How to plan for 2017 like a financial adviser
Regardless of whether you like to make a new year’s resolution or not, the new year always feels somewhat like a fresh start. For most people, they have at the minimum a few extra days off than normal, meaning a little bit of extra time to recharge for the year ahead.
For others, *cough* Me, *cough*, we love to assess the last year and make plans for the new. I’m a planner by nature, what can I say.
I think the reason some people shy away from new year’s resolutions is that they don’t follow through, or probably more importantly, don’t make any specific plans to follow through.
Given that my job is to look at someone’s situation and literally make a road map as to how to get there from a financial standpoint, I can apply the same skills and planning to make 2017 amazing. So, I thought I’d write a post outlining the things that I do to plan for the year ahead.
- Actually make a plan. Sounds basic but the simple act of making a plan is where the gold lies. For each and every client that I see I write out a plan. It’s unique and outlines personal and financial goals within it. It’s really important for me to do this for clients because I need to make sure the financial side of things lines up to the rest, and your new year’s resolutions should be no different. So, first things first, write it all down.
- Do the maths. Now that you have some resolutions (goals/plans/whatever you want to call them), you need to figure out if they are achievable in the current situation. For example, I wrote down all the things that I think I wanted to achieve throughout the year including a holiday. You see most people stop there, but for me, I want to work out how much that holiday will cost. How much each week I would need to put away between now and then to afford that holiday and from there assess whether it is actually achievable within the time frame. If not, am I willing to forgo something else to get there? I figured out that my holiday is $6,000 all inclusive, so I need to save $150 per week if I want to go in September.
- Automate the financial side. Once you have done the maths, figured out what you can achieve and made a few adjustments if you have to, then automate the saving part of it. As above, I know that I need to put away $150 a week to achieve my holiday goal. From there, all I do is set up an automatic direct debt into a ‘holiday account’ each pay day so that the money is being whisked away before I get a chance to spend it, therefore removing the temptation to spend.
- Plan for the life stuff too. It’s all well and good to plan for the big goals, but life goes on in the interim. You will need to pay bills, petrol, insurances and groceries, so make sure you are not making your financial plan without taking these into account. And while you are at it, start putting away money each week for Christmas next year, you’ll thank me for it when you finally get there. I have spoken about this on numerous occasions so I won’t go into details, but trust me, it works and it reduces stress levels. Nuffsaid.
- Keep it visual. This is not a new concept, but it is important to keep your goals front of mind. You might like a dream chart or pinterest board, or you might just like to have your goals written in your diary or the home screen of your phone. Whatever blows your hair back. From the financial side, it will help to remind yourself why you have cut back from 2 coffees to 1 a day. Typically to achieve anything worth achieving, we must forgo something, or have higher levels of discipline in certain areas. It’s not always going to relate to money, but sometimes it will, so having the constant reminder is going to help you with the follow through.
So that’s what I did last week lying by the pool planning for the year ahead. To be honest, it’s part of the process of financial planning. Yes, there is the technical side of investing, super and insurance, but at the core, I take someone’s situation, tease out their long-term goals, and create a path to get there.
Now it’s your turn, start planning!
This post is from our resident Financial Planner Cara Brett, check out her details in the About Us section.