What is Financial Planning?
Creating a comprehensive financial plan may be the most important financial decision you ever make. We develop long-term strategies to help you reach your life goals.
The Essence of Financial Planning
Financial Planning is about you and your money. Think of financial planning like a personal trainer – helping you get financially fit. Financial planning is about helping you make the most of your money and ensuring you are in the best financial shape possible.
It is not about financial products or selling you a new investment or insurance policy. Effective financial planning usually starts with financial education and engagement. Many people simply don’t understand their finances well enough and have become somewhat disillusioned with the details of their financial affairs. Financial planning helps you to re-engage with your money and start to take back control.
Financial planning isn’t just about your money – it’s about your goals in life. Your hopes and aspirations for the future will often have a financial aspect and you may need to use money as a vehicle to get you where you want to go. By understanding your life goals we can start formulating a plan of how you can get where you need to go. Your financial plan may include things like an investment strategy, how to protect your family should the worst happen, planning an income stream for when you retire and how to minimise your tax bills. Whatever financial issues need addressing, a financial plan will cover them.
Many financial plans now go further and provide a full ‘financial forecast’. This projects forward your financial position every year until your death and allows the financial planner to model a range different scenarios to ensure you can always lead the lifestyle you want, no matter what happens.
Financial planning is usually a long-term service – with you at every stage of your life. One of the biggest benefits many people get from high quality financial planning is the ability to think strategically over the longer-term. By helping you think about your long-term goals and aims, a financial planner can put steps in place to make you more likely to fulfil your dreams.
Who is Financial Planning for?
Financial planning might sound like something only for the wealthy, but in reality it is something we should all be doing, regardless of our current financial position.
At its simplest, financial planning is about better understanding our finances and budgeting to ensure we don’t get into financial trouble. These are things that anyone can do as long as they are committed to doing them. A professional financial planner can take this forward several steps and deliver a host of additional benefits. As well as providing useful technical insight into the world of finance, a great financial planner will help you reconnect with your money, shed light on all aspects of your finances and help put you back in control. In addition, much like a personal fitness trainer, a financial planner will ensure you always take a disciplined approach. Regular reviews, regular updates and ongoing support will ensure you stay the course and achieve your goals.
At NorthStar we provide a range of financial planning solutions from clarifying your life goals to forecasting your financial position throughout your life. This helps deliver real insight and deliver great clarity into your finances. We can then tailor your financial affairs to help you pay less tax, invest smarter, plan for the future, and protect your financial position. Ultimately we help people enjoy their lives knowing that their finances are under control.
We believe that almost everyone can benefit from professional financial planning. Whether you have complex financial affairs, are going through a major life event such as retirement or divorce or whether you simply want some input and advice on your current situation. We know that high quality financial advice is often out of the reach of many people due to the fees levied and minimum investment levels demanded by many in our profession. At NorthStar, by working smarter and developing innovative practices, we have been able to reduce our costs, opening up financial planning to the masses – making it affordable to all. Whatever your circumstances, get in touch or book your introductory phone call to discuss how we can help.
The Keys to Being an Effective Financial Planner
We take great pride the team of financial planners at NorthStar. Every planner has achieved the coveted Chartered Financial Planner status and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. Our view is that there are six key traits that define a great financial planner.
Financial planning is about relationships. Our financial planners are committed to developing deep, meaningful relationship with every client so they can truly understand them and their financial affairs.
In essence, financial planning is all about you. Your situation, you finances, your hopes and dreams for the future. Arguably the most important skill of all great financial planners is the ability to listen.
Asking the right questions can be illuminating. Only by questioning can a good financial planner uncover everything they need to know.
The ability to understand you, your money and you goals is of paramount importance. Putting this together with a great understanding of financial regulations, products and techniques will provide the solutions necessary
Using the information gleaned from all discussions along with a wealth of technical knowledge creates the perfect assessment of your current situation and a clear path to future financial success. The skill of accurate assessment is crucial to all financial planner.
Communicating the solutions in a clear, straightforward way is one of the most importantaspects of financial planning. A good financial planner will instil confidence proving a well presented solution to achieve the client’s objectives.
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What is Covered in Our Financial Planning Service?
Our financial planning service is designed to cover all of your financial needs. We provide a plan that covers your complete financial situation and highlights the essential steps required to achieve your goals. A financial plan will usually cover several of the following areas:
At its heart, financial planning is about helping you achieve your goals. It is important to come up with specific, measurable, achievable, timed goals. By defining your goals, we can track your progress and ensure you get what you want from life.
Financial forecasting is a powerful way to show you a complete picture of your projected lifetime wealth. Using a series of assumptions, forecast models can be produced showing your future wealth given a number of different scenarios. This allows a skilled financial planner to put steps in place to ensure you can always live the lifestyle you want.
It is important to plan for the worst and work how you would cope in a ‘disaster scenario’. We model a number of different events and assess the impact these could have on your financial situation. These include situations where you die, are taken seriously ill or lose your job. We can also model external events such as a financial market crash. This can show the risks you may be exposed to and means we can take action to help minimise these risks or mitigate them altogether.
