There are times in life when we need professional advice.
Accountants or solicitors, for example:
- If you are a business owner, an accountant will prepare your annual accounts. He or she will also prepare and submit your tax return.
- When the time comes to make or update a will, it’ll be a solicitor you call. Or, when you buy or sell property.
The same is true of engaging with a financial planner.
There are times in life when people traditionally seek independent financial advice: the old newspaper term: ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’ describes rather well when advice is important. There are others too, which include:
- Buying a house
- Changing job
- Having children (hatches)
- Getting married (matches)
- Receiving an inheritance (dispatches)
- Divorce (another type of dispatch!)
There’s no doubt that a financial planner can add value at these stages in your life.
But, why wait?
Financial planning removes the focus from products (ISAs, pensions, etc) and looks at what you want to achieve in life.
That means identifying your objectives, which will be as unique as you are, and then putting in place a plan to ensure you achieve them. That plan is then reviewed on a regular basis to ensure events don’t throw it off track.
It’s not about products, they are just a means to an end, it’s about you and your life.
Our financial planning process follows a six-step process:
Stage 1: Getting Organised
We understand that most people aren’t always as financially organised as they could be. It’s fine to arrive with a bag full of paperwork and unopened envelopes. We help you get clarity on your current financial position so that you can make the next step in the financial planning process.
Stage 2: Exploring the Possibilities
Now that you are organised and have clarity over your current financial position, we help you to imagine what possibilities the future could hold.
By asking you the right questions and using our skills we help you to:
- Visualise where you would like to be at certain stages of your life
- Work with you to set realistic targets
- Plan the financial actions and activity required to achieve these goals
Stage 3: Brainstorm Strategies & Analyse Tactics
We investigate your existing pensions, investments and protection policies, then consider whether these are structured in accordance with the objectives we uncovered in stage two.
We also consider their suitability for you, considering factors such as your:
- Attitude to risk
- Capacity for loss
- Knowledge and experience in investing
- Current tax position
Stage 4: Demonstrate Recommendations and Prioritise Implementations
Using the information we have gathered during stages 1 & 2, along with our financial forecasting, we will:
- Compare where you are now with where you want to be
- If needed, amend the objectives to ensure they are realistic
- Provide recommendations for appropriate products and investments, including changes to existing ones where appropriate
- Incorporate appropriate tax implications
- Put forward a plan which takes you from today to achieving your objectives
Stage 5: Implementation of Your Financial Plan
Presenting the proposal is just the tip of the iceberg. Implementing it is undertaken with the same meticulous attention to detail, meeting the exacting compliance standards of the FCA.
Stage 6: Ongoing Monitoring & Review
We believe an Annual Planning Meeting is arguably the most important meeting we will have with you.
At least once a year we sit down with you to update your Financial Master Plan with a year’s worth of reality to assess your progress toward the objectives. We’ll hear about any changes which might affect the plan, and review what has been set up and how it is performing.
We believe that financial planning is a dynamic process and to meet your life goals you need ongoing coaching and support. It’s not something you can do once and forget about. Most of our clients join our Financial Coaching programme so that we can work together over the long term to ensure that your plan stays on track and we are able to adjust your plan to meet the changing circumstances of your life.
Be proactive, not reactive
Sure, you might have a financial challenge, issue or problem that you want to address straight away; that’s fine, we’d be delighted to help.
But only taking advice when we have a problem means we are constantly firefighting and not thinking strategically.
As financial planners we will help you understand what you want to achieve in life, and then put a financial plan in place to make it a reality.
After all, despite being a cliché, it’s true when people say “life isn’t a dress rehearsal”.