Trust and confidence is the key to all our relationships.
How far would you be prepared to travel to achieve blue sky?
A few thousand miles maybe, perhaps to Spain, Italy or Greece. Well, in September 2015 we went about 130 miles to Poole in Dorset in search of our blue sky. It turned out to be a very fruitful mission!
At Coy Pond we made our way into Blue Sky Financial Planning who had previously been armed with our relevant financial information. Following a warm welcome and very professional presentation we left 3 hours later doing high fives in their car park.
‘You can retire now’ they said, much earlier than we could ever have expected as we were only 59 and 60; both anticipating at least another 5 years at work. Based upon our current spending pattern we were told our funds would not run out until age 94 barring any unforeseen circumstances. Wow, what were we waiting for?!
The power of professional planning, help and support had hit us head on, so in June 2016 we did retire and have not looked back since. We now have the time and resources to experience the real blue sky (Greece next) and all this is thanks to Gary Neild and Russell Skinner at Blue Sky Financial Planning.
Our strong recommendation to those who haven’t yet planned for the rest of their lives, is to not delay doing so any longer. Gary, Russell and their colleagues are waiting to do that for you now and we are very confident that if you engage them, you will not be disappointed.
Good luck and happy travels.
The Personal Touch
Having entrusted our finances to Gary and the Blue Sky team about 14 years ago, we have never regretted it. Over that period, he has carefully steered us through some turbulent economic times. He has got to know us and our attitude to risk – generally cautious – and his advice and suggestions have always been based on what we, as individuals, are looking for in our financial planning. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to their financial advice.
For us, that personal touch is very important, as it is something thatis missing so much these days, not just in the world of finance.
Many thanks indeed for your most helpful advice at our meeting last week. We will be house hunting with our niece this week and she’s delighted that with financial input from family and ourselves, she may now at last be able to get ‘a home of her own’. You are indeed overseeing the wellbeing of our entire family!
Genuinely Life Changing Advice
We cannot underestimate the life changing experience for us in gaining a full understanding of our financial situation and plans towards retiring in the next few years, through the help of Martin and Tammy at Blue Sky Financial Planning.
We have good business acumen, but it takes a special skill to be able to assess, communicate and guide you through the real minefield of pension and savings legislation and in a way that doesn’t scare you! From the moment we first met Martin and Tammy, we felt that they had a genuine desire to understand us personally and that we were not just a number on their client register. The ability to review and refine the cash flow models gave us a real visualisation of the impact on our choices over our pension and retirement, it is so powerful and memorable!
Over the last year we have had a number of issues challenging us on the rollercoaster of life; but being able to talk with Martin and get his perspective has been crucial in helping us make well informed decisions. At a personal level, we feel strongly that the values of Blue Sky come through Martin and Tammy very well and we do feel that we can trust them totally with the most important financial decisions that we will ever make.
Not at all as we had feared
It was an amazingly uplifting feeling leaving Gary’s office following our consultation with him. I had gone in expecting the voice of doom telling me I would have to work well passed retirement and that we wouldn’t be able to afford any real pleasures if we didn’t work.
Gary asked us about our dreams, desires and ambitions if money was no object, which was quite an emotional experience because they seemed like impossibilities.
Using the cashflow forecast, he was able to demonstrate that, with sensible management, our future was. He showed us ways to use our money and make it work for us; ways that we could afford to spend several thousand on a holiday, family or to give to charity every year and still have enough to look after ourselves in our old age.
He opened our eyes to a comfortable future of fun, enjoyment and giving – rather than guarding our money just in case.
A huge relief!
I originally contacted Gary Neild of Blue Sky Financial Planning approximately two years ago when I was looking for advice on pension investment. I had limited financial knowledge and Gary very patiently guided me through the process and was always at the end of the phone to answer any queries.
Up until I met Gary and his team, I had always been concerned about my financial future. Not anymore! Together we have compiled a risk management plan which includes life insurances and cashflow forecasting.
The cashflow forecast enables me to see at a glance what my financial situation will be at certain stages in my life.
It is a huge relief to know that I am financially secure and I can concentrate on enjoying my life and carry on spending … subject to Gary’s agreement, of course! Thank you Blue Sky!
Long may it continue
I have been with Blue Sky for 15 years and in that time I have never doubted their ability to look after my finances.
Gary and Russell are very professional, experts in their field and are passionate about what they do.
When it comes to money, I am one of those who needs all the help I can get.
They care not just about my money but about me as a person and, after leaving our annual review meetings, I feel happy, confident and rejuvenated.
Long may it continue.
