Last time we looked at why money is important and decided that fundamentally it isn’t but what it can do for you and why you want it to do those things are important.
Our next step is to plan how your money can begin to achieve your goals and this is where your Financial Planner comes into the equation.
My official title is ‘Financial Planner’ but that’s only one of my roles. In fact, I wear three hats; I’m also a Lifestyle Planner and a Financial Advisor. To be able to make financial plans to ensure your money gives you what you want, all three of these hats need to be worn.
A massive part of my job is to listen; this is crucial to my lifestyle planning role. I need to understand the lifestyle my client wants to enjoy and how this will change as their life progresses.
Obviously, everyone is different and no-one can predict the whole of their future but starting to plan early can prepare for things that might happen. For instance,some typical milestones could be buying a house, marriage, children, university fees, helping your children get on the property ladder, planning for an income throughout your retirement and then leaving something for the next generation.
It isn’t just about those milestones in themselves but far more importantly the style in which you pass them. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
For a young person to get their first step on the housing ladder is increasingly difficult. Not only have house prices risen for years on end, the 100% mortgages that used to be an option before the last crash are no longer available. There’s no getting away from the fact that anyone buying a house needs to have several thousands of pounds as a deposit. Some are lucky to have the bank of mum and dad but let’s assume this isn’t the case.
Beginning to save a little and often at the very outset of your working life will have a massively positive impact on your steps up the property ladder. With the correct advice and with only a little discipline saving for a deposit can normally be achievable,but you can’t even begin the process until you’ve thought about the lifestyle you’re aiming for – do you want to rent, or do you want to own? What are the pros and cons for each?
Anyone who has children knows they are expensive, very expensive. Again, you can’t predict whether you’ll have children but you can make plans, in case you do. The vast majority of children within the UK aren’t privately educated, but it might be something you want to consider, or at least keep your options open and many parents would like to be able to help with the cost of university if that is what their children want to do. Whatever form they take, education costs can make the deposit on a first house seem like small change but if you plan ahead, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much time you have to prepare for them.
Whatever lifestyle you aspire to, it’s far more likely you’ll achieve those aspirations if you take advice and plan early enough.
This is where my role as a Lifestyle Planner comes in; I help you crystallise vague thoughts into real plans. I do that by listening carefully coupled with hopefully, informed prompting!
Jon Doyle is Founder and Financial Planner at Juniper Wealth Management. Advising clients since 2008 he has guided clients through good time, bad times and the ugly. With a clear vision on how advice should be delivered and strong opinions on how we should be investing money in order to live the life we want to live free from money worry.