Sun Talks: Understanding stages of financial planning

The path along one’s financial journey is not always a smooth one. This could be attested by Valerie Lagarde-Amora, a Cluster Head in Sun Life Philippines. Being a Sun Life Partner for Life for over 18 years now, Lagarde-Amora admits that she once came to a point when she had to restart her own financial journey due to inevitable circumstances.

“There was a time when I had to buy a can of sardines and eat a piece of mackerel per meal,” she recalled. “The goal was to go back to square one and rebuild my liquidity.” Her determination, patience, and perseverance paid off when she started bouncing back and growing her finances.

“That was an experience that helps me relate with ordinary Filipinos, up to now,” she said. It also served as her inspiring ice breaker, being the main resource speaker for the recent ‘Sun Talks (Digital Media Edition): Restarting Your Financial Journey,’ a session held on July 6 at Sun Life Centre in BGC.

In her talk entitled ‘Brighter Planning,’ Lagarde-Amora identified the factors that make an individual need financial planning. According to her, planning for finances is essential when one generates some form of income, is about to start his/her own family, is head of the family (or a breadwinner), has child/ren, and has dreams in life that are yet to be fulfilled.

Sun Life PH Cluster Head Valerie Lagarde-Amora

Stages of financial planning

Lagarde-Amora shared insights about the stages of financial planning, using a pyramid for illustration. At the base of the pyramid and serving as the foundation of the entire process is the stage for building Liquidity.

“It starts with securing your liquidity. As financial advisors, it is our job to help a person analyze his cash inflows and outflows, set budgeting goals, and start or restart his personal finances. If there is not enough income to get into the journey, we set a guide to help explore options and opportunities to bolster income,” she explained.

Moving up the ladder, the next stage is about building Wealth Protection, which should cover temporary job or business loss, natural calamities, illness or disability, and accident or death. This is the time to save money to build an emergency fund, a time deposit, savings (or current account), life insurance, health insurance, and debt reduction.

The next stage is Wealth Accumulation which should cover middle- to long-term savings, life milestones (home ownership, business venture, car, and travel, among others), and education or retirement fund. Recommended investments in this phase include mutual funds, variable universal life, bonds, and stocks.

On top of the pyramid, or the last stage of the journey is Wealth Transfer which covers business succession, inheritance for heirs, and estate taxes. Estate Planning is also an important phase, especially for individuals who are leaving legacies to their beneficiaries. Sun Life has a product that covers estate costs.

Sun Life PH Cluster Head Valerie Lagarde-Amora and Sun Life PH Financial Advisor Andrea de Guzman

Convincing individuals to invest in insurance

Another session speaker, Andrea de Guzman who has been changing lives as a financial advisor at Sun Life Philippines since 2013 admitted that it is a common challenge to convince families to consider investing in insurance.

“They are usually discouraged by the thoughts about the costs. As an advisor, it is my duty to educate families about the importance of having protection from inevitable and unexpected occurrences in life. I have to make them understand that the insurance policy will benefit them—their selves and family members,” she said.

Sun Life PH Financial Advisor Andrea de Guzman

To conclude the session, the speakers agreed that their fulfillment comes from successfully making their clients “look at insurance not with fear but with excitement.” Restart your financial journey and be sure you are adequately armed with appropriate insurance products for the future not just for yourself but more importantly, for your family.

To get guidance for financial planning, approach a Sun Life financial advisor. You can take recommendations and referrals from your friends or find your ideal advisor online via the Advisor Match. You may also visit the Sun Life Philippines website for more information and check out more tools and resources at Money for Life.

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