PiMoney | Understanding Financial Planning and the key areas of a Financial Plan
Pimoney.com helps you chose the best investment options in India
Mutual funds, moneycontrol, investment options in India, investment options for NRI, how to save tax, investment options for women
68
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-68,single-format-standard,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-10.1.2,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.1,vc_responsive
 

Understanding Financial Planning and the key areas of a Financial Plan

financial-planning

Understanding Financial Planning and the key areas of a Financial Plan

Spread the love

A life without goals is really not worthy.

Goals may include worldly things like buying a home, saving for your child’s education or marriage or planning for retirement or even planning a vacation. In order to accomplish these goals, a proper planning and management of your money is required.

Thus Financial planning is the process of meeting your life goals through proper management of your finances.

Globally, money environment has witnessed a sea change in the last few years. Gone are the days when there were limited investment options and investors did not have much to plan on their investments and generally, bank managers, accountants, share broker and insurance agents generally provided advice on investment to individuals. Most of it is restricted to recommending you one particular product, more often from their own parent company or is guided by their targets or commission.

But now we have multiple choices. This has added complexity to the decision-making process about our money. And thus more and more people are now turning to professional financial planner for a comprehensive roadmap on financial planning to achieve their all money related goals. A financial planner in essence, assist them to make informed decisions about their money and how it can be used to best advantage.

Financial planning essentially involves the following steps:

1. Assessment: The first step is to assess the financial position with the help of personal financial balance sheets and income statements. A personal balance sheet includes personal assets such as investments in various financial instruments, including bank, cash, property etc. The balance sheet also includes personal liabilities, which includes all the loans, credit card balance, any other liabilities.

2. Defining goals: As explained earlier goals may include worldly things like buying a home, saving for your child’s education or marriage or planning for retirement or even planning a vacation. One must also define objective and time frame of goals.

3. Making financial plan: The financial plan gives you  the structure and clear cut roadmap to achieve  your goals. A financial plan includes the investments you can make (with whatever existing fund and income sources), their expected yields, your current and expected future income and expenses. It also helps you visit your current investments and help you take a decision on whether to keep them or replace them with more secure / better yielding asset. It also help you look at the current expenses and how they might impact your financial goals.

4. Execution: An effective execution of  personal financial plan can help you achieve your financial goals. Your financial planner plays a very crucial role in helping you execute the plan.

5. Monitoring: You must take help of your financial planner to monitor your financial health and the effectiveness of the investments you have made. It is essential to monitor on a regular basis as the micro and macro economic changes might ask you to take a look into your current financial health.

Some of the key areas that a well drafted Financial Plan must include are:

a) Current financial position: This can be ascertained with the help of making a net worth statement that includes your assets and liabilities.

b) Emergency fund: Emergence fund helps you meet your emergency expenses. A reasonable amount of money which may be calculated depending on the your current lifestyle, family, flow of income.

c) Risk and Protection planning: Risks in the context of financial planning can be divided into liability (loans etc.), property (fire, theft etc.), death (loss of income to your dependents) , disability and health (medical emergencies). Lets look at the generally heard life insurance. Different people buy life insurance for different reasons, but most of us have a need for it at some point in our lives. The type we need, the amount we need, and the reasons why we need it may change; but it definitely plays a vital role in most financial plans. Here are some reasons why people purchase life insurance:

To Pay off debts
Life insurance can be an inexpensive way to make sure there is ready cash to cover any financial obligations (Loans etc.) you leave behind.

Replace your income for your family
It helps to cover the uncertainties in our life. It helps your Children to complete their education, your wife to take care of the household expenses, your dependent parents to live their life comfortably in case you are not with them.

Tax planning ( u/s 80 C )
Many people use life insurance as part of tax planning strategy designed to potentially reduce taxes.

One must choose his insurance plan with utmost care. The choices available are:

  • Term Insurance
  •  Endowment
  •  Whole Life Insurance
  •  Medical Insurance (Regular)
  •  Critical Illness
  •  Accidental and Permanent Disability
  •  Key Person Insurance
  •  Employee Benefit

Other Key Insurance requirement includes :

  •  Vehicle Insurance
  •  House Insurance
  •  Factory Insurance
  •  Travel Insurance
  •  Professional Indemnity

Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms will help you get better value for money.

d) Investment planning: What rate of return do you need to meet your goals? Are your current investments achieving the return? What is the best asset allocation (Mutual Fund, FD’s, Bullion, Cash, Insurance, PF, Bonds, Property etc.) suited to your profile. What investments opportunities do you use to implement this asset mix? What shall be the best Mutual Fund, FD and other such investments are suited to your needs?

