Making the most of your money to achieve your financial objectives
To be in a position to navigate the financial aspects of your unique life’s journey, you need to regularly track your progress towards key goals such as paying off your mortgage, buying a second home, building a retirement fund or setting up an Inheritance Tax trust.
Clarity over your goals is key, as are your objectives and motivations. The process of cash flow modelling illustrates what might happen to your finances in the future, and enables you to plan to ensure that you make the most of your money to achieve your financial objectives.
Current and forecasted wealth
Cash flow modelling shows your current position relative to your preferred position and your goals by assessing your current and forecasted wealth, along with income inflows and expenditure outflows to create a picture of your finances, now and in the future. This detailed picture of your assets includes investments, debts, income and expenditure, which are projected forward year by year using calculated rates of growth, income, inflation, wage rises and interest rates.
In order to implement a detailed plan that outlines how to deliver your financial future, communication is vital. The process and planning is only as good and as comprehensive as the information you provide.
Right asset allocation mix
Cash flow modelling can determine what recommendations and best course of action are appropriate for your particular situation and the right asset allocation mix, and the growth rate you require is calculated to meet your investment objectives. This rate is then cross-referenced with your attitude to risk to ensure your expectations are realistic and compatible with the asset allocation needed to achieve the necessary growth rate.
Where cash flow modelling becomes particularly useful is the analysis of different scenarios based on decisions you may make – this could be lifestyle choices or perhaps investment decisions. By matching your present and expected future liabilities with your income and capital, recommendations can be made to ensure that don’t run out of money throughout your life.
Ensure you remain on track
A snapshot in time is taken of your finances. The calculated rates of growth, income, tax and so on that are used to form the basis of any cash flow modelling exercise will always be assumptions. Therefore, regular reviews and reassessments are required to ensure you remain on track.
Nearly all decisions are based on what is contained within the cash flow: from how much to save and spend, to how funds should be invested to achieve the required return, so there is a lot that needs to be managed.
Make the right financial decisions
With every financial corner you turn, it is important to ‘run through the numbers’, which will help you make the right financial decisions. It is important to be specific. For example, it is not enough to say, ‘I want to have enough to retire comfortably.’ You need to think realistically about how much you will need – the more specific you are, the easier it will be to come up with a plan to achieve your goals.
If your needs are not accurately established, then the cash flow will not be seen as personal, and therefore you are unlikely to perceive value in it.
Small tweaks or something significant
Some years, there may not be any change, or just small tweaks. However, in other years, there may be something significant; either way, you will need to ensure things are up to date to keep your own peace of mind knowing your plans are still on track.
Cash flow modelling helps you stay in control of your financial future by giving a more holistic planning approach and clearer picture of the consequences of change on an ongoing basis. It also helps to give an idea of when certain key decisions should be made, such as retiring early or downsizing a property.