Saturday, January 5, 2008

Step 2 - Gather relevant data, identify and prioritise written goals

This stage may seem daunting, but it is worth doing well. To enable your planner to do the best job he can, you must share all relevant financial information with him. And we do mean ALL!
This suggests you trust him implicitly. Such trust does not come naturally to most Malaysians; there is an entrenched cultural bias against even telling our family members how much we earn! But such reticence must be overcome if you want your planner to be of maximum benefit to you.

Pertinent information will include your personal and family details, income levels and expectations, your tax position, and information on all existing insurance policies. Your planner will also need a listing of all assets and liabilities to - later, in the next step -construct your net worth statement. He'll also need to understand your income and expense patterns to develop - again, later - your cash flow statement. Your perceived attitudes toward investment risk, as well as actual and potential financial obligations must also be identified and quantified.

Once all that is data is gathered, you will have a clearer picture of where you are, financially speaking. That is vital to chart a realistic course to where you want to go.

Spend time thinking through your dreams and identifying goals. Write those down, prioritise them, and establish target accomplishment dates.

With that list in hand, coupled with all the information you and your planner have digested, you will be poised to detonate off the starting blocks toward a brighter, better financial future.