Their is no definite answer to all these. It all depends on person to person. You may have a different risk profile, life goals, time horizon, and current portfolio than that of your friend.

e) Tax planning: Tax Planning essentially means using a strategy to either reduce or shift your current tax liabilities. Even Government allows and encourages tax saving to us. Tax planning saves you your hard earned money. And avoids last minute rush to put your money into investments such as u/s 80C. And other sections also you ample opportunity to save you your taxes.

There are investments that are totally exempted from Tax on their profit. And some get concessional tax treatment, which means they are taxed at a lower rate. It also benefits if you meticulously define out in whose name in the family to invest, so as to reduce the tax liability, if any. A salaried person can also reduce its Tax liability by various means. Lets look at some of the tax saving instruments :

U/s 80C
Public Provident Fund. Maximum amount is s. 70000/- in a year
Employee Provident Fund
National Saving Certificates
Kisan Vikas Patra
Insurance Policies
ELSS
Tax saving FDs
New pension schemes
Senior citizen saving scheme
Children Tuition fee
Repayment of housing loan (Principal)

U/s 80CCF
Specified Infrastructure bonds upto Rs. 20000/-

U/s 80D
Premium paid for mediclaim insurance for individual Rs. 15000/- and another Rs. 20000/- if paid for parents who are senior citizens

U/s 80DD
Expenditure on handicapped dependents from Rs. 50000/- to Rs. 100000/- depending on the severity

U/s 80DDB
Expenditure incurred on specified diseases or ailments

U/s 80E
Interest paid on higher education loan

U/S 24(1)(Vi)
Interest paid on housing loans

f) Retirement Planning: Old Age typically brings income Insecurity, dependency on children, medical expenses, but most of the people are generally not worried about their old age and retirement.  Let’s start tackling the how of retirement planning by asking the No.1 retirement question: “How much money do I need at the time of my retirement’’ ?

The answer to this question contains some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: There really is no single number that would guarantee everyone an adequate retirement. It depends on many factors, including your desired standard of living, your expenses (including any medical costs) and your target retirement age. Now for the good news: It’s entirely possible to determine a reasonable number for your own retirement needs. All it involves is answering a few questions and doing some number crunching. Providing you plan ahead and estimate on the conservative side, it’s entirely possible for you to accumulate a nest egg sufficient to last you through your golden years. There are several key tasks you need to complete before you can determine what size of nest egg you’ll need in order to fund your retirement. These include the following:

Decide the age at which you want to retire.
Decide the annual income you’ll need for your retirement years. It may be wise to estimate on the high end for this number. Generally speaking, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll need about 70% – 80% of your current annual salary in order to maintain your current standard of living.
Determine a realistic annualized real rate of return (net of inflation) on your investments. Conservatively assume inflation will be 6-7 % annually.
A realistic rate of return would be 7 -10%. Again, estimate on the low end to be on the safe side.

g) Estate planning: Estate Planning essentially includes having a succession plan in place, so that your dependents, other family members and the people you love must know how your assets be distributed in an unfortunate event of you being no more in this world. If a person dies without a will or trust, known as dying intestate, he / she generally leaves heirs confused or fighting over who gets what from their assets.
In order to have a good succession plan in place, one must consider the following :
• Decide whether you need will or living trust!
Both are part of estate planning. A Will act as a guide on distribution of assets. Living trust is generally safer and let your assets be distributed in a cost effective manner and without the hassle of probate of will. You can have a living trust that allows you manage your assets during your life. And after your demise these assets are then passed on to your beneficiaries. Trusts are more helpful when you have valuable properties and / or a complex successor tree. Having both will and trust is a better idea in certain cases.

Who shall be the beneficiaries
• If your children are still very young then who shall be their guardian
• Who shall be the best person to execute your will or act as successor trustee
• Assignment of medical power of attorney
You must take inventory of all your assets, which includes your
• Immovable and movable property
• Financial assets such as shares, bonds, insurance policies
• Business interests
After you have taken the stock of all your assets, name the beneficiaries to whom you wish to pass on your assets. You can make changes in your will any time; make sure to add details of the old will to avoid any ambiguity. You must also review your succession plan regularly, especially if you there is a change in your marital status or a new baby is born.

Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms will help you get better value for money.

No Comments

Post A Comment