Everything about life is a risk

There comes time in everyone’s life when we are faced with a choice that involves risk. Perhaps a change of career, moving home, starting a new relationship or having a child. Risk is by nature, scary. Uncertain. Unpredictable. Unchartered territory. I’ve been there recently.

We actually risk everything, every day of our lives without knowing it – there is no such thing as a ‘risk free’ environment. We spend our lives managing risk. There is always a chance that walking outside will kill us. There’s a chance that we’ll never make it to our destination, a chance we won’t get to see our loved ones again, a chance that tomorrow will never come. Life is all about risks – and we all take a different approach to it.

In the same way, there is no such thing as a risk free investment. Every type of investment involves risk, the important thing to assess is the type and degree of risk and the potential consequences, both good and bad, of taking it.

Even money deposited in a bank will be at risk, because in an inflationary environment, its future purchasing power is unlikely to be as good as it was when it was put there. The risk is that leaving money on deposit for long periods will cost you money when compared with other investments and is known as opportunity risk.

So, if you want your money to have the opportunity of working for you and potentially increasing its purchasing power, you have to accept different types of risk and some degree of volatility. The degree of risk that any one person needs, or wishes to take, depends entirely on their personal circumstances and outlook.

There is no magic formula for managing risk, but with careful preparation and forethought, you can minimise the risk and maximise the odds that you will succeed.

The life you live depends on the choices you make, the risks you take, and how lucky or unlucky you’ve been. #planitwell

This is from a book my Father brought for me a few weeks ago:

Be Curious.
Be spontaneous.
Be brave.
Take risks.
Go on adventures.
Forgot your inhibitions.
Believe in yourself.
Trust yourself.
Love yourself.
Remember it’s now or never.

Twitter world (the good, the bad)

I’ve been on Twitter as @planning_angel for a few years. However, I’ve only really taken it seriously for about 6 months, when I was convinced by another Cat ‘mum’ to set up Basil with his own Twitter account @fluffybasil .

It made sense, as I wanted my Twitter account to be about financial planning, life, craft & me and it was getting a little taken over by the craziness of the #catsoftwitter

Via Basil’s Twitter and my own account I daily speak to people all over the world. There are favourite ‘Tweety’s’ who I enjoy conversations with every day. Other Financial Planners, craft and cat lovers. I’ve been sent gifts from people I’ve never physically met from across the world.

It’s done a great job of reminding me that there is great kindness and generosity in the world and that it is still given willingly by many people.

At the same time there are people who are a little scary and demanding. One person this week asked 3 times why I had unfollowed & how dare I? I’d been offended by language and talk about guns – so the account is now blocked. When I see that type of behavior,  I can envisage how vulnerable or impressionable people could be targeted.

When speaking to my mum about the people I’ve met and who I now have regular contact with, she reminded me that my godmother, Gretchen (I’m named after her) and mum met like this, but in a more traditional way, as Pen Pals. Introduced at school to the concept they started writing age 12, my mum in the UK and Gretchen in the U.S. They met at age 21 and remain firm friends and now email regularly instead (45+ yrs of writing!)

Social media & technology can be a little scary sometimes, everything is so quick, in your face and privacy sometimes can be compromised, but it’s also a wonderful tool to express yourself, meet people and make friends.

The new pen & paper.

Baby and Pensions

I was sat having my breakfast this morning and texting my sister. Her baby is due in just over 3 weeks’ time and I had been thinking how crazy it is that, hopefully, at this time next month, the baby will be here safe and we will know if baby is a he or she and its name! This is a very exciting time for my family, my sister’s first baby, my first niece or nephew and my parent’s first grandchild. Wow – we are going to have some Champagne once he / she arrives!

Then I read an article, which states that longevity figures now show that one in three baby girls in England will live to at least 90 years old. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/sep/01/longer-life-leads-to-fears-of-later-retirement

My Granny lived this long – older in fact – and the female line on her side certainly seem to have a long life.  However, the difference is that Granny got her state pension from 60 (she may have even had some Widows pension before this age I think). My mum had her state pension at 60 too.

My sister and I will have to wait until we are 68, and if the baby is a girl, based on these current statistics she will have to wait until age 70+!

This makes me think that the following becomes more and more important for us to consider:

  1. Have a job you love – you will be doing it for some time.
  2. Try to enjoy every second of the 90 years (or whatever you get given).
  3. Don’t underestimate how long your retirement years could be and PLAN so you can enjoy it.
  4. Save privately for your retirement, you can’t rely on the state pension – it will come into payment later and later, if at all.
  5. Talk to your parents / grandparents about their wishes before they become too old, when it may become to worrying/stressful for them or they are unable to. As hard as it is to talk about illness or death, it’s important to know what they want – should they fall ill, or what they would want their funeral to be / where / how.
  6. Write a Will.

Of course, this baby could be a boy and his pension age will still be older – as will his longevity and the need for all of the above!

Keep you posted!

Maths and me

Last week I was juggling new client meetings, my sister’s Baby Shower and preparing for a presentation I had to give on Tuesday in London. It was busy!

Within the presentation I had been asked to talk about my background in Financial Planning and how I got here. It made me really think about the great opportunities I’ve been given over the last 15 years, how important it is to grasp opportunities that present themselves to you and to make the most of them.

Looking back, I realise I was fortunate that someone took a chance on me (when I had no experience or relevant qualifications) and that equally, I had the sense and drive / determination to make the best of that opportunity.

It’s certainly not the career I ever thought I would have, or an industry that I was particularly interested in. Friends who knew me growing up still don’t really understand why I have chosen this as my career. Mainly because they associate Financial Planning with Maths – and that most certainly was not my strength at school, instead I loved anything arty (and still do).

The truth is, Financial Planning is less about maths and money, and more about people, listening, good communication skills, trust, empathy, organisation and commitment. I think most people who know me would agree  have these attributes.

The ability to speak to clients openly, honestly and with an enquiring mind and equally have the ability to listen… to problems, concerns, wishes and dreams. To then be able to understand what is important to them and what they wish to try to achieve throughout their life, so that I can help build a personalised Financial Plan to better their situation and ensure they remain on track.

Of course, we do speak about money and sometimes I have to use my calculator (although I still call my brother if complex algebra and formulas come up!).

It’s been a real trip down memory lane, remembering old colleagues and friends, the good, bad and the ugly. It’s also made me realise how much I love the job and profession.