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  • Dan Gaskin

How much money do you need for the rest of your life?

This is a question that some Financial Advisers don't ask you....


Why?


Because they focus on products - not their clients' needs and desires.


Most traditional financial advisers look at you in terms of what they can sell you. Its not really a secret that some financial products can end up helping the adviser more than the client. The adviser and the client engage in a mutual mystification where the client does not understand how (or even if) a financial product will help them. The adviser is busy explaining how a certain insurance policy will 'help' them but often doesn't focus on the full picture and how it relates to their wider financial health - do they even need the policy depending on their age, health, wealth and lifestyle?


Focusing on products is not the sort of thing that a small, boutique lifestyle financial planning companies like ours gets involved in. Selling financial planning is not true planning - its shopping for you...and selling for them.


True lifestyle financial planning is not about the money; its about you, the client.


Its very important to not make assumptions about clients. To make 'wet finger in the air' assumptions about income, return and capital should be anathema both to you and your adviser. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes.


People are either savers or spenders - and neither is wrong or right. You just need to understand your relationship with money so that you don't run out - its okay to be a spender if you're still going to have enough money to do all the things you want to do anyway. Equally, its ok to be a saver if you're not missing out on enjoying yourself and building up huge inheritance tax liabilities for those you want to leave money to.


Things can often seem very clinical and mechanic when its all written down and entered into a lifestyle planning model. Its very dangerous to just blindly trust modelling software once and then never revisit it, test and adjust it. A one-off model doesn't take everything into account for the future journey. Life happens and things change. Expenses pop up. Events happen. That's what makes life so enjoyable.


We often show people their financial health in an initial meeting and, sometimes, a few will believe that we've done such a great job that they no longer need us. They take this line because they have forgotten that life throws curved balls and things can rapidly change including health, the market, the economy, job prospects, opportunities, family issues. Multiple stress testing of your financial plan is paramount and you need to constantly adjust things as life progresses, the markets change and the economy develops.


So, again...how much money do you need for the rest of your life?

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