Most fears are learnt and apparently we are born with only two: a fear of loud noises and a fear of falling.
All other fears have been created as a product of our experiences and conditioning. Many have been gleaned from our parents, peers, social groups, the media and the odd crisis along the way. They are all learnt.
Here at Blue Sky we see many situations where fear affects people’s behaviours. We often show clients that financially they are in a great position however their emotions and behaviours would suggest otherwise. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Example 1: I’ve worked with one particular couple for over 20 years. Upon reaching retirement, they both had trouble believing how wealthy they really were. They both worked in Governement positions, they both had strong pensions and had inherited; yet they were still worrying about money. The lady in particular was very careful and a frequent visitor to charity shops.
After much persuading they embarked upon our Comprehensive Planning Programme and the lady in particular was flabbergasted! So much so that she didn’t believe the figures and we had to run through them all again before we reiterated that they could spend an extra £22,000 a year on whatever they liked and still never run out of money!
Have they spent that extra £22,000 a year? Certainly not – being frugal is a habit that dies hard, but gradually they are becoming more relaxed about their money and less fearful about the future.
Example 2: A more recent client came to see me about his pensions. He ran his own company but in our first meeting admitted that he would sell tomorrow if he could. He had realised that he no longer had the energy or desire he once had to be the business leader. His wife was worried about how the stresses of work were impacting on his health too.
We modelled various scenarios and with our planning tools we clearly demonstrated that he could retire whenever he wanted and could live a very comfortable life, even if he sold his company for 25% less than he thought it was worth.
So what’s the problem? Well, fear. This particular person feared retiring as so much of his life revolved around work and in many ways, his company defined him as a person. He was so busy ‘running on the treadmill of work’, that leaving/retiring was actually a scary prospect. He eventually took the leap of faith but it was hard work convincing him. His wife is now very relieved and for the first time has become actively involved in their financial decisions.
As you can probably imagine, there are lots of examples just like these.
One-off planning meetings don’t change behaviours, hence why we find it so important to work with clients over a period of time, aside from adapting and responding to all the changes in the financial world. Our message to clients is always to ‘enjoy your money whilst you have your health’ but with confidence that you won’t run out of money. Yet, so many people deliberate and struggle to change the behaviours of a lifetime.
I liken it to joining a gym and going along for a health assessment. Often, you’ll get a great fitness programme created for you. Great stuff in theory but then the hard work comes when you have to change your behaviours to achieve the best results. For most people, whilst they know it will be rewarding, implementing the different behaviours and overcoming the fear of change is a tough gig.
As financial planners, we are not always able to watch over our clients’ shoulders to monitor their regular behaviours in order to help them enjoy their money more. Those who struggle with the commitment of the gym often employ the services of a personal trainer for exactly this reason – change implementation – and so we are taking a leaf from the health industry book and Blue Sky are now offering our own ‘personal trainer’ in the form of Bold Age Retirement Planning, run by Becky Craig.
Becky is working with our clients to help them with the micro management of retirement. Becky resonates with the Blue Sky ethos around making the most of opportunities and pushing forward without guilt or fear and she believes fully in encouraging clients to enjoy the fruits of their labour and not letting long held beliefs limit their outlook.
Working with Becky, our clients will embark on a unique Bold Age five-step process that is fun, supportive and challenging in equal measure. Becky’s 20 years of experience in corporate business ensures a high degree of professionalism with bags of personality, and ultimately she helps our clients be the best they can be. At the end of the Bold Age process our clients are mentally and emotionally prepared for retirement, as well as having the financial confidence for the rest of their lives.
For the next 6 months*, all clients who undertake Comprehensive Planning with us will be offered a complimentary Bold Age consultation with Becky, courtesy of Blue Sky. We believe this is a life changing opportunity. To move forward into the next stage of life without fear, concern or worry… well, it’s priceless.
*Offer runs from 19th May to 19th November 2016.