Worth the wait
We are so pleased that we found Blue Sky. It is the first time that we can honestly say that managing our money is fun!
They are not like other financial professionals that we have spoken to; their first aim is to make us feel comfortable and confident in discussing our position – not finding something to sell us.
The regular reviews allow us to debate options and give us time to consider, without the pressure of a salesman wanting their commission.
I wish that we’d found Blue Sky 20 years earlier!
Investing for the future
I have used the services of Blue Sky for the last eight years now. As well as having insurances through Blue Sky, I have investments in pension funds, ISA’s and I have been investing in the monthly opportunity investment fund for the last two years.
Having achieved an average investment return of over 9% per annum over the last eight years (and this during the worst financial crisis I have known), Blue Sky have proven their value time and time again. They continually exceed my expectations.
Gary and the team at Blue Sky have always advised the best investment / planning methods to help me achieve my goals – be it financial or personal, without me needing an interpreter to decipher the usual jargon some advisers try to bamboozle us with. Most importantly, they also listen.
Knowing my financial plan is tailored to me and the fact that I can check the status of my portfolio online whenever I want, provides me with the confidence – and more importantly trust – to employ the services that Blue Sky provides.
I would gladly recommend Blue Sky to anyone looking for financial planning services.
A refreshing and rewarding experience
We have been with Blue Sky for nearly three years, and during this time Gary and his team have demonstrated a very high level of professionalism coupled with a sound, down-to-earth approach.
We like the principles on which Blue Sky activity is based, we like the way in which, through a dialogue, the client’s objectives are identified and then the overall financial strategy is constructed. In this time we have been stimulated to think more clearly about our financial objectives in the short, medium and long term and have been encouraged to play a more active role. The advice we are receiving is undoubtedly tailored to address our specific objectives, and we feel that there is a lot of proactive thinking in Blue Sky’s management of our investment portfolio.
In conclusion, we are glad that in 2011 – when we felt the need to change financial adviser and vetted 3-4 possible alternatives – we selected Blue Sky because their business philosophy appealed to us. It has been a very refreshing and rewarding experience, and we are looking forward to many more years of cooperation.
Moving forward with confidence
My wife and I, like many I suspect, have always been uncertain and on edge regarding our finances. Although comfortably off, we remain ignorant and keen not to explore the nitty gritty of our finances. This I think is mostly centred on the what if? question. It is the fear associated with what if the interest rates go up? or what if the stock market falls? etc, that keeps our heads buried firmly in the sand and leads us to live with a “we’ll get by” philosophy.
It was on this background that Gary and the Blue Sky team have been so supportive, considerate and professional. To be able to have matters so clearly explained, graphs that are clearly understandable and the opportunity to wash away many of our fears and look clearly at what is possible, built around our needs with a kind and gentle-handed approach has been a blessing. Gary has such a calm, caring, capable and professional approach.
There is much fear associated with going for financial advice, there are many bad stories and let downs. But trust is at the heart of what Blue Sky offers so well. You do not feel you are being sold or pushed a product, you are developing a partnership focusing on your own best interests.
The cash flow forecasting has been very rewarding and has done so much to address our fears. We feel our minds have been put at ease.
In conclusion, I would echo Nelson Mandela’s wonderful phrase that I feel so much reflects the skills offered by Gary and the Blue Sky team:
“a good head and a good heart are a formidable combination.”
This has left me feeling confident in the advice I have been given, and the direction forward we agreed together. Kate and I feel grateful to have had this opportunity, and say thank you. Meant from the heart!
Well…..I’ve done it!
Tony has left the building for the last time as an employee. 🙂
I wanted to thank you and your team again for giving me the confidence and ability to do what I have just done.
This is down to the hard work, commitment and personal care you and all your team provide in order to help make my dreams come true….and I sincerely thank you for that.
Am going to take a couple of weeks to chill and adjust to my different way of life.
I know this is going to be alien to me for a little while, but will arrange to come down and see you very soon.
Lets face it …I’ve got plenty of free time now. 🙂 #feelingsmug
Keeping it in the family
I decided to invest with Gary at Blue Sky on advice from my son-in-law, as his mother and father were receiving a generous return on their funds, and as it turned out his advice was solid.
I have been with Blue Sky for seven years now and I receive a monthly income which tops up my pension and I lead a comfortable life, whilst my capital has grown year on year.
My annual meetings with Gary are informative, clear and personal. Time is taken to ensure that I am getting what I want and need from my money and an explanation of the markets is simplified so that I can understand what’s been happening in the past year and what will likely happen in the future.
