Since joining the financial services industry in 1999, I have discovered that there are really 6 key areas that need to be mastered if you want to create a financially free future. Whether you call that retirement, or your life 2.0 (the enhanced version of your life) unless you take control of your financial future, you will be working until the day you die. Some people enjoy what they do for a living, and never want to give up, but is that you? If it is, wouldn’t it more enjoyable still if you knew that working was a choice, and that you didn’t have to if you didn’t want to? Most people want to either stop work in the future, or at least have the choice to. But to be able to do that you need to create financial freedom or enough capital that you can live off for the rest of your life. That’s why we created The Efficient Wealth Management Method. This is our unique system that helps people plan for a financially fit, happy and healthy future.
The first area we need to master if we are going to be able to retire is to Prepare. Whether you are 40 years from leaving your working life or just 5, you need to get yourself into a position where you have every chance of being able to eventually stop. Would you agree that the £144 per week that the government will provide you with in retirement is not going to be enough? Imagine trying to live your desired lifestyle on that minute amount of money. If you do not save enough for your retirement, you are not going to able to enjoy your ideal life. The Financial Services industry really isn’t very good at teaching people the psychology, strategies or systems around saving, which we believe the keys to your success. Only once you know the steps you need to take will you be able to prepare properly for your retirement. The government have made it a legal requirement for employees to save through company pension schemes. They think that they cannot teach people to save, so instead have to force them into saving. We don’t agree with this. Everyone can learn. That’s why we created The SMART Saving Solution, to ensure people are prepared for their retirement. This is how we have helped our clients build a money management system, to ensure that they are saving the right amounts for different areas of their life in a way that makes the minimum impact on their lifestyle. We want to ensure our clients have created most suitable systems, understand how they can best maximise their money, and also ensure they have a back-up plan if something goes wrong, and we do that using The SMART Saving Solution. By saving in the right way now, you can ensure that you will not become one of the 1.4 million people over 65 who are still working. Instead, you will have the freedom to fill your future with amazing experiences with those people that are important to you, all the time knowing that your savings are supporting you and giving you an enriched life full of purpose and happiness. The SMART Saving Solution ensures that you can retire early enough to enjoy wonderful experiences with your friends and family, rather than listening to their stories of freedom while you are still at work. Our SMART Saving Solution helps you prepare for your retirement.
The second area we need to master to create a financially free future is to plan. Probably the biggest concern people have in the lead up to retirement is that they will run out of money later on in life. Either that or they stop themselves doing the things they want to, thus ending up as the richest man in the graveyard. The key to a successful retirement is being able to look into the future, see what you need, and then plan how you can get there, including what you can afford today. This aspect in particular is the key to having peace of mind in your financial life. Without it, you will feel uncertain and worried about what the future holds. With it, you will have the confidence to live the life you want. We created The SAFE Retirement Roadmap, so that we can help our clients clarify what their financial future looks like, and help to forecast different scenarios, because this gives them the confidence to make the right financial decisions for their desired future. Can you imagine the empowerment that clearly knowing about your financial future would give you? The SAFE Retirement Roadmap gives you confidence, so that you can afford to do your bucket list at a time where you are able to, rather than leave it too late when it’s no longer an option. It gives you the ability to make the right decisions today by allowing you to see future implications. And finally, it allows you to make wiser decisions with your planning strategies, to really maximise how hard your money works for you. The SAFE Retirement Roadmap will give you the peace of mind you need by helping you plan for a financially happy future.
The third area that you need to understand, to create your Life 2.0, is profit. Saving money is important, but if you do not get that money working harder for you, then you will have to save twice as much and it will run out twice as quickly. To combat this, we need to allow your savings to generate profit. What I mean by this is that you’ve got to get your money growing; but not just any growth, growth over and above inflation. Only at this point do you start to profit. This is an area where I believe big insurance companies have really let so many people down. There are too many products out there that provide very low or non-existent growth; even some of the more sophisticated solutions that attract high fees, and have ‘gold branded’ names, let you down drastically in this area. Sadly, so many encourage you to take too much risk, and more risk than is needed to get the returns you require. We created The RADICAL Investment Approach so that our clients could be confident that they were getting the best returns possible, without taking more risk than is necessary or they are comfortable with. We ensure client’s money is growing over and above inflation, but without gradually getting risker and risker, as usually happens naturally in a portfolio. The RADICAL Investment Approach gives you the control so that you can ensure you are getting the right level of returns you need, with a level of risk you are comfortable with. This means you always know your money is in the right place, as opposed to gradually taking more risk than you should be. It also ensures you avoid the investments that are likely to blow up your financial plan. The RADICAL Investment Approach will ensure you get your money working for you as hard as possible, thus delivering your real profit for the future.
