realistic view and react wiser to those shocks in order to keep a regular standard of living.