Goal Based Planning
Goals-based planning is the process of helping clients prioritize their financial goals and determine the optimal plan to fund them. Goals-based planning expands your focus into all aspects of your clients financial life and eliminates the retirement-only focus.
How goals-based planning works
A great many wealth management firms claim they are financial planners by defining a few large goals such as saving for retirement or leaving a legacy and recommending investment strategies to help you achieve those objectives. However, goals-based planning digs much deeper – working with you to crystalize precisely what those vague future concepts actually mean to you.
It can be a difficult challenge to work from a blank piece of paper and write those first few sentences of your financial planning story. Questions such as “What are some of the important financial goals you hope to achieve?” or “How do you envision your retirement lifestyle?” might initially be daunting. But by asking more personal questions, carefully listening to you and offering examples of what certain elements of that story might look like, a good planner can help you bring it to life. A goal of retiring at a certain age and traveling the world is merely a starting point. Meaningful planning then probes deeper into where you hope to travel, how many trips you would like to take each year, and who would be traveling with you.
Once you tease out all the more tangible underlying goals, it becomes much easier to then help you prioritize which of them are essential needs, which are important wants, and which are aspirational wishes. The goals-based planning process also looks carefully at the interactions between all the various (and sometimes competing) goals you may have. Much in the same way that a pharmacist needs to understand the interactions that can occur between various medications, you must identify potential interdependencies and/or conflicts.
But why are we even talking about Goals?
Money is simply an enabler. Having tons of money and being the richest man in graveyard is useless. Money should help you achieve your life goals.
What can be your goals?
Any or all of the following:
- Buying a house
- Buying a car
- Children’s education
- Children’s marriage
- Retirement planning
- Aiming for early retirement (and tell your boss to F*** off)
- International holiday (one time or recurring)
- Purchasing other high-value items like a diamond ring for your wife
- Putting an Emergency Fund in place
- Modifying your house
- Starting a business
Having a goal helps you know exactly why you are doing something.
In investing, having well-defined financial goals help tell you the following:
- How much you need to achieve this goal today?
- How much more will the goal cost in future?
- How much time is left to save and invest for the goal?
- How much you need to invest (regularly or one time) to achieve the goal?
And these are important questions.