Financial plans come in many forms. One term that is increasingly heard is lifestyle financial planning.
In case you haven’t heard about it or simply want to learn more about this subject, then you have come to the right place. This guide tells you everything you need to know about lifestyle financial planning.
What is Lifestyle Financial Planning?
What can be a great financial plan for one person can be a path to financial ruin for another. At its heart, this is what lifestyle financial planning addresses.
A lifestyle financial plan is tailored to suit an individual’s needs and goals. These “lifestyle goals” are what the lifestyle financial plans aim to achieve.
Or, to put it another way – A lifestyle financial plan is a series of financial decisions taken to help you achieve and maintain a desired quality of life, backed by financial security, at the earliest opportunity. It takes into account the lifestyle you are aiming for and the lifestyle you want now.
Lifestyle Financial Planning is a relatively new approach that isn’t just about selling you insurance or pension plans. Rather it takes a more holistic approach that requires a deep understanding of the client and their relationship with money matters.
To achieve this, lifestyle financial advisors really get to know and understand their clients. This includes understanding the way of life they are aiming for and what lifestyle they want to enjoy in the present.
The next section explores the steps involved in creating a lifestyle financial plan in a little more detail.
What is involved in a Lifestyle Financial Plan?
While, by their very nature, lifestyle financial plans vary from person to person, most will follow a logical and simple set of steps to draw up the plan.
1. Draw up your lifestyle goals and needs
The first part of any plan is to set out the goals that the plan aims to achieve. This sets the benchmarks and milestones that your financial plan should aim for. Answering a few simple questions is a great way to start the process; these should include such questions as:
- Where do I want to live?
- At what age do I want to retire?
- What are my recreational needs?
- Do I plan to travel the world or just potter in the garden when I retire?
- What type of car do I want to drive?
The answers to these questions and others can be used to define the financial goals you need to aim for.
2. Current and future income
With a set of reasonable financial goals from step one, the next step is to consider your income and how it can be allotted to achieve the stated goals. Income and capital that can be considered in the plan include:
Although individuals can draw up their own investment plans, for most people, using a lifestyle financial planner is the best choice. Consider that your plan must account for inflation, potential loss of income, death, disability, legal action, and you begin to get an idea of the complexity of a tailored lifestyle financial plan.
Good financial plans must be flexible enough to cope with these variances, but this isn’t the end of the matter. Lifestyle financial planning should also include strategies not just for your long-term goals but also for your short-term and intermediate goals.
These goals affect the choice of your investment strategy. For instance, short-term goals will require a safer investment strategy than your long-term goals will. Long-term investments can afford to be riskier as the markets have time to smooth out variances and dips in the value of such investments.
For the layman, understanding the markets in enough depth to make qualified judgements on the type of investment required is not something that can be achieved overnight. This is where a reputable financial planner with all the relevant information and market “nous” is essential.
3. Set Milestones
Flexibility is the key to any good financial plan. But this flexibility is fairly pointless if investment strategies and income are not constantly measured against milestones to make sure your plan is proceeding along the right track.
Frequent milestones should be set, then checked against the reality of the situation. This includes milestones that can be used to compare the amount of money you planned to have at a particular stage against your actual worth at the same stage.
If you are lucky or have taken sound and wise advice, then you may find yourself ahead of the game. However, the beauty of this is that if your plan is lagging, measures can be taken to get it right back on target. In the very worse scenarios, it may be that you have to scale back either your short or long-term aspirations. But, milestones allow you to do this and still remain focused on your desires and dreams.
Lifestyle financial plans must offer this flexibility. They should be versatile enough to adapt to changing marketplaces, circumstances, and shifts in financial goals and targets.
And it is this ability that has driven the surge in the popularity of a financial plan system that is perfect for the modern world and the changing ways we work, live and play.
Lifestyle financial plans are more than just buzzwords. This is a modern and flexible approach to financial planning that pairs financial goals with financial circumstances and designs a path to achieve current, mid, and long-term financial and lifestyle goals.
At Financial Architects, this is what we do. If you want to know more about how we can help smooth a tailored path to financial freedom, why not contact us today and discover more about the benefits of lifestyle financial planning.
Financial Architects Ltd t/a Financial Architects is Regulated by the Central Bank Of Ireland.