Just start the financial check-up:
Noel Whittaker said, “Life is full of uncertainties. Future investment earnings and interest and inflation rates are not known to anybody. However, I can guarantee you one thing.. those who put an investment program in place will have a lot more money when they come to retire than those who never get around to it”.
This meaningful quotation made me realize that we need to make regular financial check-ups to ensure that we have enough to meet our financial goals in life. Planning for financial goals require taking into consideration the present rates of earnings on investments, future earnings and rate of inflation that would affect our lifestyle and financial goals. It is vital that we all realize that regular reviewing our finances according to our changing dreams, needs and aspirations and making necessary changes would help meet our financial goals.
Marriage and a merger of personal finance:
Marriage could be the first circumstance that calls for reviewing financial needs. Getting married means not just end of bachelorhood/spinsterhood, but additional expenses of managing household and financial needs of one’s spouse. Likewise 2-paypackets calls for necessity to review the fruitful investment of excess income. I would say that marriage brings along with it future goals like buying a house, planning for children and so on and additional expenses involved in this planning.
Kids and their Future:
The innocent face of kids brings joys to the couple’s life, with the added responsibility to plan for additional finances required for their upbringing, education, medical expenses and marriage. In addition, don’t we as parents feel that we have to leave behind an inheritance that our children would love to treasure?
Health is Wealth:
Regular financial check-ups is required not just after marriage and kids, but God forbid, death, long term sickness and accidents are eventualities that can change everything for a family; these unforeseen contingencies can lead to major turmoil and depletion in finances.
Switching your job or transition to a business:
Regular financial check-ups are also required considering the change of employment or business activity. Regular jobs bring regular income and regular investments, while increases would mean more of investments. Also irregular and cyclical income means saving and investing more in times of high income; as in surgeons, artists, consultants investment and insurance advisors for times of income crisis.
In addition, can anyone of us afford to miss on the effects that inflation plays on our financial planning? Periodic financial check-ups ensure we are self-sufficient in old age. Other factors like windfall gains could also make differences in our finances. So it is very true to say that regular financial check-ups or reviews would help make adjustments in financial plans in the most optimum way.
What do regular financial check-ups give me?
Expecting the Unexpected:
Deepak Chopra aptly said, “Even when you think you have your life all mapped out, things happen that shape your destiny in ways you might never have imagined”.
It is right that budgeting regularly would help all of us to pin-point where we are overspending and need to economize to fulfill goals. It is true that this would help increase savings for investments. It would be right to say here that regular financial check-ups help to review financial needs and also set up sufficient contingent or emergency fund that come in handy in emergencies; sickness, accident and unemployment. Ideally it should be 3 to 6 months of your family expenses. This would come in handy in case of emergency.
How very true it is that insurance forms an important part of financial planning as it provides for not just financial protection on death, but also for illness and future needs. Constant and regular financial check-ups is necessary here also to provide for increased insurance needs, with planning early in life helping reduce premium costs and refusal for insurance.
Net worth Tracking:
It has been well said by Noel Whittaker, “Becoming wealthy is not a matter of how much you earn, who your parents are, or what you do, it is a matter of managing your money properly”. We would be smart in preparing a balance sheet of our family finances. Like a business balance sheet, this could enlist assets like contingency fund, various investments, interest earnings, pension, provident fund, insurance and other immovable assets we have and also enlist the liabilities like expenditure on children’s education, marriage, medical expenses, retirement expenses and cost of inflation on financial reserves. Constant updating would not only give an idea of your exact financial standing, but would also help to make appropriate financial planning changes.
Other Review Triggers:
1. A special mention needs to be made regarding regular financial check-up with regard to mutual funds; the change of fund manager and other changes in investment portfolio need to be considered.
2. How very true it is that regular financial check-ups help in maintaining excellent financial health. Budgets need to be reviewed every month, with financial consultants advising their clients to review their investments every 3 months and make the necessary changes.
3. There may however not be a need to make changes if the portfolio is as planned, though in certain cases like big change in financial goals or with new guidelines of investment necessary changes may have to be made in the investment plans.
To conclude how very true it is that uncertainty is an important ingredient of life, but managing your money properly could give you the stability and peace of mind to face your financial goals confidently.
The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.