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Financial Planning ; Does it Really Live up to the Hype

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Arthur Evans answers the question
Arthur Evans on Financial Freedom

Arthur C. Evans is a financial director at Technoexpert construction (Pvt) Lt, a multi-award-winning and multi-talented creative entrepreneur. Along with being a television producer and media figure, he is also a highly sought-after M.C. both nationally and internationally. Arthur is a life coach and the founder of the D.I.Y a workshop program, which targets young people in  Zimbabwe as well as in Africa with the goals of inspiring, educating, and developing their life skills.In addition, Arthur heads  his own PR consultancy firm , which specializes in the production of video material and has consulted for  well-known and  leading companies such as  PPC Zimbabwe & SPAR. He is also passionate about education & annually funds tuition at secondary or tertiary level for at least one person every year >>>>>

I am a big fan of Africans rising and so it’s important to understand that our values or respect and Ubuntu must still prevail when dealing with money. I marvel at other societies/countries that have taken acts against their fellow citizens (brothers and sisters) has a grave offence. Some of the punishments are extreme but it’s the attitude that I appreciate. In similar manner financial planning starts with an attitude. Everyone has a preset in their minds towards money that has been forged from their upbringing and refined through deliberate, and at times not so deliberate learning encounters. So what is your attitude towards money? Perhaps you’re a risk taker – your approach to financial planning will be very different to someone that is risk averse. Ultimately there is no ‘one size’ fits all approach to financial planning that will make everyone happy but there are some common denominators everyone should take when planning their finances.

  1. What is financial planning?

Financial planning, as I like to say, is the DELIBERATE effort to strategize and calculate ones current financial standing with the intent of creating increased financial freedom in the coming days, weeks, months and years for the benefit of the next generation. Let me put it to you this way. Plan ways to increase your revenue through various scalable plans e.g. educate yourself while working so that you can get better  jobs in the future with more money and/or add some product/service lines to your business to increase revenue. Then plan your investments that will outlive you but in your life time give you freedom to choose when you want to go to Dubai. It means planning the type of asset that you purchase. A car (unless its an Uber or tipper truck that makes money) is not what I consider a generational asset yet many people build a great mansion, park 3-4 fancy cars in the driveway and say they are winning. You should never have more cars that properties!!! Plan your finances.

  • Is it essential for one to plan their finances and what are the benefits?

We are planning all the time! From budgeting for food for the month to considering an asset portfolio that will surpass USD1million and how to grow it to USD10million and then USD100million. We are planning all the time and the decisions that we make today have ripple effects in our financial future. I see so many young entrepreneurs with the latest phones and fancy clothes yet they still catch public transport when they could easily access more customers and increase response times if they bought an old manual Mazda 323 or similar. Impulse spending has destroyed many good financial plans both great and small. Ultimately the singular benefit must be freedom. Freedom in various areas of life and this is the reward. For a young man good financial planning will help him successfully move out of his parents (or guardians) house and not have a curfew meaning that IF he is wise he will have time to network with business leaders and thought leaders at times when he was previously making his way home or running errands. This requires discipline which if you stick to the plan is a major benefit or by product of financial planning. There are many benefits but freedom and discipline are the majors for me. Please note that these cannot be precisely quantified, they are not tangible markers because like I said, how you deal with your money starts in your mind and that’s where the greatest rewards are e.g. peace of mind.

  • Tell us about the importance of financial planning to start up founders?     

Financial planning for startups will help them recognize the viability of their intended enterprise. Financial planning that is clearly written down is also a tool to unlock investment and/or capital that is needed. The thing I like about financial planning when starting an endeavor is that it informs me HOW I will start. Will I start informally or formally, will I start with 10 products or 4 key IN DEMAND products. Financial planning help mitigate kneejerk business decisions and ensure that as, for example, a solopreneur that you have enough cash to keep the business moving forward. Ironically, statistically speaking at the core of most business collapses it is the business running out of money that caused its closure. I’ve met people that had startups and they are out of business but still owe their mechanic for repairs to their Mercedes Benz that is stuck at their house. Take your plan seriously and follow it. It will help you measure your success and show you where you can improve and highlight the unexpected curveballs that always come in business. Perhaps someone is reading this and saying, “I need more detail because I don’t know how to write a financial plan!” Well the point remains the same. Find out what feels right with you by going out and getting the various advice you need from different sources and find what makes sense for your business or your life. I am sharing this to prompt readers to action, not to spoon feed anyone because if I can point you in the right direction, my job here will be done. So when you get that direction, that plan run with it and make sure you don’t let anyone stop you until you get to your destination.

  •    In your opinion, how has money management evolved over the years, and what are the notable changes? 

There are a few cardinal approaches and application to money that have changed even in my short life time and those are:

a.      Trust – you can’t trust people with your money unless the transaction is backed by some form of paperwork even if it’s a simple invoice. Heck, even if you’re a vendor on the side of the street, you can download FREE apps that help you keep a rudimentary accounts system for your business. You will be able to track sales and expenses because you can’t even trust yourself at times.

b.      Technology – from the use of apps in my previous point to what I dare say is now obvious. If your money is not moving digitally and if you’re a business owner that does not offer their clients digital payment solutions then you are living in the dark ages and you need to wake up! I hardly carry cash because I move slower than an electronic transfer and that’s even using a car.

c.      Currency – What is it? Right now the world is transitioning and digital currencies, digital assets etc are going to be the norm soon. In my country Zimbabwe, we have learnt that the currency that you use has a major impact on how to be financially stable. So what is currency, it is perceived value. Make sure that you keep track of your trading currency and do what you can to hold value e.g. Zimbabwean’s have a common strategy that if a currency is devaluing quickly, trade it to another or buy tradable stock.

  • What steps can readers follow to achieve an appropriate financial plan?     

Start with a vision for your life. From there read and acquire knowledge about financial planning. A key tool that every reader must master is budgeting! In that budget make provision for saving, even if its one dollar/kwacha/etc. You see its not about the amount but the practice of it which cultivates discipline because no matter the financial plan, you will need discipline.

  • What advise would you give to business owners about financial planning?

Ladies and gentlemen, take your time and do not compare yourself with others. Stay focused because the temptation will always be to look at others around you and compare what they have. Look, I have a few friends that drive much nicer cars than me but periodically ask me for a soft loan. APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING!!! I prefer to stay humble but confident in the path that I am taking and so should you. Well done to those with Ferraris and homes in Dubai, we will meet you one day. Wherever you go be proud that you have been and are still trying. Your rate of success does not determine your level of success. I guess what I am saying is that once you have your plan stick to your plan and the only time that you should change it is to make it better. If your mindset towards money starts from a point of fear because you’re afraid of losing more than you are of wanting to succeed then change that today. Lastly, the money you are making is not to be shown off because after all, when you started this journey you wanted to make money for you (and maybe your parents/family) and not the general public – STICK TO THE PLAN!

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