Written by Pinnacle Financial based in Terenure, Dublin.
The future can be frightening – all those unknowns, those question marks. Just thinking about the future is enough to give you that sinking feeling, like there’s a bowling ball in the pit of your stomach dragging you down into the depths. That’s why there are countless articles on how to future-proof your career, your business, your education, your body, your skin, even your child.
It can all seem a bit… much. In order to future-proof your business, well, you will need to future-proof your career, but then, of course, your education must be relevant and cutting-edge, so that first needs to be future-proofed. And then, once that’s all sorted, you have a baby, and you begin gain. It’s a never-ending cycle of stress and worry and anxiety, and there seems to be no way out for anybody.
But what if the future took care of itself? What if, instead of jumping these hurdles one-by-one, they were all subsumed into one overarching master plan – a life plan? That is precisely the purpose of a Financial Planner, to create for clients a life plan that includes, not only the client’s financial aspirations, but the personal ones, too. And if such a client commits to that life plan, the hurdles will suddenly start to tumble and the stress will begin to transform into hopeful anticipation.
Does Mrs. O’Donaghue want to retire at fifty-five and move to a small villa in the south of Spain? She need only tell her Financial Planner. He has the financial forecasting tools necessary to show Mrs. O’Donaghue exactly what needs to be done today to achieve her dream for the future.
Does Mr. Fitzpatrick want to gift his two children €75,000 on their 30th birthdays to ensure their financial well-being – though he has no idea what it means to “future-proof” children? He need only tell his Financial Planner. She will show him what needs to be done.
Does Ms. O’Reilly, a single mother, want to save enough money so that her baby girl will be able to one day afford university, while at the same time ensuring that her own retirement needs will be met? In a few minutes, her Financial Planner can update her plan and tell her what she needs to do to make her aspiration a reality.
Does Mr. Moran want to make a career change at 45, to turn his lifelong passion and hobby of woodworking into a profession? Maybe he would even like to start his own business. His Financial Planner will lend a sympathetic ear and see what he can do to make this happen.
Perhaps a particularly cautious couple will want to plan for the worst-case scenario – an unexpected death or debilitating cancer. How will they cope? Their Financial Planner can plan for as many “What-if” scenarios as the cautious couple like, and he can update the plan for any number of them.
All these real-world situations can be planned for and forecasted. A Financial Planner isn’t there to sell you products or policies, he’s there to plan your life with you. At the same time, he isn’t a magician. He will make assumptions, and those assumptions will invariably be wrong – and that’s inevitable. A Financial Planner can’t predict the future. But he can make assumptions (always erring on the side of caution), which are accurate enough to create a life plan, a forecast of your future that is more accurate than anything you will be able to come up with alone.
The words of your Financial Planner won’t always be uplifting. He may have to give you some tough love, at times. Perhaps you will need to downsize your home when the children move out. Maybe you will have to cut down on your living expenses or increase your savings and investments. Whatever the trouble, your Financial Planner will give you concrete steps that you can take to dig yourself out. If you follow the plan, your future will take care of itself.
Financial Planners aren’t only for the wealthy. They aren’t only for Millennials or the middle-aged, either. They are for anyone who wants an idea of what their future holds; anyone who wants to eliminate as many of those unknowns and question marks as is possible without a crystal ball; they are for anyone who wants to take control of their future, rather than wait for it to pounce. In other words, Financial Planners are for everyone.