Financial Planning

By Prescila G. Halican

Eleven years ago, I learned the real meaning and the foundation of sounds financial planning – personal finance.

Wikipedia defines –  “Personal finance is the financial management which an individual or a family unit is required to do to obtain, budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time, taking into account various financial risks and future life events. When planning personal finances, the individual would consider the suitability to his or her needs of a range of banking products (checking, savings accounts, credit cards and consumer loans) or investment (stock market, bonds, mutual funds) and insurance (life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance) products or participation and monitoring of individual- or employer-sponsored retirement plans, social security benefits, and income tax management”.

Sounds simple. Isn’t it?

For the last 11 years, I’m practicing as a qualified and registered IFA (International Financial Advisor) – that’s how Financial Services companies give our titles in the business world. But if I were to choose, I’d rather use the title Insurance Agent, no, it should be Professional Insurance Agent; selling insurance and I am proud to say I’m an expert in it.  Not many people are aware of the many benefits of being a Professional Insurance Agent. For me, selling Life Insurance has offered me great many freedoms — freedoms upon which you can build a great career. It not only allowed me to build a great career, it is also helping me build a business legacy for all the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the Middle East. Does this sound too ambitious?

I used the term Business Legacy instead of Business Empire earlier. Let me clarify. As we know some of the great business empires have collapsed and gone bankrupt recently.  On the other hand, the Business Legacy in the form of the company I am building will continue to exist as long as there are migrant workers in this part of the world.  Our company, Halican Group’s core business is providing sound Financial Planning services. This is a company that provides services for all the walks of life, for young and old, for rich and not so rich, for professionals, business owners, and even students. Just imagine the possibilities?

I consider myself a great salesperson as I am selling the best single product known for providing an individual with complete balanced guard against the three economic dangers which confront everyone – the danger of living too long, permanent disability, and dying too soon.

Over the course of almost eleven years helping my clients build a sound and solid financial plan for themselves and for their family I can summarize those experiences in a very simple statement – I have not met a single client who is fully covered or prepared when the unforeseen economic dangers confront him or her.

What about you? Are you ready?

Financial planning is sometimes complex and a bit daunting too, so let us simplify it in few easy to remember points.

First – Sources of Income

There are two sources of Income; one is Man at Work and another one is Money at Work.

Majority of us came to this part of the word to earn a better income so that we can provide a better future for our families.  For the majority of us the main source of income is the first one, which is the Man at Work. So if we fall on the first category, there is a great chance that our income can stop under various circumstances.  Besides losing one’s job what would cause one’s income to stop?

Losing one’s job is only a temporary setback. If you try hard, you can be sure of getting another job sooner or later. But, what are the real risks or threats leading to losing one’s income?

The following are the three major risks:

1. The danger of living too long

2. Permanent disability

3. Dying too soon

Once I explain this to my clients, there was not a single meeting where my clients commented that

I was wrong. Most of the clients I met fell in the first category – Man at Work. My job is to make sure there is money working for them.

Second – What is our most valuable asset?

Our valuable assets aren’t the nice cars we are driving, or the big house we have built or the fat bank balance that we have accumulated. I hope you will agree with me that your most valuable asset is your “Earning Power”. If you agree with me, do you believe that it should be maintained and protected?

I hate to ask these questions to my clients on the first meeting.  However, there are these three questions that are very relevant and important for a sound financial planning. If these questions are answered honestly, they enable me to assess the current financial state, which in turn gives me sound information to design the best suitable financial plan.

So what are these three questions? First one, Where are you NOW? Second one, what would have happened to your family or anyone who depends on you financially, if you died YESTERDAY. And the last one is where would you like your family to be if, God forbid, you were to die TOMORROW?

A qualified and experienced Financial Advisor together with the client designs Financial Plans. When religiously implemented with consistency and discipline, we can define Financial Planning as a device where you stop working for every Dirham or Dinar and learn to start putting your money to work for you.

Years ago, the financial life of the average family was relatively simple or uncomplicated. People worked for the same company most of their lives, lived a few years in retirement on their pensions from Social Security, and then passed their modest estate to their children.  However, increased longevity, changing demographics, and a more complex and dynamic financial world have changed that.

Consider these tough financial facts:

Many of today’s retirees will live 25 years or more in their retirement. This means far more financial resources would be needed to maintain the desired lifestyle. So the big question is, are we ready for a longer retirement? Social Security and even company’s pension may no longer provide the majority of your retirement income. And long-term care is very expensive.

Experts predict that an average person will change careers — not just jobs — more than five times in his or her lifetime. Many companies are downsizing, so job security is no more a luxury. Back home in the Philippines, tax laws change almost annually.

Maybe today as OFW we are exempt from paying income tax, but what will happen when in the near future our government is going to tax our earnings outside our home? I hope this doesn’t happen. This demands new approaches towards savings, investments, retirement and estate planning.

We are known for having very close family ties. However, couples having children later in life are trapped between paying for their kids’ education, helping elderly parents, while trying to save for their own retirement.

Everyone has important and precious things in life, whether it is the family, a job, or private assets such as a house, a car and so on. In reality we are all living in an uncertain world, so how do we protect our most precious things? If you are married, how do you ensure that futures of your children and grandchildren have been appropriately secured? And how about your pension? Do you think your pension is sufficient enough for a comfortable and peaceful retirement later in your life?

Lastly, there is a piece of advice; While we are here in this land of opportunities, we need to learn to save and invest our hard earned money, so when the unforeseen event strikes, we are ready to face it. Unfortunately I have seen a lot of our OFW struggling really hard to save for their old age.  It’s not what you earn, but it’s what you save.  Learn how to manage your income. Simply put, you don’t need to be good in math to learn the simple equation of savings. Just remember this: INCOME – DESIRED SAVINGS = EXPENSES.

Saving is a habit that can be developed.  If you don’t have the habit of setting aside something every time you receive your salary, then develop the habit, starting from this month. Then continue doing it for the next twenty-one months. I’m sure you will develop the habit of saving.  Learn to distinguish between needs and wants. Before you spend that hard earned money, ask yourself, do I really need to buy this? It is not yet late to start planning for your future and for your loved ones. Look for a financial planner to guide you through the process of financial planning.

You’ve taken a big step in finishing my first article with this magazine, and you’ve displayed the first and most important critical success factor in achieving one’s financial freedom – consistency. That’s right – consistency and willingness to change for the better.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do”. We are committed to bridge that difference with you.

Engage us to help you plan for a secure and brighter future! You can connect with us at info@halicangroup.com.

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