Caption: FMB's Director of Business Development, Ruth Power
Our financial planning story...
Director of Business Development, Ruth Power, shares her story on how working with a financial planner has helped her and her family.
"We like to practice what we preach. Financial Planning isn’t about products and investments (although they play an important role), it’s about having a mentor to help you make decisions and weigh up the pros and cons. You can’t be your own objective mentor, so Roger Jackson, our Director of Financial Planning is my own Financial Planner. My husband and I began having regular meetings a few years ago, at a stage in our lives when clients typically first approach us. We were 45 and things were starting to get more complicated. I’m lucky my husband is an accountant and great with spreadsheets and I had already sorted out things like critical illness cover and life insurance as we have two children, so we had been doing okay.
However, you need a strategy. You need to pin down your goals and make a plan on how you are going to achieve them. For most people, even when you are relatively wealthy, you still have to make choices about what to do and more importantly WHEN to do it and in what order. So, when we started out, we had quite a bit of research to do around what we were spending our money on, what we already had in place and what milestones we wanted to achieve.
We have achieved some of them already which is great. The kind of decisions we need to make have been around whether to pay off our mortgage early. Can we afford to upsize one more time? What sacrifices would we need to do to achieve that and what impact could it have on our retirement plans? We wanted to make sure both of us would be financially secure if anything happened to one of us. Could we maintain our lifestyle if one of us couldn’t work? We have children too so we wanted to make provision to help them if they want to go to university.
Among these big picture financial decisions are lifestyle choices. What happens if one of us were to not work full time in the future? Many couples wrestle with these decisions and these are the kind of compromises and choices you need to consider. There is always a balance to be struck and where you find it is a very individual decision.
Here are some of the ways Roger has helped us:
- Using cashflow modelling software to show the impact of lifestyle decisions – what if we increase our mortgage? What if we finish work two years earlier? What if one of us can’t work? What if there is a market crash?
- Helping us organise our affairs tax efficiently - having a balanced portfolio of cash, ISA and pensions to ensure short, medium and long term cashflow, as well as making sure we use tax allowances.
- Investment strategy - having a balanced portfolio for long term growth including ESG investments as we would like to encourage better corporate practices.
- Being a critical friend and asking the right open-ended questions to find out what is important to us and how we see our future. As a couple, it is sometimes eye-opening how different your priorities can be.
Our financial plan is an evolving document, so many things can happen in a lifetime, but it is so satisfying each year to achieve short-term goals and see progress towards the future. It’s much better to have a handle on it rather than just worry and guess."
If you would like to see how financial planning can help you, get in touch with us today and arrange a free, no-obligation meeting with a financial planner.