We all dream of an early retirement, don’t we?
For me, that dream became a semi-reality in 2010 when I sold the telesales business I’d built up alongside my business partner, Lindsay.
Eight weeks later, I was going stir crazy at the slow pace of life as a semi-retired bloke who hadn’t yet hit the age of 40.
A property investment franchise called Platinum Property Partners followed and myself and Lindsay quickly built up a healthy portfolio of shared living houses in Kent, while I doubled up as Platinum’s Sales Director.
Having taken 150 people through a process that I now realise was not dissimilar to an in-depth financial planning process, and no longer being required to work in the property business on a daily basis, I was looking for my next challenge, which actually came in my personal life rather than in business.
I got married in 2016 and became a father for the first time a year later at the age of 46.
Like many, it was that kind of personal change that prompted me to take a forensic look at my own financial life.
Here are the headlines…
Money-wise, I knew what I had today, but I was no closer to understanding how much my new family really needed 20 years down the road.
I had three advisors I could call upon in times of need such as the one I outlined earlier; an accountant, a solicitor and an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA). After speaking to all three of them, I was left distinctly underwhelmed by the conversations I’d had and the solutions left in front of me.
It turned out they didn’t communicate with each other on my affairs at all. I also felt that some of the advice was conflicted – were my best interests really at the heart?
I soon realised that having three separate advisors working in silos on their own ‘specialty’ just wasn’t going to work for me.
Through no fault of their own as individuals, they simply weren’t equipped to answer the most prevalent questions I had: Have I got enough money to last the rest of my life and, also, how much is ‘enough’ when it comes to the things my family and I want to do … & did I even have a clear picture of what we wanted to do?
I should add that I also reflected on my mum’s death when I was 27, which left me with a financial mess to clean up.
She had a business that couldn’t operate without her, no LPAs, a large mortgage, no life insurance and a family devastated by her loss.
I very quickly realised that the only person with the true ability to sort out my financial issues was me.
Having resolved my own affairs after 22 exam papers and the new titles of Mortgage & Equity Release Broker, Estate Planner & Independent Financial Advisor, it quickly dawned on me that my own situation was far from unique.
If I had issues, there was a chance many other property investors and small business owners would be wrestling with the same ones. I knew there had to be a better way of delivering & charging for financial planning and advice. One that was people-led and not run for the benefit of larger financial services companies.
I found that there are a small percentage of lifestyle financial planners in the UK that were already doing something like this – ones that believe that effective financial planning and advice is about people and their lives driving their money and not the other way around.
Financial Planners that know real advice is so much more than simply selling financial products or trying to get as much of a client’s money under their control as possible for those lovely high Assets Under Management (AUM) fees.
But it was very much an underground movement.
Located in Poole, Dorset and serving clients all over the UK thanks to the use of technology, Suitable Life is the umbrella business that brings together three crucial parts of the financial life planning process:
Suitable Life is about clarity. Bringing clarity to your financial affairs by planning for your long-term business, personal and family lifestyle objectives. The majority of people only plan so far ahead and few have a real idea what their financial future looks like. Suitable Life removes the guesswork and provides that much-needed clarity and certainty.
We’re not a huge financial conglomerate. We’re a boutique business that provides a personal service.
The business is pretty much me – and I make no apologies for that – but bringing in other expertise as and when required. One of the key things we get our clients to focus on is ‘life’ – what they want from it, what they need from it.
I practice what I preach, so Suitable Life is moulded to fit in with my lifestyle but without compromising on that clarity I mentioned before and the help and support you need, when you need it.
I want you to live a happy life. A Suitable one.
And this is the first step towards it.
Financial Life Planner