Financial Planning… its not about the money
It sounds wrong doesn’t it… in fact it can seem like a simple marketing line that’s a poorly disguised lie. However I can assure you that it (financial planning) really is not about the money. However quite obviously money is part of the discussion… eh? Is this double-talk? Let me explain.
Financial planning is really quite simple. It is about helping you to figure out what lifestyle you want. You may find it hard to believe it, but that really is it. It is not about the money. Your lifestyle may be “big or small” but that’s your choice, it is your life. It’s about thinking about how you wish to spend your time.
Its about time
We all have the same amount of time; we all have 24 hours each day – until our last. A great financial planner will remind you that life is short. This is not meant to panic you, but to remind you. So if you didn’t have long to live, what would you do with your remaining time? Of course I have no idea how long I will live or anyone else. That’s one of the greatest gifts of life – to not know the future. As a result all plans and all financial planning are verbalised hopes and plans. Not the same as wishes, but actionable plans. Yes I might wish I won the lottery – but I never play the lottery. A plan may involve some things that cannot be pinned down clearly – I want to be a good father, available to my daughters. So I had better live in such a way and ensure I make time for a relationship with them. This has knock-on consequences and of course we juggle and compromise. When push comes to shove, your values will reveal if such a thing really is a goal or plan. There are consequences and actions. So as you can see, financial planning can get under your skin. It can be messy. It can also involve some hard choices….sometimes.
It is not about how well your pension or portfolio are performing this week. It is not about your property acquisition strategy or your income. It is about you. Your life. Your values and goals. The financial plan is the architectural drawing around which the money is arranged. Changes to the plan almost certainly will require changes to the way things are arranged. Unlike a building, you can change your plan (OK you can alter a building but that’s pretty hard), but like a building solid foundations are required.
Financial Planning Week is not about products
So whilst it is financial planning week. Don’t get side-tracked by charges, products, returns, markets, asset classes. These are all fringes, trimmings. Your plan, is about you, your life. For that you need someone that you can trust as you will need to be open and honest about your life and what you want from it. The process can take time, so you need a planner that is both a good listener and patient.
Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA