Financial Planning

Financial planning is the process of meeting your life goals through the proper management of your finances. One's goals can include saving for a major purchase, education planning or planning for retirement. The financial planning process consists of several steps that help you take a "snap shot" of where you are today and what you need to do financially to accomplish your targets. The process involves gathering relevant financial information, setting life goals, examining your current financial status and coming up with a strategy or plan for how you can meet your objectives given your current situation and future plans.

A Certified Financial Planner is a practicing professional who helps people deal with various personal financial issues through proper planning, which includes: cash flow management, contingency planning, education planning, retirement planning, investment planning, risk management and insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning and succession planning.

The work engaged in by this professional is commonly known as personal financial planning. In carrying out the planning function, he is guided by the financial planning process to create a financial plan; a detailed strategy tailored to a client's specific situation, for meeting a client's specific goals. The key defining aspect of what the financial planner does is that he considers all questions, information and advice as it impacts and is impacted by the entire financial and life situation of the client.


People enlist the help of a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) because of the complexity of performing the following:

  1. Finding direction and meaning in one's financial decisions
  2. Understanding how each financial decision affects other areas of finance
  3. Adapting to life changes to feel more financially secure.

The best results of working with a financial planner, from an individual client or family's perspective are:

  1. To create the greatest probability that all financial goals (anything requiring both money and planning to achieve) are accomplished by the target date
  2. To have a frequently-updated sensible plan that is proactive enough to accommodate any major unexpected financial event that could negatively affect the plan
  3. To make intelligent financial choices along the way (whether to "buy or lease" whether to "refinance or pay-off" etc.).


Personal financial planning is broadly defined as "a process of determining an individual's financial goals, purposes in life and life's priorities, and after considering his resources, risk profile and current lifestyle, to detail a balanced and realistic plan to meet those goals." The individual's goals are used as guideposts to map a course of action on 'what needs to be done' to reach those goals.

Alongside the data gathering exercise, the purpose of each goal is determined to ensure that the goal is meaningful in the context of the individual's situation. Through a process of careful analysis, these goals are subjected to a reality check by considering the individual's current and future resources available to achieve them. In the process, the constraints and obstacles to these goals are noted. The information will be used later to determine if there are sufficient resources available to get to these goals, and what other things need to be considered in the process. If the resources are insufficient or absent to meet any of the goals, the particular goal will be adjusted to a more realistic level or will be replaced with a new goal.

Planning often requires consideration of self-constraints in postponing some enjoyment today for the sake of the future. To be effective, the plan should consider the individual's current lifestyle so that the 'pain' in postponing current pleasures is bearable over the term of the plan. In times where current small sacrifices are involved, the plan should help ensure that the pursuit of the goal will continue. A plan should consider the importance of each goal and should prioritize each goal.


Financial Planning should cover all areas of the client's financial needs and should result in the achievement of each of the client's goals. The scope of planning would usually include the following:

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