One of the first steps in the financial planning journey is the ‘discovery’ meeting; where you meet with a financial planner and they get to find out about you; your worries, concerns, needs and aspirations for the future. It is at this initial meeting, when discussing goals, our planners often hear those dreaded words, “we just want to get better returns than we would in the bank.” Really? Surely that’s not a life goal!?
So What is a Goal?
A goal can be classed as something you hope to achieve by a certain time in your life; for example before you turn a certain age, before you retire or before you die. You will likely have both shorter-term and longer-term goals. It might be that you want to be able to afford to retire early, take a trip of a lifetime or to help your child or grandchild with their wedding or house purchase. Other goals might be a little less conventional such as buying your dream car or wanting to give up work to start your own business. Everyone is different and everyone will have their own plans for the future.
What Happens Next?
Once your needs and goals have been established, the planner gets to work on creating a personalised financial plan for you. Your plan includes objectives and actions on how we can help you achieve them. We can also ‘stress-test’ your finances by changing some of the inputs to help answer questions such as, ‘If I was unable to work, could we still afford to pay the mortgage?’, ‘If I retired earlier, would we still have enough money in retirement?’, ‘Can we afford to gift some money to the children and still be able to achieve our goals?” This can be really beneficial as it can provide you with peace of mind knowing how well your finances can cope with significant and challenging life events. This will also highlight if there is a shortfall in savings or protection and what we need to do to turn this around.
My Life Road Map…
My fiancé and I have had the odd conversation here and there about what we want out of our future but we’ve never really discussed it in detail – especially not with timeframes. Writing this blog prompted me to initiate a few conversations over dinner…
We are expecting our first child in August; so a short-term goal for us is to continue building up our savings should we need some additional money while I am on maternity leave. Although we hope not to use it, with my partner being self-employed, having some additional savings would put a lot less pressure on him in quieter work periods and would also allow him to take some guilt-free time off to spend some quality time with me and the baby once he/she is born.
Within the next three years, we hope to be married. Although we’ve started giving it some thought already, the wedding planning will properly commence when I return to work after my maternity leave, when we can concentrate on saving. Any surplus money from the baby fund can give us a head start with this. Within the next nine years, we hope to have moved into our ‘forever home’ although we’ll definitely need a house move in-between to accommodate the mass of ‘stuff’ accumulated from our growing family.
It seems like such a long time off for both of us but we both agree that we need to give some proper thought to our retirement and start making personal contributions into a pension – sooner rather than later!
Longer-term, we would like to think about saving some money so we can financially assist our child(ren) with their house deposit/wedding when the time comes. Also, looking into the far future, we hope that we will be able to spend a considerable amount of our retirement abroad; ideally by downsizing our property here and purchasing a holiday home. We haven’t put a timeframe on when this will be (yet!) as it all depends on how our retirement saving goes and what our State Pension age is – it currently stands at 68 for both of us but it will no doubt increase!
What Are Your Goals?
If you haven’t already given it some proper thought, start to think about your goals and when you hope to achieve them by. If you would like some help getting you on the right path to achieving them or need help getting your finances in order, give one of our friendly planners a call.