What does a financial plan look like?

A good financial plan is designed to put you at ease. It tells you how likely it is that you’ll achieve your financial goals based on your current situation and it helps you plan your future financial behaviour. 

There is real power in creating a financial planning document. Once you do, you’ll know what actions you need to take now in order to have the best possible outcome in the future. That’s inspiring. But what exactly does a financial plan look like? 

In short, a financial plan is based on six key processes:

  1. Understand you and your current situation
  2. Set goals and objectives
  3. Identify critical success factors and barriers to achieving your goals
  4. Identify possible strategies 
  5. Implement the agreed strategy
  6. Continually review and monitor your strategy

These processes are comprehensive and typically involve your personal goals, debt, income, cash flow, investments, retirement plans, tax strategies, estate plans, investment strategies and more. 

Cash flow

Cash flow is the single most important component of your plan. If you bring in more than spend, you have a positive cash flow that allows you to add to your savings and investments. If you have a negative cash flow, you’re spending more than you have. Seeing this information in front of you will help spur you to change the situation.

Net worth

Net worth shows you how much you are worth by adding up all your assets and subtracting out all your liabilities. Your net worth changes over time based on your cash flow and how you invest, and your future net worth will be projected based on a number of variables. Your plan will tell you if you’re on a safe path or not, and by starting a plan early you can make changes where needed. 

Assets and milestones

How you invest will determine how your assets grow over time. Your financial plan will show you this and will help you to make informed decisions about investing and saving. Your financial plan will also make for allowances like your child’s education fees, that trip around Europe or your kitchen upgrade, and advise you as to the best course of action.

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