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Steps in the Financial Planning Process

Mr. C.S. Sudheer | Posted On Friday, June 20,2008, 11:17 AM

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Steps in the Financial Planning Process



Financial planning is the process of meeting life goals through a proper planning and management of finances. Financial planning helps us to translate our dreams and aspirations in to reality. It also helps us to provide meaning and direction to our financial decisions.

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Financial planning has to be done in a proper way, so that it can be implemented effectively. The following steps are to be followed while financial planning:  

  • Analyse your dreams and aspirations
  • Establish the goals
  • Analyse your financial status
  • Analyse your emotional status
  • Develop a plan for achieving the goals
  • Implementing the plan
  • Monitoring the plan

Analyse Your Dreams and Aspirations

All of us have got lot many things to do in life, moreover we are all dreaming of doing the same at the earliest .But normally we do not realise the possibilities of these dreams. In India most of the people have not analysed these dreams and the ways of realizing the same.

Establish the Goals

Now you have to translate your dreams and aspirations in to money. Define the time frame within which you should be able to realize your dreams. The time frame may depend on your personal goals or family goals or both together. If you think, it is difficult to meet all your goals within the specified time frame, prioritize your goals based on urgency and importance. All goals need not necessarily relate to wealth accumulation only. There could be protection goals as well.

Analyze your Financial Status

Analyzing financial status includes,
- An inventory of assets and liabilities (including securities holding, debts, insurance, etc)
- A description of the present arrangement for distribution of assets at death
- Estimates of your income and expenditure
- Details of your insurance coverage
Once you analyze all these relevant information of your own, you will come to know where you do stand and what your needs are.

Analyze Your Emotional Status

Emotional status is very important, while designing a financial plan for you. It will decide your strength to take risk or not. It will throws light on your hopes, fears, values, attitudes, preferences, biases and non-financial goals.

Develop a Plan for Achieving Your Goals

The plan, which you design, should take your present financial situation to the achievement of the objectives. A comprehensive financial plan should contain an analysis of all pertinent factors relating to your financial status.

Components of a Good Financial Plan

- your personal data
- your goals and objectives
- identification of issues and problems
- assumptions
- your balance sheet/net worth for the financial year
- cash flow management
- income tax planning
- risk management/insurance planning
- investments planning
estate planning

A well drawn plan must be tailored to you specific goals, situation and circumstances. If additional expertise is required, you should consult with a specialist in that field to help you design the overall plan. There is more than one more way for your financial goals to be achieved. If you want to try with other ways, you can first analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy. The plan should be specific. It should list what you have to do? When and with what resources?

The plan format should be such that you can easily understand and evaluate. Only once you decide that the plan well suits to your needs, you can go to the next step.

Implementing the Plan

Merely designing a plan, no matter how sound, does not constitute financial planning. A financial plan is useful to you only if it is put in to action. You have to ensure that the implementation is carried out in the manner and in accordance with the plan designed.

Monitoring the Plan

Periodic reviews are the best form of monitoring. Of course, you should keep flexibility for a review if circumstances warrant. Following are three aspects to look at in a review:-
- the performance of what has been implemented,
- changes in the personal and financial situation and objectives,
- changes in the environment (regulations, financial, economic)
If you are on track to meet your financial goals nothing else needs to be done. If that is not the case, a revision is necessary. Revision process will involve the same above discussed steps but will take lesser time.

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