What is financial planning?
Money and finance are part of everyday life. But we often open savings accounts, buy insurance, or save for retirement without thinking all our options through thoroughly.
Why is financial planning important?
Financial planning is the process of:
Assessing your objectives and goals
Taking control of your finances
Saving you time or hard work later
Making your money work for you
This process should be ongoing and long-term and flexible enough to include the things you want to do as and when you can afford to do them.
Financial planning helps you:
Sort out your priorities
Work towards long-term goals, allowing you to carry them out as and when you can afford it
Find the right tax concepts or investments, or life products to meet your needs
Be prepared for unexpected financial shocks, such as illness or losing your job
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Lifestyles – it’s all about you, you and you.
We balance our risk assessment of yourself on what kind of lifestyle you wish to lead and what is important for you to be able to do, both now and in your future plans. This can incorporate your lifestyle as well as your children’s or your children’s children.
So ask yourself, what in your lifestyle is important to you now and in the future, what do you want and what can you not do without?
For those who have never undertaken a professional financial review before, we thought it might be helpful to describe the normal Aisa process:
The advice process normally requires an initial fact-finding process, which we are happy to conduct without charge or obligation. This would generally last for one hour or more, depending on the complexity of your financial situation. By appointment, it can be held at our offices or on agreed media that you are happy with. Home visits are no longer normal, although we accept that some documents and information that will be required can be found more easily here. Daytime or early evening contact can be arranged to suit with an allowance for different time zones.
Our adviser will explain the services that we offer and how we charge for those services. You will be presented with specific disclosure documents to confirm this information.
We are required to formally identify you by seeing either your (original) passport or photocard driving licence. In addition, we are required to prove your address by viewing a recent utility bill (within the last 3 months), mortgage or bank statement, motor or insurance certificate, etc. It is now a requirement that we hold a photocopy of these documents on file, therefore it would help if you could get a copy prepared in advance as we prefer not to take your originals.
We will listen to your requirements, your views and concerns on related matters and take notes. Before giving advice, we are required to gather some information about you and possibly your partner, including occupation, income, outgoings, assets, liabilities and existing arrangements and policies, if relevant. You do not have to give us this information, of course, but our advice can only be based upon the level of information given.
By the end of this initial discussion, we would normally have agreed the best way forward with you. Remember that this is a ‘getting to know you’ time, after which you (or we!) may decide either that no further contact is required, or that we may proceed to the next stage.
We will need your written authority in order to gain any necessary up-to-date and technical information from the Providers of any of your existing arrangements, mortgages or policies. We carry a simple form for this purpose, which normally also appoints us as the servicing agent for the policy until further notice, so that any future queries or alterations can be dealt with efficiently.
At this stage we would agree our service proposition and payment.
Taking account of the facts gained, your views and aspirations and using our industry knowledge and experience, our adviser will then carry out a plan, if appropriate, and ‘whole of market’ research in accordance with your specific needs. The length of time this takes will vary, but can sometimes depend on timely receipt of the correct information from the existing Providers.
We use up-to-date research and specific analysis tools to narrow down the individual solutions for each Client. For example, we could look at costs and charges, fund performance, fund ratings, the financial strength of the Providers, investment portfolio planning, risk categories, asset allocation, comparison of insurance policy cover, etc…The time taken will vary for each case, until a printed report is produced detailing the research carried out and the reasoning behind it. A recommendation is then produced for the best considered solution.
A follow-up discussion may be arranged in order to confirm our thought process and to confirm your views, aspirations and plans. This meeting gives us the option of revising the plan after further research, however, if everything has already been covered then we are able to go straight into the implementation process.
A meeting would then be arranged either person to person or via electronic media in order to present and explain our findings and recommendations, and to commence the process of financial advice.
After full discussion and possibly after further amendments or meetings, the way forward would then normally be agreed and any necessary action undertaken on your behalf. You would then receive a letter or report from us summarising the main facts, your requirements, our research and reasons for our recommendations and the action taken. This can form a handy reminder for you in future when you review your situation again.