Discussions about money are quite often seen as taboo and off the table.
Taboo subjects in relation to money cover a range of examples from experiencing money difficulties, being perceived as earning too much money, having large financial ambitions, all the way to how much you want in retirement. Part of the financial planning process is opening up and discussing what can be perceived as difficult subjects around money. Unfortunately, as a nation, we tend to be reserved about this subject and therefore the default position can often be to do nothing. In my opinion, choosing to do nothing is actively making a choice not to take positive steps to improve our financial circumstances. The following steps can help to open conversations about money, which should lead to positive actions and ultimately positive outcomes.
Step 1 – Write down where you are and what you want.
When you write down information about your specific financial circumstances, you gain a better understanding of the overall financial position you are in. Whether you are trying to reduce your debts, manage your budget or grow your wealth, getting facts and ideas out of your head and onto paper can solidify your current situation. This is not the finished plan, instead it is a snapshot of where you are right now.
Step 2 – Talk to someone trusted.
Trying to work everything out on your own can often lead to the same answers you gave yourself previously. Having a second opinion from a close friend, a member of your family, or professional within financial services sector will provide a different perspective on your personal financial situation. The key to this step is to ensure that the individual is trusted, and they have your best interests at heart.
Step 3 – Plan.
Once the ideas are out of your head and you have another person’s perspective, it is time to make a plan and decide what you are looking to achieve. A pragmatic way to plan needs to follow a specific structure of the SMART objective. SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound. This can take a fair bit of work; however, it is worth putting in the effort now to reap the rewards at the end of your plan.
Step 4 – Act in accordance with the plan and give it time
It is all well and good making a plan, but if you do not stick to the plan nothing will change. The actions are the most important part of any plan, with outcomes secondary. The reason why the actions are the most important is because the process is guaranteed and is within your control, whereas the results are not. Your behaviours need to be in line with your desired outcome, which will come to fruition over time.
There are significant positive outcomes from freely discussing money matters. Talking about money for the sake of talking about money is not interesting. Talking about what money can do for ourselves and the closest people around us, is interesting and can change lives for the better. At Wingate Financial Planning, we encourage our clients to openly discuss money matters, make a plan and review this plan on an annual basis to ensure what you want to achieve is still on track. If you would like to understand how speaking with a professional can help you build a plan and achieve your desired outcomes, please get in touch with one of our trusted advisers.