Achieve the lifestyle you want
15 October 2021
More than 50 years ago, Bob Dylan sang that “The times they are a changin’”. It was probably very true then in 1964 as the Vietnam War was well underway, President Kennedy had been assassinated the previous year and the Americans were talking very seriously about sending a man to the moon.
But do the times ever stop changing? They don’t really, and while some of these changes are quite negative – we only have to consider the current focus on the damage to the planet through human-caused climate change, many of the changes are really positive too. We’ve seen the fantastic and unbelievably quick development of vaccines for the covid pandemic and the enormously helpful developments in the worlds of technology, new energy sources and other industries.
While the changes in the financial advice world might not appear quite so dramatic, the impacts that they have on our customers are very significant. If we go back just a decade or so, the conversation between an adviser and a client was typically centred around the latest “hot” investment opportunity or a product that was needed to fill a gap in a financial portfolio. These conversations are often still necessary, but now they occupy just one portion of the work that we carry out with clients.
Today our role is one of being a financial mentor. As my colleague John Lucey put it last month (John’s article), the key to excellent financial planning today is in helping you identify the life that you want to live, and then ensuring you have the financial resources to actually achieve it. Both elements are equally important. Identifying your goals and objectives in life is critical to the whole process, as of course is then helping you optimise your finances in order to actually achieve those goals.
So if you haven’t taken the opportunity to work with us yet through our WealthPlan process, we can give you a sense of how we help you to achieve the lifestyle you want.
It’s all about you
This is where through careful questioning, we help you to dream about what you want in life. This is the most important conversation that we will have, as it is these goals in life that will guide your financial plan. Of course we want you to optimise your financial situation and achieve your desired investment returns, but we believe that this needs to be done with purpose and with your goals in mind. Rather than building up a somewhat meaningless pot of money, we want you to have enough to live the life that you want. So we need to know what that life looks like.
Plot out your future
Once we know the life that you want, we then apply the full range of our WealthPlan tools and our research capability to plot out a path for you to achieve that life. We’re not saying that this will be easy! It may require increased saving by you, a complete review of your investment approach or sometimes it may require you lowering your sights, as your desired lifestyle may simply be beyond your financial capacity. But on the other hand, quite often we identify that clients are actually far better off than they think they are and that their desired life is already in reach – right now. It’s great to be able to tell someone who worries about money that they can instead afford to retire today…
We “prove” your financial outlook by mapping out your cashflows for every year of your life, and demonstrating what your financial future looks like. We can then run lots of “What if” scenarios that will show you the impact of changes to your plan – the impact of your income increasing or of a windfall such as an inheritance, or what would change if you suddenly became ill and unable to work.
We go back to the knitting
This is the expected and also very important phase of work – helping you make the absolute most of your money by arranging financial products such as savings, investments and pensions for you, and also designing an investment portfolio to help you achieve your objectives. Expected – yes, but easy – no. This requires careful consideration of factors such as your goals, timeframes and attitude to risk. This is all about choosing the right vehicles to ensure you reach your destination.
Then we travel with you
And then as soon as the plan is completed, something changes… Financial plans need to be completely dynamic and capable of being reviewed and tweaked as needed. The WealthPlan process is based around regular review meetings, where we identify all the changes, review assumptions that need to be adjusted and update your future cashflows picture. Or potentially your goals might have changed, which require a deeper dive into the plan.
We’re happy to be with you at every turn along the way, guiding you and keeping you on track. Because we’re working towards the day when we can say that now you have enough to achieve the life that you want. Then our job is done.