Designing and Building Your Financial Plan

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Saving, investing and building your financial plan can be an overwhelming prospect. Sometimes it can be easier to keep putting the idea off, leaving it as something you’ll deal with next year and maybe the year after. However, we maintain that the best time to start saving, investing and designing your financial plan is right now, because the sooner you start saving, the more you’ll accumulate.

We have noted 6 important financial considerations below which will help you on the path to designing and building your financial plan:

1. What are your financial goals?
What do you want to save for? What are you planning for that is going to cost a lot of money? Do you want to buy a house? Would you like to celebrate a milestone birthday in style? Are you planning to contribute to your children’s university fees? Or maybe you’re dreaming of an around-the-world adventure. Whatever your goals, it’s a good idea to prioritize them as some will be looming, while others are still a way off.
Giving your goals a time frame can help you decide whether to save for one goal at a time, or several simultaneously.

2. How soon do you want to achieve your goals?
If your goal is short term – for example, you want to go travelling next year, or you aim to buy a house in four years’ time – then your best option might be to save in a straightforward deposit (savings) account. This way, you can get access to your money when you need it and it won’t be at risk of any sudden fluctuations in value. But very low interest rates mean your savings may not be keeping up with the rising cost of living.
If you’re saving for a longer-term goal – for example, to help your children go to university in ten years’ time, or to make your retirement as comfortable as possible – then investing your money in funds in tune with your aims and your time frame could potentially be a good way to grow the value of your money.
Often the best way to prepare for your future goals is to have some money on deposit to act as an emergency / contingency fund and then consider investing your remaining funds over the short, medium and longer term.

3. Have you considered an ‘emergency fund’?
Setting some money aside, or contributing regularly to an emergency fund is a prudent reason to save. We recommend that all our customers have their emergency fund structured prior to making any investment decisions.
Having an emergency fund in-place will give you peace of mind to know you can cover unexpected expenses.

4. What about a retirement plan?
If you think you’re too young to be planning for retirement, or if you think you’ve left it too late, please think again. No one is too young to begin saving for retirement and it’s never too late to make a good plan. If you think about it, you could be retired over 20-30 years or more! You will need money to do all those things you always wanted to do, but couldn’t because you didn’t have time.
Putting a pension in place should be one of the things at the top of your list when creating a financial plan. There are many benefits and if you’re young, investing your money for your retirement early could leave you much better off in the long run. If your retirement is imminent, upping your investments and taking good financial advice now could make a big difference to your future lifestyle.

5. Would you like expert advice?
When you’re planning for your financial future, we recommend speaking to a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). Terms such as investing, insurance and retirement planning can be unfamiliar to many people, which is exactly where a Certified Financial Planner can help. Talk through your finances and your goals with an adviser and they can create a realistic plan tailored to your situation. If you want to achieve your goals by investing but have more questions than answers, a good planner will help you create a portfolio based on your preferences and your tolerance for risk.

6. What’s the best financial advice?
Start now – don’t put it off. Spending a few hours putting a financial plan in place is well worth the sacrifice – you will be living the benefits of it for years to come and you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you have a plan. The sooner you take control of your money and your financial future, the sooner you’ll benefit.
Gerard O’Brien LL.B LL.M CFP® QFA is a Certified Financial Planner and the Owner of Heritage Wealth Management, a Financial Planning practice based at 27 Cook Street, Cork. For more information, contact Gerard at gerard@heritagewealth.ie www.heritagewealth.ie
Disclaimer: All data and information provided within this article is for informational purposes only. Heritage Wealth Management Limited makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.

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