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.

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.

Week one

So, I am up and running – well typing!!  I am still awaiting my FCA registration and approval, fingers crossed for next week. In the meantime, my new IT equipment is here and other than a few teething problems to sort, all seems to be working. I have also had a couple of meetings and I am starting to get to grips with our new back office software.

My lovely ex colleagues gave me a brightly coloured desk tidy and post-its, paperclips, stapler etc, which looks great in my temporary home office (below)

Check out the new desk!
Check out the new desk!

I have started setting up all our social media, so BFP Wales are now on Twitter (@BfpWales) and a Page on Facebook ‘BFP Wales’. I am tinkering with Hootsuite and Instagram too.

Anyone with a cat (or who follows the crazy cat world on Twitter) will know hashtags (#) for each day are key for trending on the web, for example #tunatuesday #jellybellyfriday #catboxsunday !

I’m trying to think of #’s that could accompany our messages and become our key link for each day of the week. So far I have thought of #calmthoughtmonday #toptiptuesday  and then #planitwell for a key message. Any thoughts for other days of the week?

Speaking of, here is Basil keeping me company today.

Fluffy comany
Fluffy company


Planning tomorrow, today

Next week my new employment starts! The Wales arm of Broadway Financial Planning (www.broadwayfp.co.uk) will be all steam ahead and new clients required!

Today I am planning my ‘tomorrows’ in a company that can offer a personal service, which will enable me to build a lifetime relationship with my clients. I am excited to be working  with individuals who run a financial planning company that I would want to be a client of.

So, I must dash to organise business cards, linked in / social network pages, post practicalities, telephone lines and stationary, all of which are vital for the future development of the business and brand.