Martin Bamford is a chartered financial planner and certified financial planner and managing director of Informed Choice, an award-winning firm of chartered financial planners in Cranleigh, Surrey. Martin is host of the Informed Choice podcast, a weekly audio podcast about money and life. He is a regular blogger and last year produced a feature length documentary about the post-war Baby Boomer generation entering retirement.

For the past 16 years, I’ve been the second generation part-owner of Informed Choice, a business started by my parents back in 1994.

A lot has changed during that time. The business has tripled in size and changed dramatically compared with the firm I joined as a 20-something on his path to becoming an IFA. What hasn’t changed all that much is the family dynamic, and the challenges and advantages that come from working with your parents.

Financial planners have sought to learn the lessons of what wrong for the steelworkers at Port Talbot so that both clients and the advice profession can begin to move forward.

The Great Pension Debate, a two-day conference dedicated to tackling the challenges surrounding defined benefit transfer advice, was held in the shadow of the Port Talbot steelworks last week.

Here, Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford, captures the mood from the floor. 

We live in an incredibly noisy world.

I’m not referring to the decibels associated with everyday life; sitting in my office with the window open, the sound of crows, church bells and traffic sounds from the distant high street, background music from my Amazon Alexa, the tapping on keyboards and the occasional ringing phone.

No, the noise I’m talking about is the vast quantity of electronic noise in the form of news, social media posts, emails, videos and audio. It’s relentless.

One essential factor for a successful business owner is self-confidence.

You need that unshakeable belief that the strategy you are following and the decisions you are making are the right ones; even when all of the evidence (in the short-term, at least) points in the opposite direction.

I was out of bed uncharacteristically early last weekend, volunteering at our local parkrun event as run director.

Since helping to establish this event back in October 2014, I’ve found myself standing in the field on a Saturday morning on 130 separate occasions, 61 times as run director responsible for keeping 100 or more enthusiastic runners safe as they run, jog or walk around our 5km course. I sometimes get the chance to have a run too!

It’s that time of the year again. The time we set goals, make resolutions and then enjoy a spot of self-flagellation when those goals inevitably fall to pieces.

In my experience, there’s a fine art to setting achievable goals. It’s about finding the sweet spot between something possible to achieve and really impressive.

When I climbed into bed late one recent Saturday evening, my wife yelped. Apparently I was freezing cold and actively sucking the warmth out of her very soul. Perhaps a minor overreaction on her part, but I was pretty cold and bordering on mild hypothermia, so she might have had a point.

One of the hottest trends in marketing in recent years has been brands acting as publishers. There are some compelling reasons behind this approach.

Capturing the attention of your target market in an increasingly noisy world is hard work. It can be expensive too, especially when measured on a value for money basis. We are all exposed to so much advertising on a daily basis that we have become skilled at automatically tuning most of it out.

From serving decent coffee at client meetings right through to podcasting and increasing knowledge through reading, Martin Bamford offers up the 7 things currently working well for him and his financial planning business.