Financial planning is a complex process involving a lot more than numbers. As financial planners, we address our clients’ deepest hopes and fears and help to craft the best outcome for them. In doing so, we could be said to wear three hats. Let’s see what each of them involve.
When our clients meet us sometimes they’re over-extended with insufficient income, lacking pension funding sources and they have significant levels of debt. These clients may be losing sleep over financial worries. There may be a concern in the back of their mind which they haven’t felt able to vocalise with anyone for fear of spreading the worry. They may be worrying about bills that are due at the end of the month. Or they may be feeling disheartened that they have worked for so many years and have nothing to show for it at the end. Many people reach the latter years of their working lives with less money in their bank accounts than they expected and thus feel disillusioned and disappointed.
Our job is to bring these worried clients to a place of understanding where they stand right now. Through listening and asking the right questions, we can figure out what lies at the heart of the concern. As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. This is definitely the case when the person you have shared that concern with can see that the issue isn’t insurmountable. When we’re overwhelmed by a problem it is more difficult to think it through objectively. In this state of panic, solutions don’t make themselves known. But, by sitting down and examining the concern from a calm perspective with your financial planner, a way through can be found and planned for. At the most basic level, in meetings such as this, a stressed client goes away knowing that they’re not in this alone – and that, in itself, can be very comforting.
There is nothing wrong with facing financial worries or problems, it is a part of life which most of us come up against at some point or another.
In our business, we use all the financial tools in the market to find the best match for our client’s particular needs. Our clients don’t want products, they want solutions and we deliver that by taking the time to understand the complexity of our client’s situations and with them, choosing the best course of action for them. We ensure that if someone gets sick or dies that there will be enough resources available to ensure that the family’s lifestyle doesn’t have to change as a result of lack of funds.
We help people to envisage what it is that they want for themselves and their families in the future. It is easy to get lost in the details of setting up financial arrangements, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the lifestyle you desire for yourself and your family.
When a client presents their vision for the future, we play devil’s advocate, questioning it to make sure it is what they truly want, rather than a vision that they think they ought to have. This is part of the benefit of being outside the emotion of the situation, we can be impartial.
Once they are clear on what it is that they want, we can help them to achieve it. We also cling onto it for them. When the bustle of everyday life takes over, it can be easy to lapse into autopilot, forgetting the plans we made for, and the promises we made, to ourselves. We can remind you of these plans when life gets in the way.
We mentor our clients to keep their vision in the forefront of their minds as they go about life. Sometimes our vision needs to change in line with developments in life and so building a vision for the future is not a once off event, but an on-going process. Problems can arise when we least expect it in life, but sometimes a problem can be flagged before it has become a difficult one. We aim to spot these hazards before they crop up so that our clients are best prepared to deal with them when they do. We help our clients to keep their vision alive while taking care of the bumps along the road.
In line with this way of working, we charge fees so that we don’t have to sell our clients anything unless it is what is best for them. This way, we act as our clients’ right arm in planning their finances and are happy to continue as such for as long as they are happy with the situation. It is a position of great trust and it is fantastic to see our clients come closer to reaching their dreams and saying goodbye to stress and worry.