I’m not going to lie, but at times, the last four and a bit months has been a real struggle. It would be very easy for me to sit here and say that it’s been a wonderful experience but I’d be lying to you. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some real positives to come out of this situation. However, there have been down moments. A real rollercoaster of emotions.
I think it’s important to recognise that many of us have never experienced anything like it in our entire lifetimes and may never do so again. We have all had to cope with a huge amount of enforced change.
Not being able to see your family or friends when you want and give them that all important hug. Being told that you can only leave the house for limited reasons. Not being able to enjoy our hobbies and recreational activities, sports, going to the theatre or going out for a meal. Having to constantly think about distancing and wearing a face covering in public spaces. Holiday plans cancelled, home schooling, GCSEs and A-levels cancelled. Having to work from home. I should also mention that some of us will have lost friends or loved ones as a result of this crisis. I could go on and on but I think you get my point. We human beings are a resilient bunch, but come on, give us a break.
I was lucky to enjoy a family holiday in Cornwall a few weeks ago. The change of scenery, extended break and time with my family came at the perfect moment and was also a great opportunity to reflect on recent events and the future.
So this is the thing. Events happen. We can’t change the events but what we can do is choose how we react to the events. You can’t change the past. I am forever being asked “If you had your time again, would you do anything differently?” The answer is always “No”. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, with my wonderful family or business if I had chosen a different path. Yes, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and poor decisions but these are what define you as a person.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
Contrary to common belief, it wasn’t Charles Darwin who said this. It was Leon C Megginson, Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University in 1963.
I love this quote and it is this ability to react, adapt and get ourselves ahead of the curve that will see us succeed and prosper.
As a FCA regulated firm, we pay regulatory fees each year to simply just open our doors. These have increased every year since we have been in business. This year they have increased by almost 40%. Part of this fee is a levy towards the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), a fund that pays out to investors who have lost out due to being sold inappropriate products and investments. We are simply funding the mistakes and poor behaviour of other firms. Have any of our clients ever been put into an investment that has needed to be bailed out by the FSCS? No. Is it irritating that we should have to fund the scheme? Yes. Can we do anything about it? No.
What we can do is continue to develop our services for you. To make them better, more cost-effective, embrace technology to save you time and hassle and make things more secure. To ensure that your money is working harder so you have a greater chance of achieving your goals. We will continue to take care of the little details so you can get on with living life.
This brings me to the other point that struck me whilst I sat on a beach in Cornwall. The more time I spent worrying about current and past events, the less I enjoyed the moment, the less present I was.
Without getting too deep or philosophical, I have often asked myself “What is my purpose?” “What is the point of all of this?” From a pure biological or scientific basis one could argue it is to simply reproduce. If you are a frog, then that’s great. But we are humans, the most developed and intelligent species on the planet. It’s up to us to find purpose and then design a life around it.
We are not here for long, so why don’t we do something worthwhile and enjoy it while we are here. Although a massive cliché, time really does fly. They are clichés for reasons as they are often true. It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that my three boys were babies. My eldest Isaac is now 16, starting A-levels and it won’t be long before he is gone.
Someone once said to me me that life was not a rehearsal. You only get one crack at this.
So what is it that I want to do? How do I want to live the rest of my life? What contribution do I want to make? What is my legacy? What do I need to do to ensure that I am fulfilled and happy?
All questions I have been asking myself and questions we can help you answer if you have found yourself asking them too.
As comprehensive, lifestyle financial planners, not only can we facilitate these wider discussions but also help you arrange your finances so you can get on with living your life without the fear of running out of money or your plans getting derailed by events you cannot control.
I’d be really interested to hear if any of you have been thinking along similar lines. If you have, drop me a line or get in touch with your planner.
Life is not a rehearsal.
Chief Executive Officer
The start of the summer holiday season has seen a further easing of lockdown and attempts by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to boost the leisure sector with the “eat out to help out” initiative. The government is also encouraging workers to get back on public transport and return to the office to increase footfall in cafes, restaurants and bars. However, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest that many will continue working from home, at least until schools reopen in September. We will continue to work from home for the time being but have the position under constant review.Last month I introduced the “Advice Tree” to you and promised to follow up with more details of the work we undertake for you in both the Goals and Money branches. This time, it’s the Goals branch
Financial Goals – In Alice in Wonderland, when Alice asks the Cheshire Cat “Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here?” the Cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to go”. It is the same for us – the first stage in achieving your financial goals is to have clarity of what they are. This is a key area of our expertise, and we can help discuss, and agree a detailed and realistic plan for your financial future.
Estate planning – managing the transition of wealth from one generation to the next is a complex area. We have many years’ experience in this area and work closely with other professionals. We can help simplify the issues, meet your objectives and provide the long-term certainty you seek.
Intergenerational and charity planning – student debt and rising house prices have placed huge pressures on the next generation. It is little surprise that parents and grandparents want to help. But what are the most effective and secure routes? How do you gift capital but retain family control? What are the tax implications of gifts or house purchase? We can help with all these questions.
Insurance and trust planning – using trusts, wills, and other strategies we can make sure your money ends up in the hands of the people you want when you want. Poor planning can see up to 40% of your hard-earned savings paid over to HMRC!
Cashflow modelling – most people find it difficult to project investment returns, costs, inflation and income needs into the future – we use powerful tools that will illustrate this for you. Seeing a picture of your future can really put into perspective how your plans are progressing.
Liaising with your accountant/solicitor – our experience of working with accountancy and solicitors’ practices gives a great knowledge of tax and legal matters. Having clear and joined up plans is more effective and helps to provide great peace of mind.
Next time I will cover the Money branch. Until then, I hope that you and your family continue to stay safe.