I have reached the stage in life where I am slowing down and am not as active, in the past two years I have taken lump sums to make home improvements, have a holiday of a lifetime and enjoy my money in my later years with comfort in the knowledge that money is invested wisely with Blue Sky.
Somebody to trust
Great to meet up yesterday and I was thinking as I went home that we have been on a journey together. I just wanted to say thank you for being ‘my man from the AA’ so to speak: breakdowns, repairs and MOTs – somebody to trust.
A rich retirement
I met Gary Neild about 20 years ago when I first moved to Bournemouth to start a new job, and he came to give a talk about financial management on my induction programme. Since that time Gary has supported and encouraged me to use my money wisely and plan for the future.
However, I am a bit of a worrier and was very anxious about retiring and fearful that I would not have enough money to enable me to enjoy life after working for 45 years. I delayed retirement until I really had a few wake up calls concerning my husbands health and some of my friends were dying before they could enjoy their retirement.
It was then that Gary encouraged me to consider the Cash flow analysis to see just what I could afford to spend and still have enough as a back up plan if life got tough.
I had a dream of going to Canada to see my good friend and I really wanted to see the wild life and especially a black bear! I had never allowed myself the luxury of a long haul holiday as I thought I could not afford it but Gary showed me that I really could afford to do it.
Last year my dream came true and I had the most wonderful time and I saw my black bear within a few feet of me!! I am so glad I listened to Gary in the end because he could demonstrate clearly with flow charts and figures that I could afford more than I would have believed.
Listen to Gary because he knows what he is talking about!
Our Needs Understood
It bothered us coming to the time in our lives (being pensioners in our 60s) where we were unsure of what the future would hold. We were unsure of how much money we might have left in years to come to maintain the quality of life we enjoy at the moment.
We discussed this with Gary at Blue Sky (in a relaxed and modern office). We are now pleased that it is possible to continue with our enjoyment of bowls, as well as yearly holidays, whilst maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the future.
Gary didn’t rush us, and listened to our aspirations carefully until he understood our needs fully. With his helpful, professional advice for future planning, we are over the moon knowing that we have no financial worries ahead.
We are so pleased that Blue Sky was recommended to us.
A Real Pleasure
This is the beginning of our second year with Blue Sky and we can honestly say the experience has been a real pleasure. We had never been very financially astute; just existing day to day really, although we both had paid into pension schemes. When we inherited some money we were worried about the prospect of investing it sensibly and it was extremely fortuitous that at this point Blue Sky was recommended to us by a friend.
Although we were quite anxious about our initial meeting, all our fears were unfounded. We were put at ease and have been very pleased with everything. Gary consistently makes every effort to understand our situation and is very sensitive to our individual needs. He always explains everything in terms we can understand and has never put any pressure on us to agree with his recommendations. We are aware that Gary has clients with far larger investments than ours; however he always makes us feel that we are just as important as any of his other clients.
Meeting with Gary and Tammy is always an enjoyable and uplifting experience. We leave feeling reassured and confident that we can enjoy our future. We only wish we’d been introduced a couple of decades ago.
Tailored advice for the long haul
Gary and the team have been looking after my financial affairs now for over 30 years, from the dark days of 15% interest rates in the late 80’s/early 90’s and negative equity, leading now to the autumn of my working life before heading towards what I now can see as a happy stress free-retirement, with the very real prospect that I can now choose to retire earlier than I expected.
This is something that I never thought would be possible. The fact that I can actually now contemplate this, is because I finally bought into Gary constantly telling me about financial planning and its importance. Initially, I thought it was not for me, as financial planning has always frightened me. But I’m relieved now that I listened and went with his advice.
What Gary and Russell have shown me is a life plan, providing me with the comfort and knowledge that my retirement years are covered and the big events such as weddings etc. are not so frightening from a financial point of view. I’m actually better off than I thought I was and I can go on holiday…..although don’t tell the wife!
I’ve been so impressed with what Blue Sky have done for me, that I have insisted on some work colleagues (of varying age and stages of their lives) to meet with Gary and Russell so they can listen to what they have to say and be shown what can be achieved. Whether they go for it is up to them, but at least they can see what can be done with a bit of forward planning. Don’t get me wrong, a comfortable retirement from a financial perspective does not come easy and we have had to tighten some belts along the way, but certainly in hindsight, turning a blind eye to the future is not an option and it would be a hell of a lot scarier if you do!
Financial planning in the truest sense
Gary has been dealing with our financial affairs for several years now and a few years ago we had a dream of finishing our business and retiring early. When we saw Gary, Russell and Tammy last year, the future looked really rosy and we couldn’t wait. But, as is often the case with life, things happened and it wasn’t as straightforward as we’d hoped and I for one was actually quite concerned about things.
