A few weeks ago my wife Julie and I attended the Wedding of some very close friends.

Julie and I sat down and unusually we didn’t know anyone on the table. We all introduced ourselves to one another and the conversation quickly progressed from our connection to the bride and groom to where we live and what we do.

The couple we started speaking to had recently made a life changing decision to move themselves and their family across the world. They had moved just a few weeks ago and then flown into the UK for a few days to attend the Wedding.

We only lived a few miles from the venue so our 15 minute car journey didn’t really compare to the thousands of miles they had travelled to be there on the day.

I asked them what they both did for work, expecting them to have moved in connection with one of their careers but to my surprise they were both now retired. The main reason for the move was to be closer to their family who were now living in various countries around Europe.

After listening to their story, I was asked what I do for a living. I explained that I was a ‘lifestyle financial planner’. Normally I then spend time explaining to someone I’ve just met what I do and how lifestyle planning is different from financial advice.

On this occasion, I didn’t utter a single word for the next 20 minutes. They explained with disbelief and huge smiles on their faces about their experience.

A few years ago they were recommended to speak to a lifestyle financial planner in South Africa. Up until then they had just received financial and investment advice from various companies when they needed it. They didn’t even know lifestyle financial planners existed, let alone what it entailed.

They said they remembered it like yesterday. Instead of asking them about their financial position and discussing investments and tax, the lifestyle financial planner asked them about their dreams and aspirations for the future and what was important to them. The planner helped them look beyond their current lives by setting goals and putting together their own bucket lists. Talking these through together and then building them into their own financial plan. Interestingly for them one of the most important items on both their bucket lists was family. They both wanted to re-establish relationships with their family and be in a position to see them more frequently. They were fed up of saying no and not having enough time to visit them all.

Over the past few years they had built and successfully followed a plan and were now retired and looking forward to enjoying themselves. Rather than missing family events because of work or worrying about their finances, they now had enough time and resources to do everything they wanted to do.

The experience for them had been lifechanging and was so much more than managing their money.

Listening to them both talk about their experience had reminded me about how much we can help individuals, families and small business owners.

September 2019