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Cash flow planning

By Jozef Spiteri
This article is published on: 13th March 2023

Cash flow planning is an exercise which could benefit individuals of any age, be it people just starting out their independent lives or others approaching retirement. Understanding how much money you have and the best way for you to use it is vital, and many seem to underestimate the power of good, constructive planning.

It is important to consider how surplus money can be used more efficiently. Surplus money refers to reserves of cash over and above any emergency fund held in a bank account. How can one use these resources more efficiently? What difference will it make?

Keeping excess funds in cash will result in the value of that money being eroded, as no meaningful growth will be achieved. Therefore, one must find a way to grow this money and protect it against inflation by generating positive real returns.

For many, investing might seem unnecessary, complicated, or risky. Such a mentality is usually the result of misconceptions. The reality is that the current environment is not what our parents or grandparents experienced when growing up; what worked 20 or 30 years ago might not work as well today.
We will now compare three scenarios for the same person. These examples will indicate the level of savings this individual would have at retirement if keeping all savings in cash, investing in a balanced risk portfolio or investing in a more adventurous portfolio.

Cash flow planning

In this example we have John, an average working man who went to university until age 25 and then worked until age 68. John started off with an average wage at the beginning of his career, with limited income and unable to buy a property or secure a sizeable mortgage. In his late 20’s he then managed to take out a mortgage for his own place. He only started to earn a decent level of income in his early 30’s, and this is the point at which he had to choose between investing this income or saving in cash. Therefore, John had the ability to save and invest for around 35 years prior to retirement. Let us now see what the differences are if he chose to invest or not.

If John left all surplus income in cash, he would reach retirement with a savings pot of €911,186. This means that he will have to plan his cost of living based this amount, together with the lowly public pension he will earn, until he passes away. If John were to spend around €40,000 a year (in today’s money) from his savings in retirement, the money would last him around 22 years. This is assuming that John is only maintaining his lifestyle and not accounting for eventual medical costs which could arise, or other unforeseen expenses. Therefore, what might seem to be a substantial amount of cash does not really give John a lot of ‘wiggle room’.

Let us now consider a balanced risk portfolio for John, starting contributions at age 32. If John were to invest around €20,000 a year until retirement, growing at an average rate of 4% per year, he would accumulate a savings pot of €1,375,757. This would give John an additional €464,571 compared to the scenario where he saved in cash, with the added advantage that the money invested will offer further growth potential during retirement, allowing him to maintain a buffer, further extending the longevity of his funds.

Alternatively, if John were to consider a more adventurous portfolio, with the same level of contributions and years of investment, his eventual savings pot would achieve a value of €1,845,763 – nearly a million euros more than if he chose not to invest at all.

This example highlights the power of compounding returns, and the importance of good financial planning. This is a service we offer all clients and together we can identify the best way to meet your goals. If you would like to discuss your financial future, feel free to get in touch.

The above are simplified examples and for illustrative purposes only. For a more detailed outline of how we implement successful investment strategies, please contact us to arrange an introductory discussion.

Article by Jozef Spiteri

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