The Financial Planning Process

The financial planning process

The key to any successful financial plan is achieving a sound personal and professional relationship with your adviser. Trust is key to any professional relationship; without trust any plans put in place are likely to be based on poor information, unsound principles or conflicting objectives.

The development of a holistic financial plan follows a clear set of steps to help discover your current financial situation and a clear understanding of your future goals and objectives. A brief outline of the steps to be undertaken between an adviser and client are outlined the illustration below.

The financial planning process

Step 1; Identifying your needs and objectives.

This initial stage serves as the foundation for the development of your financial strategy and final financial plan. This meeting is an opportunity for us to ensure we have a clear understanding of your financial goals and objectives, have agreed on the scope of the financial advice to be provided.

Step 2; Information gathering, assessing your current situation.

In this meeting we will take the opportunity to take a good look at your current situation – including current sources of income and expenses, cash flows and tax strategies, your current assets, existing insurance policies and any current financial strategies.

Armed with this information we will be equipped to assess your current situation and discuss your short and long term objectives in great depth.

Step 3; Determine & assess alternate courses of action.

More often than not the final solution is a combination of strategies that addresses both the short term goals and the longer term aspirations.

In addition, in specialised areas such as personal insurance, tax and estate planning, it is often the case that there may be several alternate courses of action, each potentially impacting on the effectiveness of the other. Combining all these elements into a final comprehensive financial plan involves the consideration of each series of options. 

Step 4; Preparing & presenting your financial plan.

We will then discuss the available options and consult with you, agreeing on the most appropriate financial strategies to achieve your goals and then prepare and present to you the financial plan known as a Statement of Advice, taking you through it in considerable detail.

If there are any suggestions or changes required these can be assessed and incorporated in the next and final version of the the Statement of Advice.

Step 5; Implementing the recommendations.

Once you are ready to proceed we can then put the financial plan into action. This will often involve the coordination of numerous interactions with new and existing product providers, and if and where necessary specialists in complimentary fields such as legal or accounting who may need to assist in putting your plans in place.

Your lifespan adviser will be there at every step of the way to assist and coordinate with you in carrying out the recommendations and the implementation of the plan.

Step 6; Reviewing your plan, and amending as needed.

Establishing a financial plan is not a single event, it is an ongoing process that will see strategies evolve and changes implemented depending upon where you are in life and any changes in your priorities, financial needs and goals. Plans can also often be impacted by legislative change or changes in the tax laws. A regular review under these circumstances is always recommended.

In such a review your Lifespan financial adviser will ascertain whether all recommended financial strategies continue to meet your needs. Should it be required, your adviser can recommend changes and adjustments to the strategy as part of an ongoing service arrangement tailored to meet your continuing needs.

How it works?

Before we ventured down the path of undertaking the detailed work involved in preparing a financial strategy and statement of advice; in our initial meeting we will seek to better understand your specific wants and needs, unique situation and what challenges you are facing in your financial life.

We will help you understand the basic principles to be applied, address any questions or doubts you may have regarding the process and our qualifications, and encourage you to ask questions to help you better understand what lies ahead.

We will also step you through some required documentation which will help you better understand how financial planning can assist you, our part in the process, and the next steps required.

Once we have completed our initial meeting and agree on the scope of the advice to be undertaken we are then able to proceed with an in-depth examination of your current financial position, your primary goals, and explore any other matters that may have an impact on your ability to achieve your financial objectives.