Financial Organisation & Budgeting
Before any financial plan can be fully instigated, it is imperative to be financially well organised. This means being on top of all paperwork and really understanding your complete financial position. Budgeting is about monitoring your income and outgoings and managing these to ensure your finances stay in a healthy state. An effective budget sits at the heart of every financial plan.
An emergency fund is a reserve of money that you can get immediate access to. It is usually important to have an emergency fund in case something unexpected happens. We help you monitor the emergency fund you require and ensure it is adequate at all times andavailable to you should you ever need it.
Life is full of risks but with careful planning, many of the financial risks you may face can be eliminated through insurance. This is crucial to ensure you can maintain your lifestyle and protect your family whatever the future may hold. Whether this is protection should you lose your job, become ill, die or any other financial risk, we can help you eliminate it.
Effective tax planning is all about legally minimising the tax you pay. This may be through tax-efficient investing, managing your capital gains tax position and thinking through how to manage any potential future inheritance tax liabilities.
Saving & Investment Planning
An savings and investment plan involves assessing your investment risk tolerance, determining an optimal investment and saving strategy, deciding how much to invest and save and looking at the best products to invest as tax-efficiently as possible. A great savings and investment plan will provide a measurable target and be reviewed regularly to ensure you remain to track to achieve it.
Property often plays a central role in many people’s finances. Whether as a home owner, tenant or landlord, property can be pivotal to determining your lifestyle. It is important to create a long-term property plan to ensure you make the best decisions and achieve your aims. We can help plan your property needs including advice on mortgages and re-mortgaging, investing in buy-to-let or renting a room. Whatever your property planning needs, we will help you formulate a winning strategy to help you live the lifestyle you want.
Putting a plan in place for your retirement means thinking through when you may retire and what kind of lifestyle you want and how this can be funded. This may involve calculations of how much to invest in pensions or other savings vehicles, consolidating and managing your existing pension plans, state pension assessments and other strategies to help you live the life you want in retirement.
Most people have debts of some sort. This may include student loans, credit card debt, secured or unsecured loans or a mortgage. Debt can be a really useful tool to help you achieve your goals and structure your finances effectively. However, the management of debts is crucial to overall financial well-being and can be the undoing of some who let their debts get out of control. By regularly re-assessing your debts you will ensure you stay on top of your obligations and never pay more in interest than is absolutely necessary.
Older Age & Estate Planning
Effective estate planning can help you lower the inheritance tax payable on your estate when you die and ensure that your estate is passed on in the way you wish. This may including gifting, trust or pension planning to ensure your estate is in the most tax-advantaged position possible. A plan for your older age means thinking about how to fund your long term care, how to manage your inheritance tax liability and thinking about preparing and updating your will.
Family Financial Planning
We know that family sits at the heart of what most people do. We work hard so our families can enjoy the fruits of our labour. At NorthStar we absolutely understand this. A large part of your planning will directly include your family. Some items, such as funding university or getting your children on the property ladder can be planned for. Other items are harder to foresee, such as financially supporting elderly parents if necessary. We will help you put the plans in place to support those that mean the most to you.
Our financial planning service is designed to cover all of your financial needs. We provide what a comprehensive Financial Plan that covers your complete financial situation and highlights the essential steps required to achieve your goals. You can take a look at an example Financial Plan to see exactly what is covered.
A financial plan will highlight the actions required but will not provide specific product recommendations. You may want to use our other services in combination with financial planning. These are investment, protection, retirement, property, older age, business and philanthropy services.
” A good financial plan is a road map that shows us exactly how the choices we make today will affect our future. “
Total control of your money
Your money on your terms. Wherever you are, stay in control of your finances 24/7. Track your investments, transfer funds, monitor your goals, top up your savings. Take back control of your money.
The Key Benefits of Great Financial Planning
You know what you want to achieve in life and how you will achieve it
You fully understand your financial position and what your future may look like
Peace of mind
You sleep soundly knowing that your finances are fully under control
You know your lifestyle is safe and secure no matter what the future holds
You are fully in control of your money and always make great financial decisions
You can live life to the maximum, with complete confidence in your financial situation
We help you understand your options and think strategically about your future. No matter what you come up against, you will always have a plan for success.
“I found the advice that NorthStar gave to be very helpful. It covered all the necessary points and demonstrated a good working knowledge. Following the work carried out by NorthStar, I now have the confidence to retire, knowing that my pensions and investments are being proactively managed. I have a real understanding of my financial position and a strategy for my retirement. I would recommend NorthStar to others without hesitation.”
Alan T. (Waterlooville) | NorthStar Client
Awards, Accreditations & Trade Associations
NorthStar is proud to be members of the leading financial planning trade associations. Through a continued commitment to work to the highest professional standards and deliver real value to all clients, our work has been recognised with a number of awards and professional accreditations.