The 6 October was World Financial Planning Day and to celebrate it we offered six people one hour of free financial planning guidance. We received lots of enquiries and ended up seeing eight people. Recent joiner, Harry Dunkinson, led many of these meetings and has one or two observations to share.
Being a Financial Planner is a privileged position. I get to work with people to make their hopes and dreams for the future a reality. I help them to face their future calmly and with confidence, and I work hard to make sure they have absolute clarity on their current situation, and what to expect in the future.
Achieving this can take some time – we explore what they want from life, understand all of their current arrangements and then set out a clear direction. This is something that develops over a number of conversations and once established, we come back to it time and time again.
So, when building a lasting financial plan takes time, what can you achieve in an hour? Well, in the hour I spent with clients, I hope I was able to instil one thought.
Take your time.
Where taking your time can help
Your situation may feel overwhelming right now – there may be too much confusing information to make sense of or an urge to just get going – but, unless you have to make an immediate decision, don’t rush.
Before taking action, spend some time thinking about what you want from your future. Making decisions or reviewing your existing financial arrangements with a clear idea of what you’re working to will mean you look at those decisions differently. It will give greater direction to your decision making.
This thinking is what we do with our clients – it’s at the heart of the plans we build but, if you don’t have a planner, there are still steps you can take.
- Put aside some time to visualise your life in the future. If this feels like a stretch, bring the horizon in and focus on something a bit closer. This could be a couple of years ahead. It may be you graduating from university with a manageable level of debt or entering into retirement with a very clear idea of the lifestyle you’ll lead.
- Describe what you’re visualising and write it down. And leave it! Leave it for a week or so and then come back to it. I’m sure that over that time – perhaps when you’re driving, gardening or chatting over dinner – your thoughts will have crystallised further.
- Come back to your description and update it. Use it to help give direction to the financial decisions you’re making.
In many instances thinking alone will help but it can also help to think out loud with other people – whether that’s friends, family or even a professional. Of course, we’d advocate for seeking professional financial planning advice, especially where there are particularly complex considerations.
I’ll finish by saying thank you to everyone I saw as part of our commitment to World Financial Planning Day. It takes a lot to share concerns or hopes and I appreciated the open and honest conversations we had in those hours.