Choosing the right investments and making better decisions overall
Investing can be a complicated and confusing process, especially for those who are new to it. There are so many different options and strategies, and it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the most important things you can do when starting out is to have a clear understanding about what you are hoping to achieve with your investments.
Do you want to grow your wealth over the long term, or are you looking for more immediate returns? Having a specific goal will help you choose the right investments and make better decisions overall.
Cash flow modelling
Cash flow modelling is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your finances and work towards your investment objectives. By creating a model of your income and expenditure, you can see exactly where your money is going and make informed decisions about how to best manage your resources.
There are many benefits to cash flow modelling, including:
1. Gaining a clear understanding of your financial situation
2. Identifying areas where you may be overspending
3. Discovering opportunities to save money
4. Making more informed decisions about investments and other financial commitments
5. Setting realistic financial goals
Cash flow modelling gives you a graphic representation of your financial future and an insight into how life events will have an impact. This 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.
The process 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.
A cash flow model calculates the growth rate you’ll require if you are 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.
Looking at your financial journey in this way enables you to implement a detailed plan that outlines how to deliver your financial future. To ensure that, over time, you achieve your desired lifestyle goals, it is important for us to regularly review your financial plan and make any necessary amendments should your personal circumstances change.
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. The growth rate you require is calculated to meet your investment objectives.
Where this approach 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 you don’t run out of money throughout your life.
How much to save, spend and invest
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 cow modelling exercise will always be assumptions. This is why 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. This will include how much to save and spend, and how funds should be invested to achieve the required return, so there is a lot that needs to be managed.
Run through the numbers
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. 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 and keep your own peace of mind knowing your plans are still on track.
It is vital that you are made aware that certain assumptions have been made in the making of your plan. Projected inflation and growth rates need to be made clear, and it should be explained that the plan and cash flow model is only as good as the information provided, so it is critical that it is reviewed.