In Focus: Modern financial planner  

It’s OK to take August off

Sally Hickey

Sally Hickey

A familiar theme has been occurring once again on my Twitter timeline.

It began in the middle of July, with photos beginning to crop up of mountains, seascapes, cold beers and books.

By the first week in August it was a cacophony of IFAs posting an effective out of office on social media, saying they were taking the month off to spend time with their families.

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“I’m off now until September”, most of them said, until by mid-August I seemed to be the only one left in London.

For those worried about the impact an extended holiday will have on their business, or sat in an empty office wishing they weren't, I am here to tell you I think taking a break this summer is hugely beneficial not just for IFAs, but for their clients.

We are heading into what looks like it will be one of the hardest winters in decades.

Energy prices are due to rise today, and continue to rise until April when they are forecast to hit £5,816 (the cap is currently £1,971).

Worse than this, Citi recently predicted inflation will hit 18.6 per cent in January next year, far above the Bank of England’s 13 per cent estimate.

As the volume of warnings increase about the incoming cost of living crisis, which has already started to hit, it has become clear that as we head into winter only the exceedingly well-off will be unaffected.

For those who, until now, have had a comfortable existence, they will either have to change their lifestyle, or dig into savings that have previously been earmarked for something else.

Indeed, inflation will cause pensioners to increase their withdrawals by between £2,000 and £3,000 annually, according to PensionBee, and a number of pension providers are already urging people to consider the long-term implications of reducing pension contributions.

The role of an IFA in such circumstances has never been so important.

I’ve always thought that to do the job of a financial adviser well is to have a broad church of talents.

The job can entail everything from being an accountant to a family therapist, and it is the latter that must be an exhausting part of the job. 

It is easy to overlook the toll the past two years has taken on us all, including those who have been dealing with deaths, changes in circumstances, working overtime to adjust their clients’ cash flow predictions and chasing pension providers who aren’t doing what their products say on the tin.

Money is inherently emotional, even more so with the never-ending fear-mongering headlines about the coming crisis, and IFAs are looking down the barrel of months of financial and economic uncertainty.

So, back to those pesky out of offices that have filled up my inbox for the past three weeks.