Financial Planner - Considerations


Personal financial planning is broadly defined as "a process of determining an individual's financial goals, purposes in life and life's priorities, and after considering his resources, risk profile and current lifestyle, to detail a balanced and realistic plan to meet those goals." The individual's goals are used as guideposts to map a course of action on 'what needs to be done' to reach those goals.

Alongside the data gathering exercise, the purpose of each goal is determined to ensure that the goal is meaningful in the context of the individual's situation. Through a process of careful analysis, these goals are subjected to a reality check by considering the individual's current and future resources available to achieve them. In the process, the constraints and obstacles to these goals are noted. The information will be used later to determine if there are sufficient resources available to get to these goals, and what other things need to be considered in the process. If the resources are insufficient or absent to meet any of the goals, the particular goal will be adjusted to a more realistic level or will be replaced with a new goal.

Planning often requires consideration of self-constraints in postponing some enjoyment today for the sake of the future. To be effective, the plan should consider the individual's current lifestyle so that the 'pain' in postponing current pleasures is bearable over the term of the plan. In times where current sacrifices are involved, the plan should help ensure that the pursuit of the goal will continue. A plan should consider the importance of each goal and should prioritize each goal. Many financial plans fail because these practical points were not sufficiently considered.

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