I thought this was worth sharing as evidence of the real value we planners deliver to clients, and the confidence we give them.
This is an extract from an email I received recently:
“Really appreciate your time and effort. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know where I'd be now. For that I thank you, not just as my financial adviser but as a friend.”
This chap has been a client for some 25 years. Around 13 years ago, he lost his wife to cancer.
Sadly he's never really recovered from that, despite meeting someone new and being in a long-term relationship.
As a result, he's ended up repaying the interest only part of his mortgage for some years. He never really took ownership of the issue of how to start paying the mortgage off in full, which seems to stem from his clear emotional attachment to the family home.
This is someone who had a good career in banking in the City and is now retired.
He’s not someone who made millions, but someone who has worked for a number of top line institutions. He's no fool, and has accumulated a good drawdown pension.
But he's been burying his head in the sand in dealing with this, and it's now (not unsurprisingly) come to a head.
The lender is sympathetic to a point. But their support in resolving this and their affordability policy seems to be flawed and contradictory.
I think the policy could be challenged, but even assuming it could be overturned, it would take some time to do so.
Another avenue may resolve the situation, which is being looked into. In essence, the client accepts that he needs to downsize, but wants to do this ideally on his own terms. More importantly, he wants to do this when he's ready.
What matters to him though, is knowing that everything is going to be alright. He is not concerned about being invested in the latest fad/fashionable fund, or always expecting to 'make' money.
This kind of value he gets from working with a financial planner is not one that can be policed. Nor can the regulator readily assess whether the client is receiving this kind of intangible value. Only the client can be the judge.
Let's never forget why we're here and what we do.
Sometimes we have to shake the tree, whether it be with clients or with wider industry standards, in order to help sense prevail.
But what really matters is allowing people to feel more comfortable about themselves, their money and their life. And giving them control.
As the old saying goes, “magic we can perform, but the impossible may be a little harder.” I don't know if my idea to resolve the client’s situation will ultimately work out. But I'm going to give it a damn good try.
---Do you have a client story that brings home the value of financial planning? If you're happy to share this, we'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org on through Twitter @NatalieHNucleus