There are three important components to a financial plan: an assessment of your current financial situation, a vision of what you want for the future, and a strategy for how to get from one to the other. The first part is easy, because it is simply a case of putting together a few numbers and doing some analysis. This is an objective exercise which has a clear answer. The hard part is setting the vision for the future. Many people struggle to uncover what they want to do with the rest of their lives and how money can help them achieve the things they want to do. Yet the power of a financial plan is as much in the vision as it is in the strategies. Those who have a strong, clear, unified vision of what they want will achieve more than those who don’t.
The vision for a financial plan is not about how much money you want to make, but about how you want to live your life. It goes beyond the physical trappings of life such as fast cars, flash houses and jet-setting around the world to the very core of what brings about happiness. Things like security, having a comfortable life free of financial stress, being able to spend more time with family or engaging in pleasurable activities are the ultimate drivers of financial strategies. A great way to get clarity around your vision is to pick a point in time in the future and describe a day in your life at that time. Where are you living? Who are you living with? How do you spend your time? What are the things that are really important to you then? The more detailed a picture you can paint, the easier it will be to achieve your vision.