I usually start early and am not averse to working the odd evening, but try to guard the late afternoons to spend precious time at home with my four-year-old son. Today I was in the office for 7am – having just returned from holiday – to tackle my email backlog over a cup of strong tea.
I met a client in the afternoon, a professional woman on maternity leave, for whom I am arranging a comprehensive retirement plan and consolidating several pensions. My client’s childminder let her down at the eleventh hour, so she settled her baby for a nap just before I arrived. We exchanged whispered greetings before creaking across an expanse of original Victorian floorboards into the kitchen, hoping for the best. Thankfully, only when my client was signing the penultimate form did the baby begin to stir and whimper. We concluded the paperwork swiftly, before I disappeared into the sunshine and the mother comforted her child.
Today's client has recently taken voluntary redundancy from his corporate employer in order to try to reduce stress in his life and transition to coaching children at sports. His income will reduce markedly, so I am planning his long-term finances to help ensure stress does not re-enter his life – at least in terms of money worries. Our financial planning discussions had a strong emotional impact. My client is now seeing how free he is to pursue his dreams in the knowledge that his accumulated wealth can bridge any income shortfall and support his family. The release of pressure was almost tangible.
By coincidence my client today has also taken voluntary redundancy from her corporate role, the stress of which had made her physically ill and put her in hospital. This occurred towards the end of last year, but having recovered mentally and bodily, she now helps similarly afflicted individuals as a counsellor for a mental health charity. She is passionate about it and I can understand why. It is becoming increasingly common to hear of people in the professional and corporate world eschewing pressurised job roles for more emotionally rewarding lifestyles, albeit considerably less so financially for most.
My fortnightly poker game took place this evening. It is a friendly, low-stakes affair. My pals are not especially good poker players, but neither am I. That’s good. I would not want to win every time.
Looking to top up my CPD, I attended a life company investment seminar. The prestigious venue is renowned for its fine buffet lunch, but that absolutely was not my main reason for accepting the invitation. The economic commentary was particularly useful, with unpredictable Brexit negotiations influencing the markets for the foreseeable future. A further session featured final salary pension transfers, which I found interesting despite not having advised on one for a few months. Excellent lunch.
Working from home, I finalised reports for upcoming meetings. Among them was an at-retirement case for a couple in their late 60s who are taking pension income by combining a temporary annuity with investment withdrawals. I updated my CPD record and arranged several upcoming annual reviews before catching up with my post. Some pension details arrived on behalf of a newly appointed client for whom I am carrying out a holistic financial planning review. The paperwork included a transfer value multiple of 45 times the current deferred pension. Yesterday’s seminar was timely.