However, with Gary’s calm reassurance and intelligent planning strategies, we found this year that we are still able to pursue our dream of retiring early and being able to do all the things we’d planned.
The service you get is exemplary and the team take a holistic view of your life plans and are able to factor in whatever eventuality you can think of such as expenses for holidays, weddings, new cars and so on.
To know that someone from Blue Sky is at the end of the phone is very reassuring and, for the simple peace of mind it has given us to pursue our dreams, it has been worth every visit we have made.
Finding someone to trust
When I met Gary for the first time ten years ago I was 54 years old, had just come out of a 35 year marriage and was in a very vulnerable state, frightened to trust anyone with my money.
Obviously the management of my pension fund was going to make an enormous difference to my life, and I knew nothing about investment. Straight away it became clear to me that Gary really enjoyed his work and took a great pride in keeping ahead of the game.
Since then I really do not believe anyone could have done better with my money. Without taking too much risk, he has ridden the recession so well. When we sat down and assessed my needs in retirement, Gary got me thinking about spending some money on something I really wanted, I bought a Shepherds Hut, which has given me a much needed extra room. This has made a huge difference to our lives, I really would not have contemplated spending that money without Gary’s encouragement.
Gary has treated me as an individual and put a lot of thought into helping me. He has gathered around himself a superb team, who are very kind and helpful.
I am very glad that I placed my trust in him.
More than just financial advice
I have never liked the financial industry. I have had a distinctly dim view of ‘financial advisers’ since some 30 years ago when I was persuaded to get myself into almost unmanageable debt at the start of my career, jeopardising my home and contributing to the demise of my first marriage. Sure, it wasn’t all their fault, but what they saw in me was an opportunity to sell some products and make a commission rather than give out sound, sensible advice on not just money matters, but everything else that is intrinsically attached to money.
The language of money, the structure and procedure of the industry may as well have been Mandarin to me, but at the time it was the fashion to mortgage yourself inside out, get a loan, get a credit card. At no point did anybody tell me, in plain English, what the consequences could really be.
Since those dark beginnings, I have had several other ‘financial advisers’, all of whom have left me with a feeling of them not getting the point – not seeing that I was someone who wasn’t educated in the ways of the finance industry (let’s face it, who is when they leave school?). Financial competence seems to be something we’re all supposed to inherit genetically, or absorb out of the ether. I was intent on being myself, getting on with my work as a sound engineer to the best of my ability, earning a crust. Money, although important, wasn’t the biggest thing. There was and still is, more to life.
In my business people are the most important commodity. The work can consume you and all those around you if you let it, which I have and although it is possible to earn a reasonable wage – at what cost? And who do you trust to advise you on managing both the money and yourself?
Time has a habit of occasionally coming through, and a few years ago my sister persuaded me to approach Blue Sky, and Gary Neild in particular, with a view to him helping me out with investing some inheritance money. I was reluctant, but acquiesced. To say that I am happy I did would be a gross understatement!
I approached Gary with all my defences up, and determined to expose him as yet another con-man in a sharp suit with a maths O Level. Before I knew it, he was agreeing with me! We talked about how wrong it was that financial management wasn’t a critical part of the school curriculum, about how ethically broken the industry could seem to somebody like me. Most importantly, Gary was able to educate a hardened cynic and imbue a deep sense of trust in me. He spoke my language, knew my pain and wanted to put it right.
Above all, what Gary has given me is the self-confidence to believe in myself as a saleable commodity, a desirable brand. I have suggested that Gary should consider re-branding Blue Sky as what they do is so much more than dish out financial advice. Life coaching, financial education, business mentoring, personal guru services – I could go on. He has helped me initiate the process of changing the way I work, to align it more with the other things around me that are important, like my family. He has taught me to listen to myself and those close to me, and to have the courage to change things for the greater good. He has taught me that money isn’t a dirty word, and that life is about living, not earning. He has put me on the right path.
I’m still not rich, but at least now I can see what’s possible!
Don’t plan to invest, invest in planning
It’s a tremendous reassurance to know that Gary and his team have such a firm understanding of our financial wishes. The care they show in all our dealings with them is enormously impressive – in creating a life plan, in explaining their recommendations, in discussing our reactions and in implementing our decisions! We would have no hesitation in recommending Blue Sky to anyone!
The personal touch
Thank you for your time the other Friday. It was helpful to meet and have our review. We really appreciated you considering our needs individually and your advice in terms of going to a bi-annual review.
We hope you have a good summer and we look forward to working with you via Tammy and Martin in the future.
