Like any major life decision, settling on a financial planning firm for your retirement can be daunting. But unlike other big life events, such as buying your first home or having your first child, you only get one crack at getting retirement right, and for a number of us, that’s not just daunting, it’s also a little bit scary.
Though it’s likely been in the back of their mind for years, retirement isn’t actually something most people have spent a great deal of time thinking about. Most people are busy running companies, learning new skills, sharing knowledge with others and spending times with loved ones to develop an in-depth knowledge of retirement planning. For some of you, retirement may mark the very first time you engage the services of a professional financial planning firm, so deciding on the right firm can add additional stress to an already difficult decision.
If you’ve done a search for financial planning firms, you’ve likely come across quite a few whose process is cloaked in mystery and hidden behind a wall of financial jargon. We believe, at a potentially stressful time like retirement, you need clarity, clear information and straight-talking.
We think values are important. They’re not just words we use to make our brochures and website look good; we live and breathe our values and this is apparent in the way we run our business and the way I, as the founder, live my life. Our values matter greatly!
First off, we value our clients, and we understand the issues facing them. One of the issues that’s close to the top of this list is how easily they understand what we do and how we do it. To better serve our clients, we promise the following:
We are transparent. Over the years, we’ve noticed that many financial planning firms see the client relationship from the financial planner’s perspective and tend to adopt a position where they feel comfortable instead of thinking about their clients’ comfort. This approach often leaves their clients with loads of questions and an uneasy feeling about the state of their retirement.
No matter how uncomfortable the conversation that follows may be, we always invite our clients to ask us questions. After all, it’s their retirement! And they deserve to know everything about it. To support this, our clients always know what they’re getting and what the cost is. No surprises. No jargon. Just the honest truth. (If I were a client, that’s what I’d want.)
We don’t cut corners. Financial planning can be complex and comes with lots of rules and regulations that help protect our clients. We are always incredibly thorough to make sure everything is in place to protect our clients and help them make the most of our their money.
We keep things simple. It’s hard enough for clients to fathom the right direction without being bamboozled with technical jargon that succeeds only in flummoxing them even more. Instead of trying to hypnotise clients with sentences full of big financial words, we promise to keep it simple, simple, simple. Though it’s not always easy, we do all we can to translate complex financial terms and situations into a language our clients can easily understand and engage with.
We do what we say. We don’t make promises we can’t keep. Instead, we manage our clients’ expectations so they can be sensible about planning their future. And if we say we’re going to do something, you better expect us to do it!
We have fun. Fun isn’t always the first thing people think of when they hear “financial planner,” and it may be that our idea of fun is a little different to yours, but we still try our best to make things as engaging and enjoyable for our clients as possible. We let them decide if it’s actually fun or not…
You may be asking, “But aren’t these values the norm?” Sadly not, it would seem. Often, we come across very shallow ‘values’ which, when tested, just don’t stack up and, frankly, this frustrates the hell out of us.
We want to be different. We want to feel different to the clients we engage with. Only our clients can decide if they feel we’re sticking to our values but, from where we stand, we do all we can to ensure the way we do business is a living reflection of the values that are so important to us.