Investment planning – the hot favourite for most people – helps you grow your money to achieve financial freedom. To do this, identify your risk tolerance, emergency fund requirements, short and long-term goals and review current investments. Do your investments match your risk profile? If not, restructure them immediately. A number of proven scientific investment methodologies can help to optimise returns while minimising risk. These include:
Asset allocation strategies
Best of Breed investment selection
Dollar cost averaging
Investment planning with the right methods can grow your wealth steadily with minimum risk, just as we nurture a young plant by fertilising the soil, watering it, weeding and pest control.
Risk management and insurance planning help to protect your income streams and provide security to your family in the event of premature death or disability. Although many people recognise the importance of this, most are a long way from doing it right. To start, analyse the risk factors you are exposed to, quantify your possible financial loss and identify the necessary insurance products for your needs. Secondly, review and summarise your current insurance policies and decide whether to maintain, amend or cancel them. Take a holistic approach and adopt a balanced approach, otherwise, you might be perfectly covered, but have little or no money left for your other financial needs.
By taking appropriate steps in risk management and insurance planning, we can minimise wealth leakages due to excessive insurance payments and protect against unexpected income loss and medical expenses.
When planning for your children’s further education, consider whether you opt for a local or international institution. Will your child aim for a scholarship or would you pay for the tuition? Plan now for these expenses and identify suitable investment instruments. If your children are ready for tertiary education, minimise your investment risks and be prepared to liquidate your assets fast. If your children are young, you can take more risks with your investments.
Planning early for your children’s tertiary education expenses gives us time to save for their needs, compound our savings, and avoid losses due to currency fluctuations.
Have you thought about when you aim to retire? What is your investment risk tolerance and how much do you plan to live on? Also consider inflation. What’s the nest egg you need to retire? Do you have any source of retirement income and assets to set aside for your old age? Knowing how much you should be saving now for your retirement is crucial. Knowing it when you retire is fruitless. Identify suitable investment opportunities now for your retirement planning.
Planning for retirement expenses gives us time to save for our sunset years, to compound our savings and build sufficient passive income for the retirement lifestyle of our choice.
Your assets carry various risks like fire, loan exposure, business, professional or personal liability. Find ways to protect these assets. Perhaps set up a trust. If you are self-employed or a business owner, you may have bigger risks than those who are employees.
Protecting our assets helps to minimise wealth leakages due to unexpected losses.
When a person dies, his heirs must obtain either letters of administration (where the testator leaves no will) or a grant of probate (where there is a will). The process can be long and complicated. To smoothen the process, ensure that you have a will in place now. Go that extra mile by creating a trust for your children and nominate your beneficiaries in your insurance policy and EPF. If you need to appoint a trustee to look after the children’s welfare, check that the fee is reasonable. Trustees’ fees can vary by between 50% and 200%.
Estate planning helps to minimise wealth leakages due to unnecessary estate administration expenses, delays and family disputes. If proper arrangements have not been made, these problems may create a big dent in the wealth you leave behind.
Review all your property loans, personal loans and credit card facilities. Do you need to restructure them for better financing terms and interest rates? For instance, mortgage rates differ and often fluctuate. If you are paying an interest rate of BLR +0% on a property loan, for example, check the current market rate. Talk to the bank to reduce your mortgage interest rate. In addition, your debt and loan exposure should remain at healthy levels based on your unique circumstance.
By taking these steps, you can minimise wealth leakages due to excessive interest payments and liability risks that can deplete your assets.
Tax planning helps to minimise wealth leaks due to unnecessary tax payments and penalties.
The less tax you pay, the more income you can accumulate. Therefore, explore various ideas to reduce your tax payment (of course, legally). Here, we are talking about tax avoidance, not tax evasion. If you use illegal ways to evade paying tax, you may be investigated and penalised by the Internal Revenue Board. Instead of optimising and growing your assets, you may suffer a major depletion.