Comprehensive Financial Planning is a professional service which involves the development of strategies for clients who need objective assistance in organising their personal or corporate financial affairs to more readily achieve their goals. Professional Financial Planners strive to help their clients define, review and attain their financial goals and objectives with less risk and cost than if they tried to do this themselves.

A typical financial plan will contain some or all of the following reports within which professional recommendations would be made:

  • Life Goals Planning
  • Cash Flow Planning
  • Investment Planning
  • Personal Risk Planning
  • Personal Protection Planning
  • Tax Planning and Mitigation
  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning

SIX STEP PROCESS –The Financial Planning Process

The comprehensivel financial planning process consists of the following six steps:

1-Establish and define the client-planner relationship.

The personal Financial Planner should clearly explain and document the services that he or she will provide to the client and define both his/her and the client’s responsibilities during the personal financial planning engagement. The personal Financial Planner should explain fully how he or she will be paid and by whom. Client and planner should agree on how long the professional relationship should last and on how decisions will be made.

2-Gather client data, including goals.

The personal Financial Planner should ask for information about the client/s financial situation. Client/s and planner should mutually define the client’s personal and financial goals, understand the time frame for results and discuss, if relevant, how the client/s feel about risk. The personal Financial Planner should gather all the necessary documents before giving advice as needed.

3-Analyse and evaluate financial status.

The personal Financial Planner should analyse the client/s information to assess their current situation and determine what they must do to meet their goals. Depending on what services client/s have asked for, this could include analysing assets, liabilities and cash flow, current insurance coverage, investments or tax strategies.

4-Develop and present Financial Planning recommendations and/or alternatives.

The personal Financial Planner should offer financial planning recommendations that address their client/s’ goals, based on the information you provide. The planner should go over the recommendations with their client/s to help them understand so that they can make informed decisions. The planner should also listen to client/s’ concerns and revise the recommendations as appropriate.

5-Implement the Financial Planning recommendations.

The client/s and the personal Financial Planner should agree on how the recommendations will be carried out. The planner may carry out the recommendations or serve as the client/s’ coach, coordinating the process with them and other professionals such as lawyers, accountants or stockbrokers.

6-Monitor the Financial Planning recommendations.

The client/s and the personal Financial Planner should agree on who will monitor progress towards the client/s’ goals. If the planner is in charge of the process, he or she should report to the client periodically to review their situation and adjust the recommendations, if needed, as their lives change.

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