Finance is a field that deals with the allocation of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. Finance also applies and uses the theories of economics at some level. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management. A key point in finance is the time value of money, which states that purchasing power of one unit of currency can vary over time. Finance aims to price assets based on their risk level and their expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three different sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.Questions in personal finance revolve around:
Protection against unforeseen personal events, as well as events in the wider economy Transference of family across generations (bequests and inheritance) Effects of tax policies (tax subsidies and/or penalties) on management of personal finances Effects of credit on individual financial standing
Planning a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability Personal finance may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement.
Personal finance may also involve paying for a loan, or debt obligations. The six key areas of personal financial planning, as suggested by the Financial Planning Standards Board, are:
Financial position: is concerned with understanding the personal resources available by examining net worth and household cash flow. Net worth is a person's balance sheet, calculated by adding up all assets under that person's control, minus all liabilities of the household, at one point in time. Household cash flow totals up all the expected sources of income within a year, minus all expected expenses within the same year. From this analysis, the financial planner can determine to what degree and in what time the personal goals can be accomplished. Adequate protection: the analysis of how to protect a household from unforeseen risks. These risks can be divided into liability, property, death, disability, health and long term care. Some of these risks may be self-insurable, while most will require the purchase of an insurance contract. Determining how much insurance to get, at the most cost effective terms requires knowledge of the market for personal insurance. Business owners, professionals, athletes and entertainers require specialized insurance professionals to adequately protect themselves. Since insurance also enjoys some tax benefits, utilizing insurance investment products may be a critical piece of the overall investment planning. Tax planning: typically the income tax is the single largest expense in a household. Managing taxes is not a question of if you will pay taxes, but when and how much. Government gives many incentives in the form of tax deductions and credits, which can be used to reduce the lifetime tax burden. Most modern governments use a progressive tax. Typically, as one's income grows, a higher marginal rate of tax must be paid. Understanding how to take advantage of the myriad tax breaks when planning one's personal finances can make a significant impact. Investment and accumulation goals: planning how to accumulate enough money - for large purchases and life events - is what most people consider to be financial planning. Major reasons to accumulate assets include, purchasing a house or car, starting a business, paying for education expenses, and saving for retirement. Achieving these goals requires projecting what they will cost, and when you need to withdraw funds. A major risk to the household in achieving their accumulation goal is the rate of price increases over time, or inflation. Using net present value calculators, the financial planner will suggest a combination of asset earmarking and regular savings to be invested in a variety of investments. In order to overcome the rate of...
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