“It’s not just about the money” is a phrase I find myself using in nearly every client meeting these days. This stems from the evolution of the role of financial advisers and planners in recent years – a shift from focusing solely on a client’s money and investment returns achieved to a focus on the client as a person and what you want to achieve in your life. Our role today is to help you achieve your desired future life through careful and wise decision making in relation to all aspects of your finances.
Our best conversations today don’t start with a long discussion about your money, your assets and debts, your income and expenditure. Instead, the conversation centres around your hopes and dreams, what you want to achieve in your life and what living life on your terms looks like. When you are clear about your desired future life, only then does the conversation turn to determining your ability to afford that life and how we can help you make the life you want a reality.
While developing a financial plan that will guide you to achieve your desired life requires all our expertise, experience and financial planning tools, the process of achieving it is relatively straightforward. We take you through several phases of work to ensure the plan that is developed is robust and gives you the best chance of achieving your future objectives.
This is the most critical of all the phases. It’s not simply a chat that might appear to be rambling around without any sense of direction. Instead this is where we carefully prompt you and try to guide you, to help you envision what your best future life looks like. What’s important to you? Where will you live? When would you like to stop working? What will make you and your family happy? What do you want to achieve?
Once we get clear on what this future life looks like, we can start thinking about what is needed financially to make it a reality. Maybe you have enough money to do all of it now, and just need to go out and live your life without worry. Or maybe you need to make some changes to achieve that life – you might need to save a bit more now, reduce your expenditure or be prepared to work a year or two longer to make it happen. We’ll develop that picture for you and let you see the choices you might need to make.
As part of this, we may use some clever technology that enables us to map out your future cashflows for the rest of your life – how much money you will have every year and whether you will have enough to live the life that you want. Yes, we are making a range of assumptions around this, but these assumptions will be fine-tuned during the lifetime of your plan to increase the accuracy of the forecasts.
Your products (if any)
This is the phase of work we are traditionally associated with. While it’s really important that we get this piece just right, it’s also the most straightforward of all of the phases. We use our knowledge of the market to identify the optimal set of financial products and investments to help you achieve your goals in life.
Your future life
And then the journey begins! At this point you are well set up to achieve your goals in life, but regular contact and scheduled meetings sit at the heart of lifestyle financial planning. These ongoing interactions turn the plan into a real journey towards you achieving your lifetime ambitions. The regular meetings are the opportunity to review and restate your goals, consider again the assumptions used, review the progress and performance of the actions and products that were implemented, and to keep you on track in terms of your behaviours with your money and investments.
We will guide you every step of the way, helping you make the wisest decisions as you progress on your path towards your financial goals. At the end of the day, our success and satisfaction comes from watching our clients living the lives they want to lead, without worrying about money.
Are you ready to identify and achieve the life that you want to live?