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What is Financial Planning?

What is Financial Planning?

Financial Planning is an ongoing process to help you make sensible decisions about money that can help you achieve your goals in life. It is never about buying products.

The Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (a professional association of personal financial planners) believes that "Personal Financial Planning” is a client oriented process focusing on all the financial and psychological factors which have an impact on a person's life." The IAFP recommends a six-step process in creating your financial plan.

  1. Clarify your present situation,
  2. Identify your financial and personal goals and objectives,
  3. Identify financial problems or opportunities,
  4. Determine recommendations and alternative solutions,
  5. Implement the appropriate strategies to achieve your goals,
  6. Review and update your plan periodically.


Financial planning consists of six fundamental components:

  • Retirement Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate Planning
  • Financial Management
  • Asset Management
  • Risk Management

With financial planning, none of the above components are ever dealt with entirely in isolation. It is the integration and interdependencies among these components, as well as the need to analyze and synthesize information presented to formulate strategies, which distinguish financial planning from other forms of financial advice. Specific product recommendations or sales are not, in and of themselves, financial planning activities. While the process leading up to a specific product recommendation may well involve some financial planning activity, the actual product recommendation clearly falls outside the scope of financial planning.

Financial Planning is all about setting goals and establishing a plan and timeline to achieve them.

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