Opinion  

There is no greater feeling than telling clients yes, they can leave their job if they want

Caroline Stuart

Caroline Stuart

Helping a child have a dream wedding, buying a forever home and finishing work to start a well-earned retirement are all life-changing moments that bring families joy and stress in equal measure. 

For many people, financial planners play a crucial role in making their hopes a reality through good quality planning and advice.

It is one of the key reasons we do what we do. I believe there is no greater feeling than telling clients yes, they can leave their job if they want, or that trip of a lifetime is affordable, or even in some cases give them the peace of mind that their family will be financially secure when they are gone.

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However, based on recent Financial Conduct Authority data, less than 6 per cent of regulated advisers are under 30 and fewer than one fifth are female. It also showed the average age of an adviser is 58, leading to the expectation of large numbers leaving the profession in the coming years.

This shows we have some way to go to create a diverse profession reflective of the public we serve. We need to attract new talent from all areas and backgrounds to build a sustainable profession for the future; like our clients, we need to make sure we have a plan.

Spreading the word

Earlier this month, I became president of the Personal Finance Society, and one of my key aims will be looking at ways of encouraging more new people to join our profession.

I want to work with members to spread the word about the great work we do and make as many people as possible, outside of our professional bubble, aware of just how important good financial planning and advice is.

We have nearly 40,000 members, all of whom can, and many who already do, tell their stories about how they have helped changed clients’ lives for the better and the fulfilment that brings. 

We all have stories we could tell about that. I remember one occasion when a client came for advice; he felt trapped in a job he hated and wanted to take his pension so he could leave and use the money until he found another job. 

We discussed his plans and goals for the future, and reviewed his whole financial situation to create his financial plan. This showed that because he had saved diligently throughout his life, he actually had enough to fully retire if he wanted. 

Knowing that changed the future for his family forever; his notice was handed in, with the peace of mind that they had a sensible, financial plan in place.  

This is just one example of the thousands of stories our profession has about the difference made to people’s lives through the power of good financial planning. 

Help through hard times

We are in the most challenging economic period for a generation, and many households, individuals and businesses are facing real financial hardship. Few are immune to rising costs, and high-quality, professional financial advice has never been more important.