Financial planning is an ongoing process and one that's about a lot more than just money. What it's really about is helping you to plan out the life you want to live, and then using money to make that a reality.
An ideal life is something personal and specific to each person but, in this video, financial planning advocate HELENA WARDLE outlines steps that everyone can take to clarify their values and answer the important questions.
Robin Powell: A common misconception about financial planning is that it’s all about money. Of course, money is a hugely important part of it. But, fundamentally, financial planning is about identifying the life you want for yourself and then making it happen. Helena Wardle is a businesswoman, author and financial planning advocate.
Helena Wardle: I think if we break it down in a really simplistic way, money is there to fund the life that want to live. What we want all varies. What’s important to us all varies, and I think when you break it down and look at – “OK, I’ve identified these are the elements that are really important to me to focus on” – it actually makes your decision making far easier. It means you’ve got more clarity about what you want to compromise on. It means you’re clearer on deciding different directions that you might need to choose from, and I think all of those things help people make better decisions and feel so much more content in their lives.
RP: These sorts of questions are all very pertinent. But many of us go through life without properly addressing them. If that sounds like you, it’s time to stop procrastinating.
HW: Even in saying that – “make time to address these big things” – I can hear the internal groan for a lot of busy people. The reality is that it takes up headspace, whether you think it does or doesn’t. Worrying about how to fund this, or how to make a decision around investing or changing your pension: all of these kinds of things sit on your brain space, whether you like it or not. And actually taking time to just break down: what is important to you? What direction would you like things to go in? And how would you try to aim to get there? I think it’s incredibly valuable.
RP: Having a financial plan will give you that clarity that Helena is talking about. But it’s not something you can set and forget. Financial planning is an ongoing process.
HW: I think it’s incredibly important to remember, life changes all the time. And it doesn’t always have to be enormous changes: some changes are incredibly out of our control, such as legislative changes, changing rules around investing or tax or whatever that could impact on your money. But the most important things is what you may aim for or what you may feel is important can change as well. It’s just part of being human, and what you need to always remember is that your plan is not something that you’re married to, it’s not set in stone that that’s how things are going to happen. No-one has a crystal ball. What it should give you is a really strong foundation, good direction, and the ability to flex.
RP: So, if you’re looking for an adviser, ignore anyone who launches straight into a discussion on the financial markets. You need someone instead who’s primarily interested in you — and the life that you want to lead.