Financial planning comprises of two main elements -The financial strategy (or plan), and the investment strategy. The financial strategy looks at wealth creation, debt management and retirement planning, while the investment strategy examines asset allocation and investment selection.Regardless of the scope of the Financial Plan the process includes six basic steps. These are illustrated below.1. Gather all the factsYou need to put together an accurate picture of your financial situation including the assessment of your investment and risk profile, which can range from conservative to aggressive. Work out your monthly cash flow.2. Set financial goalsWrite down your short, medium and long term income requirements, expenditure estimates, as well as identify any other personal and business needs.In the grand scheme of things money is not that important. What is important about money is that it enables you to enjoy the things which are important to you.3. Identify optionsBy taking advice from a fee based independent financial planner, they should be able to identify a variety of financial strategies and investment vehicles that fit your investment and risk profile. After analysing information on all the available options, they will then develop the most appropriate financial strategy for your objectives.All necessary documentation, product application forms, etc, are completed. All the elements that form the recommended plan are actioned.4. Portfolio and Plan reviewYour portfolio and plan should be reviewed on a regular basis. This can be discussed with the independent financial planner. As your needs and circumstances change, a review of your plan can identify whether changes are required to your portfolio.5. Implementation of final planA draft plan is then prepared incorporating the advice, recommendations and reasoning for proposed actions, including a full disclosure of costs, to meet your specific financial goals and objectives. This plan is then reviewed by you and modified where necessary. A final plan should then be agreed.6. Ongoing Review and ManagementFinancial planning is an ongoing process. The preparation and implementation of the recommendations arising from the plan is only the start of the financial planning relationship.On an ongoing basis, your investments and investment structures must be regularly reviewed with regard to your situation, goals and objectives to ensure that they remain appropriate.Often strategies must be adjusted to make allowance for changes in your circumstances and goals. Essentially a plan will grow with you and your goals for the future.Our economic environment, government rules and regulations and your personal situation will continually change over time.The ongoing review and management of your finances will enable adjustments to be made to your strategy where necessary to keep your portfolio on track to meet your goals and objectives.