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What is Financial Planning ?

Financial planning is a long-term process of setting objectives, assessing assets and resources, estimating future financial needs, and making plans to achieve monetary goals. Many elements may be involved in financial planning; including investing, asset allocation, and risk management, tax, retirement, and estate planning are typically included as well.

Financial planning plays a starring role in helping individuals get the most out of their money. Careful planning can help individuals and couples set priorities and work steadily towards long-term goals. It may also provide protection against the unexpected, by helping individuals prepare for things such as unexpected illness or loss of income. 

Financial planning may mean different things to different people. For one person, it may mean planning investments to provide security during retirement. For another, it may mean planning savings and investments to provide money for a dependent's college education. Financial planning may even involve making career-related decisions or choosing the right insurance products. 

Many individuals choose to use the services of financial planners to help them reach their goals. A financial planner is a professional who provides advice and guidance for a wide spectrum of financial planning issues. Financial planners may or may not be certified and offer varied levels of experience, education, and delivery methods. 

Though a financial planner may make developing a financial plan easier, it can be an overwhelming experience looking for a qualified and trust financial planner. The decision to hire a financial planner may depend on many things, including the financial worth of the individual, his or her goals for the future, and the amount of research the individual is willing to perform.

All too often, people delay planning for the future. They may feel such planning should take a back seat to staying financially afloat in the present. However, even those living from paycheck to paycheck can benefit from financial planning by creating a budget. A budget can be used to determine what is actually spent each month and find ways to trim or even eliminate unnecessary or out-of-control expenditures. 

The right time to create a financial plan is right now. No matter what your income level or what your hopes for the future, you need a solid plan to achieve your goals. Drifting through life without carefully set goals and well-researched methods of achieving them is a recipe for disaster. To enable your money to offer you more of what you want out of life, start creating a financial plan today.

The personal financial planning process is according to ISO 22222:2005 a six-step process as follows:

Step 1: Setting goals with the client This step (that is usually performed in conjunction with Step 2) is meant to identify where the client wants to go in terms of his finances and life.

Step 2: Gathering relevant information on the client This would include the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the client's financial and relevant non-financial situation.

Step 3: Analyzing the information The information gathered is analyzed so that the client's situation is properly understood. This includes determining whether there are sufficient resources to reach the client's goals and what those resources are.

Step 4: Constructing a financial plan Based on the understanding of what the client wants in the future and his current financial status, a roadmap to the client goals is drawn to facilitate the achievements of those goals.

Step 5: Implementing the strategies in the plan Guided by the financial plan, the strategies outlined in the plan are implemented using the resources allocated for the purpose.

Step 6: Monitoring implementation and reviewing the plan The implementation process is closely monitored to ensure it stays in alignment to the client's goals. Periodic reviews are undertaken to check for misalignment and changes in the client's situation. If there is any significant change to the client's situation, the strategies and goals in the financial plan are revised accordingly.

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