The ABCs of cash flow planning: H is for Harness

By Stephanie Holmes-Winton | February 24, 2014 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
2 min read

Every week, we look at the ABCs of cash flow management.

Read: The ABCs of cash flow planning

H is for Harness

Advisors have to harness all of a client’s available funds, as well as show that client how she can better control her income and debts.

When tackling cash flow planning, you first need to look at which expenses a client can actually control and then show her how to do that. Then, you can make any needed changes to her debt structure.

Read: 4 ways to maximize income today

Once you take those steps, you’ll be able to see the accurate and accessible difference between her income and expenses that wasn’t there before. This is called her “financial independence gap.”

After figuring out how much money you’ve got to work with, you can create a tailored cash flow plan. This will help her harness her cash flow and more effectively work towards meeting her financial goals.

Read: How to preserve clients’ nest eggs

The challenges

Clients don’t always know how much they earn versus how much they spend.

That’s because most people don’t regularly track their spending habits. As such, they may provide inaccurate figures when you start cash flow planning. For example, your client may say she only spends $6,000 out of the $8000 she earns per month, but then reveal she isn’t sure why she doesn’t have close to $24,000 in her savings accounts at the end of the year.

Read: Canadians aren’t tracking spending

This uncertainty’s a problem since you can’t allocate and work with money that isn’t available.

Your client may also have her debts set up inefficiently so that she’s paying more interest than needed. In that case, you should not only suggest she change the structure of those debts, but also help revise her payment schedules.

Read: Get out of debt without going broke

Helping clients harness their cash flows means helping people cut out unimportant expenses and inefficient interest. They’ll then have more financial freedom and more confidence that they’ll meet their goals.

Come back next week for letter I.


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Stephanie Holmes-Winton

Stephanie Holmes-Winton is a Halifax based financial services educator/speaker who helps advisors find the money to help their clients fund their financial plans. She is the author of Defusing The Debt Bomb & $pent. Stephanie is also the founder and board chair of the Certified Cash Flow Specialist™ designation program. You can reach Stephanie at or