For many firms, financial advice is about selling products to meet specific needs. Have a new child? Here’s some life insurance. Coming up to retirement? Buy an annuity.
Here at TFP, we adopt a very different approach that we call ‘REAL financial planning’. But what is it, and what does it mean for you?
Understanding real financial planning
There’s a subtle but important difference between financial advice and financial planning. As financial planners, we focus not on your money, but on your lives.
Real financial planning doesn’t simply involve finding products to suit a need. Instead, it answers questions such as:
What are your dreams and aspirations for the future?
What do you want for yourselves and your family?
How much will you need to meet these goals?
Our ethos is that until we know about you, your life and your aims for the future, we don’t have the right to talk to you about your money or what to do with it.
Dave Evans, a longstanding TFP client, explains: “They’re not a company just to worry about individual financial advice; that’s a very narrow perspective. They provide a whole rounded service of financial planning and the financial advice is just part of that basket of tools that they have.”
Getting to know you
When we meet you, our first step is to get to know you. And, we mean really get to know you! We want to find out things like:
Where you are in your life
How you got to where you are
Where you want to get to in the future
What sort of lifestyle you enjoy now, and what you want to enjoy in the future
Your hopes and aspirations for your family
Only by finding out answers to these questions can we understand both your circumstances and your goals, and work with you to achieve your life ambitions. You’ll also benefit from the confidence that you can withstand whatever the future throws at you.
Creating a lifetime financial plan
Once we get to know you, we use a range of tools including tax, contingency and cash flow planning to build and maintain a financial plan that will last you a lifetime.
For example, we can stress test your situation and model a range of ‘what if?’ scenarios to test the impact of certain events on your plans.
Analytical work such as cash flow modelling considers the gaps between your goals and the financial reality of achieving them. And, if we find gaps, we can model different possible scenarios to help you understand how we can bridge them. This may include:
Downsizing the house
Leaving less to your family
On the flip side, modelling a range of scenarios may mean that you gift more, retire earlier or spend more than you expected!
Our client Kim Timms says: “Working with TFP has enabled us to have the confidence to spend. What we had before was direct control, and what we have now is control through Ian to give us the best advice and then we can access the funds.”
We can then make recommendations to restructure your affairs, and this advice can cover a wide range of areas from investments and tax to wills and contingency planning.
A regular review
Over time, your circumstances will change. There will be births and deaths, career changes and other unexpected events. So, it’s vital that we regularly monitor your plan in order to keep it up to date.
While you may not think that much can change in a six or twelve-month period, we’re always reviewing and analysing a wide range of issues that may affect your plan.
Of course, there are sometimes significant events that prompt a review. Marriage, children or a career change in your life can change things. A fall in the markets in our world can also mean we need to update your plan.
Understanding the issues that you face, finding the right solution, and having the confidence to execute it under pressure is where real financial planners come into their own. Our role as a sounding board to avoid knee-jerk reactions and short-term decisions is also one way that we add value.
TFP client Ron Olivier says: “They’ve given me a plan which works. We put it together in a prudent fashion and it showed us that yes, you can stop working, yes, you can start doing some of this stuff, you’ll be alright for the rest of your life.”
Get in touch
If it’s time for your review, or you want to find out more about how real financial planning can help you, please get in touch. Email email@example.com or call us on 01621 851563.