The fourth area you need to conquer if you are going to create a financially free future is your pension. So, what does that actually mean? As and when you reach the point where you want to stop work, we need to find ways to turn the capital you’ve saved into an income you can live off for the rest of your life. That is your pension. The choices you have available to you at this stage can be confusing and daunting, but also can make the difference between a broke or a brilliant retirement. You could of course hand all those savings over to one company in exchange for a low but guaranteed income for the rest of your life, but these annuities assume you are as likely to climb Kilimanjaro at 95, as you are at 65. We all know that is unlikely to be the case, and most people want to spend more at the start of retirement than they do towards the end. The old way of creating a pension also meant that if you don’t live long into retirement, you would miss out on your hard-earned savings. That just doesn’t seem right. In order to help our clients at this stage in their life, we created The DREAM Income Strategy to ensure that they maximise their hard-fought savings and turn them into a flexible, dynamic income that can deliver what they want, when they want it. As an example, I had a client who had been forced to retire early. He was extremely upset when we first met him, because, whilst forced early retirement was not his fault, he was sure he had let his family down. He had not saved enough or in the right way to create the retirement he had promised his family. He was upset that their retirement would not be the later life had envisaged and he was worried that they would run out of money as they grew older. Using the tools and systems in The DREAM Income Strategy we were able to show him how to maximise his savings, so that he could create the later life he wanted, he could deliver on the promises he had made, and he and his family would have the confidence to enjoy that later life. The DREAM income strategy can give you the choice of how much income you need for that particular year, which means you can draw what you need without paying more tax than you need to, and still do all those amazing things you’ve dreamed of. Most of our industry tries to create a flat and rigid income strategy, which leaves you unable to do what you want when you want to. The DREAM income strategy will help you turn your hard-earned savings into fluid and accessible pension, which will facilitate your own ‘dream retirement’.
Everything I have been through so far has been about getting your finances into the right position for you now; but would you agree that things change? Legislation changes, the market changes, your situation changes, and all this affects the effectiveness of your planning. That’s why if you want to continue to have have a financially free future, you need to continually progress forward. You need your financial planning to evolve with you, rather than stagnate as all too often is the case. So, if we give you a clear plan, get your money growing and create you the best income strategy, that will be great today, however, by this time next year, it could be wrong. There will be changes that mean you need to make adjustments to ensure your financial planning continues to support your unique situation. And this is the area our industry is really bad at. Much of our industry only wants to see you again if they think they can sell you something else. For those that do see you, generally they focus on the basic investment performance and nothing more. But a proper review process needs to be so much more than that, to ensure you actually progress. That’s why we developed The Progressive Review Programme. This is unique to us, and is why many clients leave their current financial adviser to join us. We deliver a review service like no other, in ways that allow us to do so much more to ensure your financial planning actually does evolve with you, in time effective ways for you and us. The Progressive Review Programme ensures that you are still preparing for your later life in the best way and that your money is still generating the most profit possible. By reviewing your finances on a regular basis, we can make sure you aren’t taking more risk than is appropriate to your situation, but also taking enough to get the returns you need. The programme helps you to remain in touch with your plan, and your pension Income, and allows you to maximise the opportunities that life presents. The Progressive Review Programme will allow you to feel comfortable and give you the peace of mind that you are progressing towards or through your Life 2.0.
Would you agree there is more to a happy retirement than just the money? What I found after many years of helping people plan the financial side of retirement, was that they would also worry how they would spend their time and how they would remain fit, healthy and happy. These factors are as just as important as the money. If you want to truly create your own dream retirement, the final piece of the jigsaw is to control the personal side of your retirement. I regularly see clients who are approaching retirement who are far more worried about what they will do after they have stopped work than their money. They also worry about becoming a shadow of their former self and withering away soon after stopping work. That’s why we created The Fulfilled Life Formula so that you can really maximise your time in retirement. Using The Fulfilled Life Formula, we help our clients design their time, so that it is filled with purpose and passion. We help them define their bucket list, so they have reasons to live and things to look forward to, and we help them dramatically improve their health. The Fulfilled Life Formula doesn’t just focus of the health of your body either, but also the health of your mind and of your relationships. It will allow you to leave a legacy rather than just a Will for your loved ones. Something that will outlive you and be there for generations to come. The Fulfilled Life Formula will help you leave a legacy rather than a liability by helping you to create by design the personal side of retirement.