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DAN MURDOCH: It’s never too late to make a plan says Inverness financial planner

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One of my biggest joys is working with clients, and seeing them achieve the confidence, and understanding that they are on track to achieve their goals. For example, there are few better feelings than telling a client that they can finally retire after years of thinking it would never happen!

At 57 North Financial Planning we follow the classic ‘Six Step’ Financial Planning model. So once we have decided that we are right for you, and you are right for us, the next, and probably most important step is the discovery meeting. Which is exactly what we do. We set out, in a methodical way, to discover everything we can about you and your family.

This includes ‘softer’ information, such as what makes you tick, what are your hobbies, where do you like to go on holiday. But most importantly, it adds to the bigger picture of what you and your family want to achieve over the longer term.

This could include some form of early retirement, or late career change, a change in home or location, or just ensuring you can leave your family secure.

With changing work patterns and a wide range of retirement options now available, clients are increasingly reviewing their financial strategy throughout retirement, as well as during their working life.

We believe having a financial plan in place is an excellent foundation to help achieve your goals, and this is where cash flow planning can help.

What is Financial Planning?

At the heart of Financial Planning is the use of a proper, thought through and robust cash flow model. In short, this is an assessment and projection of your assets, income and expenditure over your lifetime. The aim is to assess how likely it is that you will be able to meet your essential, discretionary and lifestyle expenses in the future.

The first place to start when building your plan, funnily enough, is at the end and work our way back. We use reasoned and reasonable economic assumptions to help us ensure the plan is as realistic as we can be.

There are a number of factors to consider in a financial plan, and we need to be nimble enough to react to life changing events such as weddings, university costs, grandchildren and even mortality. We will factor in all such hypothetical events and ensure a client’s plan is as robust as possible, with as much as a safety net for some of these unforeseen expenses. The results of the cash flow help clients to visualize the shape of their financial lives.

We will regularly test the strength of the plan - called “stress-testing” - including the potential of what economic experts like to call “market corrections” or even the effect of a client passing early, in order to illustrate the financial effect this could have on the family. Whilst the initial set-up and discussion around your financial plan is pivotal, it is equally important that we continually review this on a regular basis in line with your long-term objectives and in line with any economic or regulatory changes.

It is our aim in building a client’s financial plan, to provide clarity and peace of mind whilst empowering them to be confident in their financial decisions. We understand that each plan is personal and believe it is crucial to consider the longer term as well as more immediate objectives.

A cash flow summary is just one piece of the financial planning puzzle which can help you plan, a secure and successful future. For some people considering the future, sitting down and building a financial plan can be a daunting prospect, I mean, where do you even start? But its what we do…

So if you have ever thought “ I wonder how we can ‘do that, live there, travel there’ when we retire”, or just wish to find out more about cash flow planning, perhaps over a cup of coffee,

do not hesitate to contact me on 01463 211311 or dan@57northfp.com.

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