We have been inundated with enquiries over recent months, and still it amazes me how many people hesitate about taking more control of their financial future. Hesitate about having a plan for the rest of their lives and for their families! Instead, often looking for short term fixes.
For us, it’s all about confidence. Knowing you have a plan that can be adapted and flexed according to the changes in legislation, economics, markets and your own personal situation, surely has to makes sense. Yet, many still want solutions to a particular issue and don’t look at the bigger picture.
I often liken it to a jigsaw. One with thousands of pieces. Imagine though, unlike a jigsaw, that you haven’t seen the picture before you started. Most of us might focus on building up one or two areas of the picture but when it gets difficult, probably give up and get frustrated. Not dissimilar to dealing with your financial arrangements!
On many occasions people come in and want specific advice on certain aspects of their financial matters. The mitigation of inheritance tax is a common enquiry. Yet, passing money to loved ones at the right time, in the right way, is so much more involved than just placing money in a trust or giving money away. It can have implications down the line, for example, in one’s ability to meet potential care costs.
A client asked me only this week if I could meet with him to chat about the situation with his in-laws. Now, he and his wife have embarked upon Comprehensive Financial Planning and hats off to them. They are used to looking at all the pros and cons and modelling various scenarios – stress testing the long term impact of any short term decisions. They had spent many hours talking the situation through and really just wanted confirmation that they were doing the right thing and to question whether I could think of anything else which they should consider.
The day after our meeting I received an e-mail, part of which went as follows:
“A sincere thank you for taking time out to meet me yesterday (and for the coffee!). Our chat was an eye opener to me and has certainly given us food for thought in our approach to discussing matters. I realise our situation is far from unique, but the problem is we are obviously emotionally involved and not always able to see the wood for the trees.
Your commentary and suggestions were exactly what I wanted/needed and my wife and I would like to, once again, thank you for your help with this.”
Of course we all have biases, especially when loved ones are involved. The key is not to let these biases influence key financial decisions. Having a plan is so much more than having a cash-flow forecast, it’s about having a collaborative relationship with someone you can trust, someone you can use as a sounding board and someone who can challenge your pre-determined thinking.
Not one of our clients have ever been disappointed that they have received help in completing their jigsaw!
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA