3 KEYS TO SUCCESS IN FINANCIAL PLANNING

What is the difference between those who achieve their financial dreams, and those who don’t? This article explores to 3 keys to success in financial planning – what you need to do to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of securing your future, and therefore living your dreams.

Key points

  • Write your financial plan down
  • Involve someone else
  • Keep learning
  • Get your free financial priorities checklist

Write your financial plan down

If you write your plan down you are much more likely to use the plan on a regular basis. It follows that you are therefore much more likely to achieve your financial goals. Of course, you also need to actually look at the plan on a regular basis. You need to develop the habits necessary to drive action. If you can make your plan as simple as possible, so that you focus only on the key drivers to success, you will give yourself a chance of taking action.

Involve someone else

If you have the courage to outline your future plans to someone else, this will make you accountable to yourself and them. You would be surprised how motivating this can be. You need to schedule regular appointments with this person to ensure that you keep reviewing your progress. If you keep your plans to yourself you need to be extremely motivated over a long period of time. This is unlikely to be sustainable forever. Involving someone else in your financial plan makes you accountable and keeps you motivated.

So who should you involve in your financial plan? Well, the choice is yours, but I would suggest any or all of the following:

Your partner

You should involve your partner or spouse, since many of the decisions taken will involve them. You may not have discussed such weighty issues in the past, at least to any significant degree. You probably share many similarities in how you approach financial planning. Despite this, there are likely to be differences in how you approach many of the possible solutions. Your approach to risk and your priorities regarding your goals and dreams are likely to be quite different. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your views are the same. The more you discuss these issues with your partner then the bigger the likelihood that you will achieve a harmonious future for you both.

If you involve your partner in your financial plan on a regular basis you will also be able to share the load. The process should be more fun and more motivating as a result. You can also avoid conflicts where certain behaviours or spending patterns can be avoided which do not fit into the ultimate goals.

I apply this on a regular basis in my own family life. All my financial decisions are taken together with my wife (who is also my business partner). We have an agreed plan for the short-term and long-term so that we take financial decisions together within the confines of this arrangement. What this means is that financial issues are never a source of conflict between us since we both understand the bigger picture. We can take bigger decisions in the context of the overall plan, meaning that we are less likely to be taken off track by short-term desires or emotional decisions. More importantly, we hold each other to account and keep each other motivated. It is a powerful thing.

Other confidantes

You could share your financial plans with any other trusted person. This could be a friend or a mentor. It really does not matter who you share your plans with, so long as they share your vision for your future and work with you to get there. You should choose someone who will not hold you back since they will have a significant influence on your decisions and your motivation. They will also be a great source of inspiration by recommending other sources of learning.

I apply this in my personal and professional life too. We have a business coach and a fitness coach. We use both people as a trusted mentor to help to keep us moving towards our declared goals. They both help to keep us on the course we have set so that we are much more likely to keep taking the small steps necessary to achieving our various goals. By constantly keeping to the agreed process we have set we remain accountable to ourselves and stay motivated. I know that when I work with these coaches I achieve far more than I would do alone, because I keep my focus.

Financial planner

If you have a Financial Planner that you should also share your plan with them. They will be in a prime position to give you practical and technical guidance.

Keep learning

You must commit yourself to constant self-improvement, through whichever medium suits you. There is a vast array of excellent financial resources out there. You just need to find those which suit your own needs and how you see the world.

New ideas

Constant learning brings a ready source of new ideas. The world is constantly changing and finance is definitely at the forefront of change. While financial planning is pretty fundamental, the decisions you make will depend on the technical products and rules at the time. Therefore you need to be open to new ideas on a regular basis so that you do not fall behind what you need to know. Not only that, you will need to build on your existing knowledge to help you to make better financial decisions. If you expose yourself to a regular stream of new ideas and concepts  you can start to make effective decisions.

Sharpen your skills

Constant learning will sharpen your financial skills in ways you cannot predict. Your decisions will become clearer, quicker and more effective. Your mistakes will be fewer and less important since you will be learning and applying from those who have made and avoided these mistakes. Remember, there is little out there that is completely new, but that does not necessarily mean that you know about it. Therefore, you should embark on a journey of constant self-improvement. I promise that you will not regret it.

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Dan Woodruff

Certified Financial Planner & Chartered Wealth Manager at Woodruff Financial Planning
Financial Planning helps you to navigate and anticipate significant life changes. I want to help you to ensure your money is managed wisely to give you the financial security that will fund the future and lifestyle that is important to you.

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