“There is no greater happiness than freedom from worry, and there is no greater wealth than contentment”.

Even now almost 2,500 years later everyone still worries about money, what the future may hold, and the decisions and choices that you will face along the way; yet few realise that financial planning is the key to sorting it all out. It is a best-kept secret. Everybody needs it, but only a fortunate few have unlocked its true value.

Because the benefits of good advice are often deferred to the far-off future, it is sometimes easy to miss or dismiss, the value received along the way. Market noise, emotions, and periods of what may seem like inactivity on our behalf, can also impact the perception of value. It is often easy to appreciate the value received in the first year, and easy to forget or appreciate the value on an ongoing basis. The financial planning relationship can be broken down into three key phases of value.

Value phase 1: Sorting out the mess and building the plan

New clients often arrive at Capital with a proverbial carrier bag of bits and pieces collected over the years, such as a number of pension plans, with-profit bonds, endowment policies, life insurance, and a stockbroker or IFA managed portfolio. This collection of ‘stuff’ often has little structure and rarely provides comfort that the future will be bright. That’s a stressful place to be.

The first and most vital step is to help clients to set out their vision for the future, both in terms of lifestyle hopes and dreams and the money needed to fund them. Next comes the analytical work, which may involve using cash flow modelling, to help empower clients to make sensible strategic choices. The resulting Future Map™ becomes a joint effort between the client and ourselves. In effect, the client’s hopes and dreams, and worries and fears. Once built and implemented, the client is then back in control of their future and their finances. The value is easy to see. Peace of mind. Invaluable.

Value phase 2: Plan progress and progressing the plan

Financial planning is not a ‘set-and-forget process, far from it, in fact. Regular planning meetings help to provide you with an insight into how things are going relative to your plan. What is more important in the future and how the plan needs to progress from this point forward.

Some years may be quite uneventful, while others are momentous. In the former, not much may appear to happen, but that does not diminish the value of your financial planner, who is – behind the scenes – constantly on the lookout for issues that may threaten the successful outcome of your plan or ways in which it can be refined and enhanced. At times of crisis, understanding the issues faced, finding a solution that makes sense, facilitating decisions that need to be made, and having the fortitude to execute under pressure, are where we come into our own.

Value phase 3: Long life, death and immortality.

There are also more subtle areas of the value of a long-term relationship with us. For many people, living longer is a two-edged sword. On the upside, we can all now expect to live materially longer than our grandparents’ generation. On the downside, we also know that with longevity comes attendant health and financial challenges. For example, long-term health care costs are rising rapidly, and simply knowing that they can be met is a great comfort to many. At Capital, as we know your family and your financial circumstances well, we are well-placed to provide advice, support and to facilitate the financial consequences of the new change in circumstance, when it is needed.

Many clients, often one of a couple who takes more interest in the finances than the other, worry about what will happen to their partner on their death. Having a trusted financial planner (and an up-to-date plan), allows you to be confident that, in the event of death, a partner will be well cared for financially and that all family affairs are in order. Sorting out the paperwork after death too is a far easier process when everything is organised.

Most people would like to feel that they will, in some way, leave behind a lasting legacy. For some, that can mean spending time and money supporting their philanthropic (easier done than said) works and for others, it may mean passing on wealth and opportunity from one generation to the next.

In conclusion

It is easy to forget when you meet with your Capital planner for your annual planning meeting that the scope and value of the relationship are far deeper and more important than worrying about the 12-month market noise that has resulted in your portfolio going up and down, or the fact that neither your portfolio nor the plan has changed much. Meeting your life ambitions, feeling confident in the future, and having the time to enjoy the opportunities that your money provides you, your family, and your community is what really matters. Delivering ‘peace of mind’ may sound a bit trite, but that is the goal, consequence, and value of great financial planning.

If you would like to discover the value of financial planning, drop us a note at hello@capital.co.uk

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