Engaging with Financial Planning

I was listening to an item on Radio 4 the other morning and was struck by the simple common sense of an interviewee. This was a “young person” who had first hand experience of the care system. She was advocating the position that young people should be more involved in the decisions about their care, that they should have a voice. She was the perfect person to promote or discuss the work of her organisation VOYPIC (Voice of Young People In Care). One of the many sensible things she said was (and I may not be quoting precisely) “… involvement is not being in the same room, but being engaged”… or words to that effect. Absolutely.

Being in the roomroomwithaview

Anyway it got me thinking about the financial planning process. A lot of people are put off by it – frankly that’s why its in such poor shape and has a poor reputation, too much jargon and too boring that the odd % here or there siphoned off you will get lost in the noise. It is only when people get involved in the process that the true value and nature of financial planning (when done well) comes to light. This is therefore experiential, not simply “paid for”. The role of a good financial planner is to tease out values, goals, hopes and fears and to reveal these within a proper financial plan. There is a degree of education and coaching involved, but most importantly the experience should be one where you are listened to and heard. It is not an opportunity to for the adviser to demonstrate how clever he or she is. It is an opportunity for him or her to truly listen and “get it”. Being in the room is not sufficient for financial planning to work well, engagement is required, which when you think of it, is really about getting you to engage with your own life.

So what are you waiting for?

Dominic Thomas: Solomons