When you engage with a traditional financial adviser (that’s not what we are, by the way), more often than not, you’ll want to talk about your financial products, mainly your pensions and / or your investments. Your reasons for wanting to do so are always sound, however, the focus is very much about the products.
We’re alternative in the way we do things (I know every firm says that but, in our case, it’s true!). We’re not interested, at least initially, in your money… we’re interested in YOU! I know we all hear this through the bombardment of false marketing we’re all subjected to, but I can’t tell you how crucial it is to what we do.
Here’s the Problem
Over the years, you may have lost sight of why you own your financial products. The main reasons might be:
- You’ve built up pensions from previous jobs and didn’t pay much attention to them
- An ‘Old School’ financial adviser ‘sold’ them to you
- You invested to get more money than your bank was willing to offer
- You needed to do something with your pension lump sum when you retired
These are all great reasons for owning financial products but, to us, these reasons don’t get to the real meaning of things. The WHY. The WHY is crucial. It’s the plan, the emotion, the road map, the feeling. What is it that makes these financial products important to YOU?
Let me make it clear, it doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at. You could be in your mid-forties or well in to your golden years. The principles are exactly the same even though your goals might be different. Don’t think this doesn’t apply to you just because you’re retired.
Getting Back to Basics
So, the first thing we do is put your products to one side. We’ll get to those later. There are more important things to get clear on first. Ask yourself some important (and challenging) questions:
- WHY do you own these products? Can you clearly describe what the REASONS behind buying them were?
- What PURPOSE do they serve in your life? How are they going to serve you and what service will they provide?
- If you’re slightly older, do you consider yourself to be the GUARDIAN of the money for your children / grandchildren?
- Is your money doing what you NEED it to? This is a really hard one to answer if you don’t know what you need it to do in the first place!
You see, it’s quite tricky to get to the bottom of all this. We see many people who are very clear about WHAT they want to do with their pensions or investments but they’re less good at WHY this is important.
Connect with Your Life
What’s your one, overriding financial objective? What’s it all about? Where does money fit in with your character and your personality? I know these are heavy questions but, in my view, they HAVE to be answered.
What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Do you have any goals or dreams that are unfulfilled? It’s referred to as the bucket list which sounds cold but, to be blunt, it’s true. None of us know how long we’ve got and I think more of us should be aware of that.
I’d like you to get CREATIVE. To dream a little. Not in a ‘Hollywood’ way that seems unrealistic or fake but in a way that resonates with you personally and connects with your values.
We’ve helped people:
- Discover a real vocation to help vulnerable people in their community
- Visit relatives and friends abroad they haven’t seen for decades!
- See parts of the world they wouldn’t have thought of visiting
- Help make their children’s and grandchildren’s lives a little easier
- Support superb charities when they didn’t think they’d be able to
The list goes on…
The point I’m making is that I feel it’s important to understand and explore what’s important to you about your life, regardless of where you are on the conveyor belt of life! There’s MEANING in us all, I’m certain of it. It’s just tricky tapping in to it.
And Finally, The Money
So, once you have a better idea of what makes you tick and how you might want your money to serve you, you can then start looking at what you’ve got and whether or not it can support this. It’s simple but far from EASY!
Yes, there are sensible things you can do with your money. Keep costs low, make sure you’re not paying too much tax, have the right level of risk, etc. All these are important but they’re just admin. It’s skirting around the real issue of the WHY.
I said we’re alternative and, we are. Most financial advisers (I’ve already said that’s not what we are) are VERY interested in your financial products because that’s how they make their money. I understand that and, more often than not, you’d be happy with this.
BUT, does that address the deeper issues I’ve talked about? I don’t think so. Addressing your WHY can be scary. It requires you to think and to face up to, possibly, some tricky truths. But that doesn’t matter because, if you do, you’ll feel far happier about the decisions you make with your money.
I hope I’ve got my point across. I hope I’ve not been too ‘touchy-feely’. I’m passionate about this. I’m passionate about the fact that typical financial advisers miss the point far too often. They miss (or avoid) talking about your WHY and, in doing so, create unfulfilling relationships with their clients which leads to their clients having unfulfilling relationships with their money.
Until next time…