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Are you on the right path with your money?

We don’t plan to fail goes the old adage, we just fail to plan. And nowhere is that more true than when it comes to dealing with our money. We set up banks accounts without checking that they do the things we need them to do, we pay hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds a year more than we have to for insurance cover, and we don’t spend anything like enough time thinking about the best way to put enough money aside for the longest holiday were even going to have – our retirement.

Part of the reason for all of this is that we don’t want to think about all of the things that might happen to us in the future and that we really should be preparing ourselves for. But a bigger part of it is to do with a general lack of engagement with money and all of its workings. And part of that comes because the financial institutions that are supposed to help us with our money haven’t made it very easy for us. They make things more complicated than they need to be and they often think that the best way to get us involved is to throw big words and complicated products at us and hope we understand it all.

Hopefully at least some of that will start to change with the launch today of Financial Planning Week 2017 by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, the not-for-profit, professional membership body whose members include a range of highly qualified financial planners and financial planning firms.
One of the aims of the event is to highlight the fact that financial planning is very much about people, and the key is to help people organise their finances is to show them that have a sensible plan is the only way to help them to do the things they want to be able to do in their lives, and at the times that they want to do them. “Our aim is to help the UK public draw up their own, personal, financial master plan, incorporating all of life’s milestones, whether that be preparing for retirement, buying a home, being newly-wed, or starting a business. This is something everyone can benefit from, not just the wealthy,” said Rebecca Taylor, a CISI Board Director and Managing Director of Aurea Financial Planning.

The last point that Rebecca Taylor makes is very important. There has been a lot of debate recently about how financial planners are paid for their time, and as part of that many consumers think that financial planning is something that only the wealthy need, and can afford to pay for. One of the aims of next week is to dispel that notion, and to help do this several Scottish financial planning firms are offering free sessions for consumers in person, via Skype or over the phone. They include Mackenzie Investment Strategies in Inverness and Duncan Mackenzie, Managing Director, explains what he hopes consumers will get out of the process. “Mackenzie Investment Strategies are keen to promote Financial Planning week because consumers need to understand that, similar to “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”, their financial well-being is a lifelong, evolving process and not a one off sales opportunity to a large financial organisation.  We need to promote the availability of qualified, well-structured Financial Planning that will look into all aspects of the clients’ life, and produce clear guidance on the way forward.  The real success of this relationship is to then hold regular meetings to ensure that the plan still meets with the changing needs of the client.”

Shona Barr, Director of Affinity IFA in Prestwick, another firm involved in Financial Planning Week, reckons that education is vital to the work that they do. “Education is at the heart of financial planning week and as a firm we embrace the opportunity to help individuals shape their futures, both personally and financially.  No-one ever got happy staring at a pile of money.  Money is simply something to be exchanged for the more important things in life.  We all deserve to know our “magic number” where work becomes a choice rather than a necessity and it is with these principles that Financial Planning Week helps spread the word regarding the true value attached to proper financial planning.”

If you are interested in finding out more, as well as finding an advisor in your area that you can visit for your free session, then you can go the Financial Planning Week website at http://www.financialplanning.org.uk/wayfinder.

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