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Holistic Financial Planning? What is it?

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Holistic Financial Planning takes a look at all aspects of your financial and your personal life, before building a plan for your money. It takes into considerationyour position today, where you want to be and then goes on to create a plan to help you get there.

In contrast, traditional financial advice very much focuses on a targeted area of your finances, such aspensions,investments, insurance or tax.

The Benefits of Holistic Financial Planning?

Taking a holistic approach to financial planning will help you torecognise the actions needed to reach your goals, both now and in the future. The benefits of holistic financial planning can be both intangible and tangible.

How does the Holistic Financial Planning Process work?

There are usually 4 steps to holistic financial planning:

1. Setting Financial Goals

The first stagein holistic financial planning is deciding where you want to be.

What are your goals, your dreams and your aspirations for the future? What do you want to achieve? What is on your bucket list?

Perhaps you want to retire at 55, or maybe you want more freedom to do the travelling you have always wanted to. Whatever it may be, write it down. These will now form your written confirmation of what you’re working, investing and saving for.

Holistic financial planning begins with the end in mind and pretty much works back from there. If you don’t know what you want to get out of life, you have nothing to build from to make financial decisions.

The saying goes, Youonly get out of life exactly what you put into it. However, if you don’t know what you want to get out of life, how can you know what you should put into it?

At my Independent Financial Adviser firm, we take a full and holistic approach to financial planning. Only by getting a real understanding of what you want out of life can we truly advise you what you need to put in.

2. Financial Health Check

The next step in holistic financial planning is to understand where you are right now.

This is mainly about getting a crystal clear picture of your finances. What assets do you have and how are they performing? If you’ve got an old pension policy, is it working hard for you or just sitting there idle? Is it really cost-effective or are you paying too much in fees? Are the funds your pension is invested in the right ones for you?

You need to complete a comprehensive audit of your financial assets. From pensions to expenses, insurances to investments, appraising your current position and deciding what could be done to improve it.

  • It helps to answer these important questions:
  • Am I really saving enough?
  • Could my pensions be improved?
  • Will I be OK if something goes wrong?
  • Can I lower my tax bill?

The results of your financial health check will give you a clear picture of your current financial position.

3. Financial Planning Analysis

The next stagein holistic financial planning is to design a plan that will get you from where you are today to where you want to be.

To do this, you need to generate a forecast for your finances.

Start by adding up how much you have coming in and how much is going out per month. Then you factor in your savings, pensions and investments. You can do this on a spreadsheet, or you can work with an independent financial adviser.

The outcome is a full cash flow report. This will indicate one of two outcomes – either you are on track to reach your goals, or, quite simply, you’re not.

Don’t worry though if you’re not on track. There are certain steps that you can take to fix this, such as:

  • Improving the return on your investments
  • Reduce your investment costs
  • Find ways to pay less tax
  • Save a little bit more

By the end, you will have a comprehensive plan of action for your finances.

4. Your Financial Action Plan

The final stagein holistic financial planning is to take the necessary action.

You now know where you want to be, you fully understand where you are right now and you have a solid plan to bridge the gap. But without taking the right action, nothing will change for you. You need to take action and  make the changes that have been identified in the last step.

If you do need to save that little bit more, contact your pension company and increase your pension contributions. If you found you need to spend less, create a budget and hold yourself accountable to it.

Nothing is going to change for you unless you change it. As always we recommend working with an independent financial adviser, they can help. They will check in with you on a regular basis, holding you accountable to your actions.

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