A child asks around 40,000 questions between the ages of two and five. Not because they want to annoy their parents, but because they want explanations.
Whilst we don’t ask our clients quite so many questions, the question of why is so important. It is core and fundamental to helping you achieve a sense of well-being.
Nowadays, the phrase financial well-being is well-woven into the finance sector. We understand the term to mean having financial stability and security so that you can be resilient during financial shocks. But my 35 years of experience have taught me that it is more complex than that.
Discussing financial well-being is about more than discussing financial resilience. Needless to say, recurrent topics nowadays include the cost-of-living crisis, energy prices and inflation. So, it is very easy to believe that financial well-being is exclusively about money matters. But we also talk to clients about what makes them happy. We talk about their values and the kinds of things that are important to them. And we talk about how they can become the best possible version of themselves. The goal is to build our clients a financial plan which makes them happier, not just wealthier.
Financial well-being covers two elements: money and mindset. The money side of things is straightforward: you need an income, some sort of safety net, manageable debt levels and a healthy long-term savings position. All of that gives you financial resilience.
But then there's the mindset side of things. I find that the free-form conversations we have with our clients are just as important as the more targeted information-gathering ones. We love talking to you about the experiences and activities that bring you joy and give you a sense of purpose in life.
Is there a good balance in your life between moments of pleasure and moments of purpose? If the answer is no, then the chances are, no matter how financially resilient you are, you will not be able to use your wealth to pursue the things that give you joy. Having a long-term mental time horizon has an impact on how you conduct yourself financially in a range of different areas – not just your retirement saving strategy, but also how much you have saved for emergencies and how much debt you are carrying. These are all considerations that you manage differently when you are thinking long-term.
We are living longer, healthier lives. It is inevitable that during the course of those longer, healthier lives, there will be some sort of crisis along the way. It will happen. The question is: how will you behave and react to that crisis when it inevitably comes?
That’s an easy one: our clients want a premium wealth management service comprising detailed financial planning that takes all their aspirations, goals and values into account.
IQ advisers go further than this – we are trained to know everything there is to know about wealth management and the various procedures and practices which govern it. As well as being able to hold meaningful conversations which promote your financial well-being.
We have evolved a whole skill set for gaining an understanding of what exactly you need in order to achieve that state of financial grace – a skill set that goes beyond just identifying investment opportunities or assessing risk appetite and capacity for loss. Listening is our secret weapon.
Our goal is to ensure that our clients are financially stable and savvy. You know that you need emergency savings and that you need to save for retirement. But it is one thing to know something… and another to do something. If you don’t always do these things, it’s because life sometimes gets in the way and prevents you from converting intention into action. Our lives are full of biases and mental shortcuts that prevent us from living our lives optimally. Our job is to provide you with the “just-in-time” education that you need –provide reassurance when markets are down or remind you to pay into your ISA before the end of the tax year –, as well as “rules of thumb” that are easy to adopt and apply in everyday life. A combination of those two concepts is a sound approach to financial education.
Fintech covers an array of technologies that supplement, improve and compete with traditional ways to deliver financial services. With a smartphone and a few minutes, you can download Moneybox and start investing the virtual spare change rattling around your wallet. Or there’s Nutmeg – a low-cost online investment platform that will manage your investment portfolio according to your risk profile.
In short, people with little or no financial knowledge have an ever-expanding pool of digital platforms providing algorithm-driven investment services that will guide them towards sensible investment decisions, enabling them to sidestep people like us.
When it comes to financial well-being… that significant step up from just financial resilience, we find that the adviser-client interaction is so important. We use it to talk about uniquely human motivations, values and future aspirations. Then we build financial plans around those. Our approach is based on the idea that there are no such things as financial goals: simply life goals with price tags attached to them. And our focus is on those life goals. Moneybox and Vanguard Investor are highly efficient. But can they really identify life aspirations and deeper motivations?
In short, we are committed to helping you develop a mindset – underpinned by expert financial advice – that will give you peace of mind and a sense of financial well-being at times such as these. An app cannot do that.
Our experience shows that it pays to maximise well-being rather than performance. Clients who focus on intrinsic motivations and life ambitions are far more likely to enjoy financial well-being.
Watch our client testimonial videos to see how we have helped to promote clients’ well-being here: