Profile of a Planner

If your mind has started to turn towards your retirement or investments recently, it may be time to approach a financial planner for some guidance. Helen Weatherhead, financial planner at Stockton-based Vintage Chartered Financial Planners, explains the benefits of seeking financial advice…

Why work with a financial planner?

Whether you want to think about retirement, starting a pension, investing a lump sum or how your finances fit together as a whole, getting advice isn’t as scary as it may seem…the right financial planner can make all the difference.

Financial planning goes a step beyond the more traditional route of seeing a financial advisor for advice on just one specific issue. Planning is much more holistic and involves looking at your assets as a whole. This way you can make sure that all your decisions support each other and help you achieve the things you want to.

It’s also about preparing for the unexpected, making sure your assets are protected should the worst happen. Many clients come to us without a clear understanding of just how easy it would be for things to go wrong so we help them to put the right defences in place.

What process would a potential client go through?

Some people are put off seeking advice because they worry they will be bewildered by jargon or told what to do with their money but in fact the process is really much more collaborative.

It’s a case of starting with a simple fact-finding meeting. These are free and a chance for us to get to know one another and discuss the way forward. After that, the team will gather information from your providers to pull together an overview of your financial picture. From there, we begin to analyse the data and form our advice.

We make use of a process called cash flow modelling which helps to create a map of the income you’ll have coming in and going out at various stages of your life, which then allows us to test various scenarios and make suitable decisions based on the information we’re presented with.

The modelling gives you a great indication of things like whether you’ll be comfortable in retirement. This also gives you further freedom in showing whether you can afford to do the things you want such as large one-off expenses, holidays and gifts.

How do you choose the right financial planner?

If you’re looking for a planner, there’s a couple of things you should consider. We’re really lucky, as many of our clients recommend us to their friends, colleagues and family so this might be a great place to start if you’re unsure. Ask around to see if anyone you know has had any good (or bad) experiences.

Having the right planner can make all the difference to the outcome. Take your time, explore all the options and make sure you find someone you can trust. Investing your money is a big decision and at the end of the day they’ll be looking after the money you’ve worked hard for.

Helen Weatherhead
Vintage Chartered Financial Planners

 

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