Those that know me or follow my blog, will know that I don’t subscribe to the notion that financial services is a “cool” business sector. Its not “sexy” despite the efforts of various city traders, dealers and risk takers, who do their level best to plunder investors and use the proceeds of oversized bonuses to fuel addictions to gambling, drugs, sex and fast cars. Sadly true. The reality of investing is actually quite dull – in spite of the news stories and the 24/7 TV coverage of “the markets”.
This gives my marketing people a bit of a headache. “Its just not sexy is it!” they say…. no it isn’t and frankly it shouldn’t be either, but what is meant, is that its actually quite difficult to get potential clients and even existing ones engaged with this rather important part of life. Appealing to a sense of responsibility has fallen largely on deaf ears. Most want something that they don’t have to think about and spend as little time as possible tinkering with. Its almost “not British” to think and talk about one’s money is it.
Yet here I am, like the proverbial itch that cannot be scratched, reminding you that it doesn’t have to be this way… but that any financial planning should be ALL ABOUT YOU. It is NOT ABOUT YOUR MONEY. By this I mean that it is your life, your future and you must decide how you wish to live. My job can be boiled down to something simple.
- Help you to avoid running out of money
- Ensure you know what you are trying to achieve and why
- Determine how much is enough (or what your “number” is)
- Figure out how to best get there, with options besides
- Avoid the temptation to constantly meddle and mess with the plan
My role is not to act as your moral regulator, or judge your choices or sweeten the pill of honesty (I’m now reminded of a scene from “The Matrix”). There are many within the advising community (and even more than advise the advising community) to prescribe – make it easy, make it simple, make it the this way, tick that box… and today’s “financial press” is full of more of the same, with notions about the “ideal adviser firm model”. There really isn’t one.
The thing I value most, but is rarely reflected in pricing models or industry “advice” is the ability to take plenty of time to think about my clients. To genuinely reflect on what is appropriate, necessary and important to them. Great financial planning is about making making money fit your life, not fitting your life around money.
Dominic Thomas: Solomons IFA