Paddy and Kath Finn have been FMB clients for over 25 years. They met with their original planner, one of the founders Dennis Hale via a recommendation from their accountant when Kath had inherited some money. But let’s jump a bit further back and see how their relationship with money was formed.
Kath feels she was lucky, “I was well off and in a privileged position but in our family, money was treated seriously. If you got something, you looked after it and didn’t replace it till it broke. My parents were the post-war generation, everything was make-do and mend. We were comfortably off, but I was always aware of keeping an eye on things and not being excessive with money. I was brought up in the northeast where the money world was very hierarchical with landowners at the top, it was one of the reasons I liked Cumbria, it didn’t seem like that.”
Paddy had a very different upbringing, but with similar values, “my dad was a shop manager, mum was a bookkeeper but worked in a textile factory because it paid better. They had five kids, but she always worked even when we were small. Money was tight and meals were very frugal, we had a very regimented routine which helped my parents manage money. As we got older there was more money around, but I had a lot of hand-me-downs, my holidays were always in the UK in a caravan. I developed a saving habit early, I used to buy savings stamps from the post office. I would save up for the summer holidays to buy myself treats like ice creams and souvenirs and then I would save up until Christmas to buy Christmas presents. I worked as soon as I could and had loads of different jobs which helped to support me through college. My mum helped top up my grant and I always felt indebted to her, she worked really hard to help me and my brother through university. I never went overdrawn the thought of paying bank charges was galling to me, but I did make the connection that I could earn interest without having to work and it was a useful lesson about how money can work for you.”
Kath‘s upbringing was very rural and there was nowhere to spend money to be extravagant. “I worked on the farm and saved before I went to uni, so I didn't go into debt. I was an outdoors girl, so it was a natural move into outdoor education. I started when I was a student in the holidays and when I finished, I ended up at a centre just by chance in Arnside.
Paddy also took a circuitous route to Cumbria, moving around from the midlands to the south where teaching positions were available. However, he realised that despite working hard with extra jobs he was still stuck renting. “I had already been doing some outdoor coaching and I really enjoyed it. I saw a post in Arnside so that’s where are journey together began."
Although they were from very different backgrounds, they were earning a similar income. “It never occurred to me until I visited her parents for the first time and I realised she might be from a wealthier family. It's never it's never been an issue, we both have the same views about money, we’ve always been on the same page.”
They have used inheritances to buy property and their home has been a great source of pleasure for them. Kath makes the point, “It has always felt like a good investment; a place to bring up our family. We have extended it several times and want to stay here as long as we can.”
The three kids are all grown up now and all have very different attitudes to life, but they are all pretty good with money. Kath reflects, “We invested in good kit for them to encourage them in sports and outdoor pursuits, but we didn’t indulge them if they wanted labels or the latest tech, they had to work for that and buy it themselves. I suppose that’s our extravagance, there has been no mid-life crisis Porsche, it would have been quality bikes and canoes!”
The first time they got involved with FMB was 25 years ago, when Kath inherited some money and they wanted some advice about how to invest it. A recommendation from a trusted advisor was really useful. “We wanted someone local. We still want a face-to-face meeting, it’s really important to us, even in this digital age. Over the years we’ve had casual second opinions but we have only ever met with validation that we were doing all the right things. All the children have had some help from FMB. Our youngest (who's very interested in finance) did his own research before taking up the offer of a meeting. He still decided that FMB was also a good choice for him.”
Kath is quite clear about the benefits, “From the get-go, the advice has always been holistic, not just about investment returns but maximising wealth, minimising tax and utilising allowances. It's created enough wealth to give us a good lifestyle and help our family. We wanted to help our kids while we are still around to share the benefits with them. It’s now they need it.”
A few years ago Paddy had a health scare, it was a difficult time also losing family members. “It does make you aware of your own mortality but it didn't change my attitude to money. I’ve always been focused on experiences rather than possessions, but it did focus the mind in terms of doing some of the things I'd always wanted to do."
In common with other clients who are making the transition from working life to non-working life, it's had more of an impact than maybe expected. Kath is still working flexibly and has a good work-life balance, she thinks if they had both retired at the same time it would have been difficult having them both rattling around in the house.
One thing that is striking about Paddy and Kath is the fluidity of their careers and their openness to trying something new and using their skills in different ways. They have never been afraid to take an unexpected fork in the road. They have diversified their careers; teaching, coaching young people, education management, corporate coaching and now Kath still works regularly as a triathlete coach.
Since working with their Financial Planner Liz Beavis for the last 8 years, Kath has been struck by how useful cashflow modelling has been. “It's helped us with decision-making. We can think out loud and explore different scenarios to find solutions when things change. So how does helping our children now impact our retirement income for example? It's helped us understand what we were spending our money on and keep tighter control of our income and expenditure. We feel on top of things and this has given us freedom because we know the future is secure so we can enjoy the here and now. It's giving us Peace of Mind and after we have seen Liz we feel reassured.”