Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Chris Wheatman, Lancaster

I have a plan

First, let’s just have a brief recap of blogs 1,2 and 3:

1 – ….change of plan….

  • The pandemic has meant a change of plan for many of us – so what to do and how to adapt?

2 – ….’fail to plan; plan to fail’….

  • We looked at the specifics of a plan such as the tremendous engineering feat of Panama – which, by the way, was the answer to the question: “a man, a plan, a canal, panama” – a palindrome, reads the same backwards.

3 – ….make your plans….

  • How to make your plan – start at the end and work backwards – then be ‘SMART’.

I have a plan, what do I do with it?

Firstly, be reassured, not many people actually get to this point with their financial planning. Usually, it becomes a lost cause as they drown in a multitude of figures, attempting to do everything possible ‘on the back of a fag packet’.

We need some help. From experience, I’ve found that the most practical help at this stage is a cash flow modelling (‘CFM’) programme – the more comprehensive, the better – because we now need to input all your information in terms of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities. So, this input will include your employment, past and present pension plans, property and attendant mortgages, investments and savings and so on – basically, any matter financial. Tricky, for sure, but worthwhile accumulating all this information as accurately as possible (otherwise, “garbage in, garbage out”).

Now comes the magical part: press ‘go’ and all those inputted figures spring to life, producing a cash flow chart revealing instant results: does your plan float? Or is there ‘red’ further down the timeline, indicating that you are going to run out of money? I do like that sense of trepidation when all the information is inputted, checked and double checked, then you press go and watch your financial life unravel in front of your eyes.

So now, not only do we have a plan, we have it all ‘digitised’ in front of us and ready to go – or, at least, ready to go if there is no ‘red’ on the chart (more about this in our next blog). You can now sit back, relax and I’ll see you at 60………

Unfortunately, not so! One of the most important things to remember with your new programme, set up to map your financial plan, is that the following day it is out of date. Now, I’m not suggesting that you check your financial data every day, but quite clearly the CFM programme is put together using investment values that alter daily, along with a myriad of assumptions, not least inflation.

But consider this: Imagine you’re on a flight from London to New York; unbeknown to you, most of the time the plane is off the flight path and requires the autopilot to constantly bring it back on course, depending on weather conditions, altitude, wind speed and so on. So, similarly, we need a constant, regular vigilance – planning, forecasting and re-correcting – in order to make sure that you are still on track. I recommend every six months, or whenever there is a significant change in your circumstances, whichever comes sooner.

Our plan has launched and now we’re ’up and running’ – so I think that’s enough for today – in the next blog we’ll explore the nuances of the cash flow programme planning, especially ‘what ifs’ and then go on to look at a handful of ‘top tips’.

Get in touch and let’s chat – 0113 2687928 or email at info@advicemattersfinancialplanning.com

Chris

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