A friendly approach
At Blue Sky you are made to feel more than just a customer, you are made to feel like a friend. From the moment you walk in and are greeted by friendly smiles the whole aim is to appraise your situation and glean from you, just what you want from your visit. In a pleasant atmosphere you tell Blue Sky how you feel and what you want and you are listened to. They will then use their expertise to tailor a solution that does it’s best to meet your goals for investment whilst also meeting your requirement for caution.
Always there for us
The best phrase that I can find is “working with” Blue Sky, as I think this describes the relationship that you have with the company. We have had a plan to move abroad for a couple of years now and Blue Sky have been part of that planning phase since the beginning. Gary and Russell have helped us from the beginning with their innovative cash-flow forecast. I always read the blogs from Gary with the examples of people who have discovered peace of mind from being able to take a long-term look at their finances and realise that with planning they do have more than enough money to satisfy their future lifestyle needs. However, I know that this works as we are a perfect example of this being put into practice.
Blue Sky, through Russell and Gary, work out the numbers required for you to enjoy your money and live comfortably. However, the crucial part happens from the planning phase right through to implementation. It is not just about numbers – it is about them understanding your needs as well as understanding where you are going with your life. This may sound out of their scope but it is a massive differentiating factor. It allows them to give better advice, take better financial decisions and give more peace of mind.
My wife and I have had a real feeling that Russell and Gary were there to support us. We have always felt that they have a real vision of what we are trying to achieve and this insight has helped them make our money work best for us. They have lived through our move with us and have been a massive part of making it work. As my wife said, “We couldn’t have done this without Russell and Gary.”
My advice is…be open with Blue Sky in the planning phase, trust and follow their judgements as they work and communicate with them. The more that Blue Sky understand about your lifestyle and goals, the more that they can help you achieve them”.
Making a difference
Before we went to see Gary, we were doubtful that a financial adviser could make much of a difference to our circumstances. Our mortgage was backed up by an under-performing endowment which worried us but we thought we would just be advised that we need to make larger monthly contributions.
Now, with Gary’s help and advice, we have a plan in place which not only means that we are happy and confident that our mortgage will be covered without having to make larger contributions, but also that if we continue and invest and plan well, our financial future will be much better than we had previously hoped.
The personal touch
My wife and I first joined with Blue Sky Financial Planning in 2003, and since we have watched the company develop into what is a highly proactive and professional organisation.
The senior team is knowledgeable, current and innovative in their thinking. We have appreciated the personal touch offered by advisers; what is key for us has been their continuing sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of us as clients. We have been delighted with our association with Blue Sky and with the progress our portfolio has made under their stewardship.
Taking Ownership Of Our Future
Thank you for taking time out to meet us yesterday to present the cash flow projections prepared on our behalf.
To be honest, it was probably fair to say that we didn’t really know what to expect and were a little sceptical with regard to the likely outcome. I’m very pleased to say that you very quickly allayed our fears and we both came away feeling somewhat liberated and satisfied that we were finally taking ownership over our future security.
It may sound like a cliché, but I can honestly say, I woke up this morning without the customary nagging doubts about our future and, above all, my ability to plan for our retirement!
In safe hands
Retiring can be a daunting process, giving up a regular salary to rely on pension income. I needn’t have worried as Gary and the team at Blue Sky have done an excellent job sorting out my finances. From analysing my future income needs to arranging investments and generating pension income the whole process was expertly managed and I felt fully informed every step of the way.
I can now relax knowing my retirement finances are in safe hands at Blue Sky.
Comfort In Turbulent Times
Gary Neild has looked after our money for around 14 years and during this period, there have been turbulent times; most notably 9/11 and the recession. There have been ups and downs, but we always knew that the portfolio was being watched closely on a daily basis giving us comfort in the difficult times that all the financial markets faced.
We have watched Blue Sky grow and evolve into the company it is today. As it has grown, Gary has not forgotten or ignored the smaller investor, and we are very pleased with our returns. In particular, around 8 years ago, my husband transferred in a frozen pension that had been stagnating. He is now shortly to retire, and the growth in this pension pot has been significant, whilst following a balanced investment approach. As he approaches retirement, Gary has helped to sort out the other smaller pensions, provided advice, and arranged drawdowns. He has made the process hassle free and we cannot speak highly enough of Gary and the Blue Sky team.
Stop dreaming, start living
We have worked with Gary and the team in the initial stages of planning our joint retirement. They put you at ease and are able to present in a friendly and informative manner. They have already guided us in sorting out our pension funds and helped us understand that can we can realistically achieve many of our dreams, the main one being retirement before we thought possible. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Blue Sky.