2001: Lord Of The Rings- Jackson
I was amused to read a piece in my trade press that was based on a survey of 2,000 adults (readers of my blog will be familiar with my views about surveys). Anyway the research for Unbiased and Standard Life suggests that people that sought independent advice were better off – by over twice as much. This is the great beauty of a headline of course – using an IFA will make you double your money. Well you may be surprised to learn that I don’t agree. Hang on, I’m an IFA (though I call myself a financial planner these days), yes I am. However will using me make you twice as well off? I’d really like to think so, but its nonsense, life is not that simple is it.
Its nonsense, because how much you save and therefore the size of your pension pot (or whatever it is) is not a way to assess a financial planner. All my clients take their financial planning more seriously than the average person – of course they do, because they pay me for the advice. Most people are still living in a fairytale where financial advice is free or costs next to nothing (for which I include Mr Miliband and his really very dreadful set of “advisers”). By definition, my clients are more pro-active, thoughtful and able to see the wood for the trees. They know that maths is maths and financial planning is not wizardry, I am not Gandalf the Great. Inevitably, these “smarter” people have more money or certainly are better at not spending all of it. It is no wonder therefore that they have larger funds and thus more income.
Great financial planning is not about the size of your funds or even how well they perform. It is about making sure that you have enough money to provide the lifestyle that you want – and not run out. It is about thinking and planning carefully for the future, but also ensuring that life today is not ignored. It may be that with great financial planning, you are no “better off” at all than average Jo, but then again, you could be tenfold, or a hundredfold “better off”. It is about the process of planning and getting there. Engaging a great financial planner should make a massive difference, not just “twice as much”. A massive difference – because you will know what you need and what you need to do. There are only three types of people when it comes to financial planning. Those that don’t have enough, those that do and finally, those that do but don’t know they do. Great financial planning is about M-A-K-I-N-G-I-T-C-L-E-A-R.

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