Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Defin­ing your fi­nan­cial goals

- Tay­lor Personal Finance · Business

“WRITE it down and de­clare it to the uni­verse that this is what you want.”

Fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor Ni­c­ho­lene Tay­lor be­lieves that the first step to achiev­ing a goal is to put it in writ­ing and then pur­sue it re­lent­lessly. Tay­lor, one of Sagi­cor Life’s lead­ing fe­male ad­vi­sors for 2019, says she has used this for­mula to achieve suc­cess for her­self and sees it as the back­bone of her ap­proach in help­ing her clients achieve fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence.

Tay­lor, who has been an ad­vi­sor with the in­sur­ance gi­ant since 2014, started her ca­reer in ac­count­ing and eco­nom­ics, be­fore tran­si­tion­ing to sales. As a young door-todoor sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive, she recog­nised that she en­joyed be­ing em­pow­ered to earn ac­cord­ing to her work out­put and val­ued the ca­pac­ity this gave her to craft her own fi­nan­cial fu­ture.

Re­flect­ing on her many ac­co­lades and her per­sonal jour­ney to­wards achiev­ing fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity, the Im­mac­u­late-alum said she begins each year by set­ting her pro­duc­tion goal and for­mu­lat­ing a business plan, which breaks down her tar­gets on a monthly, weekly, and daily ba­sis.

“Ev­ery day I have a goal in my mind that I must com­plete to be able to con­sider my job achieved. You can’t track where you are go­ing with­out know­ing each day where you are,” she said.

Be­low, she breaks down the key tenets of her ad­vice to her clients, many of whom are women, who want to be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent:

De­fine your goals

Tay­lor ad­vises clients to ask them­selves a se­ries of ques­tions to be able to de­fine their goals and set the tone for their fi­nan­cial plan­ning strat­egy. These ques­tions may in­clude: what they want to achieve; how much money they are hop­ing to have within a time frame; how they want to re­tire, and if they have chil­dren, what do they want to have in place for them. Us­ing those an­swers, she then works with the client to craft a de­tailed plan to achieve that goal.

Pri­ori­tise items on your bud­get

She fur­ther ad­vises them to take a close look at their ex­penses through­out the month, with a keen fo­cus on items that they are spend­ing on which are not ne­ces­si­ties. These may in­clude shop­ping, es­pe­cially on­line, im­pulse buy­ing for things not needed, and ex­cess spend­ing on en­ter­tain­ment.

Start in­vest­ing

While sav­ing is im­por­tant, she en­cour­ages her clients to set up an in­vest­ment pol­icy, as the re­turns on well-placed in­vest­ments is the most ef­fec­tive way to build wealth. She said they can de­ter­mine their monthly al­lo­ca­tion to­wards in­vest­ing based on the goal they are try­ing to reach, for ex­am­ple, the cost of the de­posit for the pur­chase of a home.

Pre­pare for your chil­dren’s education

With the ever-in­creas­ing cost of chil­drea­r­ing, of which education is a sig­nif­i­cant part, Tay­lor ad­vises fam­i­lies to start plan­ning for this fi­nan­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity early.

“Fam­i­lies must de­ter­mine what that will cost — all the way up to the ter­tiary level

— and start plan­ning for this as soon as the child is born,” she said.

Pre­pare for re­tire­ment

While re­tire­ment may ap­pear all the way in the fu­ture for some peo­ple, Tay­lor ad­vises clients of the im­por­tance of start­ing prepa­ra­tion at an early age for that even­tu­al­ity. She said peo­ple need to as­sess how much money they will need to ac­cu­mu­late through­out the years to live com­fort­ably dur­ing their re­tire­ment, and then put in place a plan for that.

Be ready for the un­ex­pected

Tay­lor also noted the value of mak­ing prepa­ra­tion for the un­ex­pected, such as med­i­cal emer­gen­cies and ma­jor ill­nesses, which can at­tract ex­ces­sive bills and dec­i­mate the progress to­wards fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence. Tay­lor en­cour­ages peo­ple to en­sure they have cov­er­age in case of these un­ex­pected ill­nesses with the pro­tec­tion of a crit­i­cal ill­ness plan.

Cre­ate gen­er­a­tional wealth through es­tate plan­ning Fi­nally, she said it’s crit­i­cal that peo­ple plan for their chil­dren’s fu­ture, even af­ter their own pass­ing, by pur­chas­ing a life in­sur­ance pol­icy. Through life in­sur­ance cov­er­age, in­di­vid­u­als can build an es­tate and cre­ate wealth for the next gen­er­a­tion.

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