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Discover your why

London Chartered Financial Planner, Alex Caswell, shares with us the importance of understanding your “why” when investing. "One of the reasons I became a financial adviser is to help people find their why like I did myself. It sounds easy to do but none of us spend the time to really think about what we are working so hard for. Here I share some links between finding your why and how you could be managing your money more effectively and tips to understanding your purpose in life."

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Understanding your life's purpose is key to managing your money well

Travel is my “why” for investing. I love it. I realised this when I did my first solo backpacking trip to Australia at the age of 18. And I still love it now, even 10 years on. For me, there is nothing more thrilling than being able to explore somewhere that I have never been before. I also get to create some lifelong memories with new friends, who I meet along the way.

I wanted to use my money to generate a passive income in the future, which I could then use to fund my adventures. So, I did my research, selected my investment, and I just let the power of “compounding” grow my money over time.  I’m pleased to say that my money did grow, and I can now take income from my investment to fund my adventures. And, even better, because I placed this investment in a certain UK tax wrapper, any income I take from it is completely tax-free. Plan achieved!

One of the reasons I became a financial adviser is because I want to help other people find their why too. It sounds easy to do but none of us spend the time to really think about what we are working so hard for because we get so consumed in the daily grind. In this article I want to take a look at the links between finding your why and how you could be managing your money more effectively.

It is OK for us to have a different “why” to what is “normal”

Your “why” might be very different to mine, travel might not be your thing, and that’s OK. The important thing is you decide to live the life that YOU want.  Not one that your friends or family expect you to live or one that has to meet societal “norms.” We should resist the pressure to “achieve this norm, by this age.” All too often we end up investing towards these norms because we just feel that’s what we should do. Often this come from a place of low self-esteem and a need to please others around us. It isn’t until we get in to our 30s that the primitive part of our brain matures and we have more confidence to focus on the things that we want out of life.  Especially for those in your 20s and early 30s try to break away from thoughts like “Our parents did it, so it must be the right thing to do? Right?” No that might not be the case. You need a financial plan that works towards your own future otherwise you will become deeply unhappy and de-motivated along the way, ultimately leading to you abandoning your savings plans.

The "why" of some of our financial advice clients

One of the misconceptions about financial planning is it is only for wealthy people. Some people think they “aren’t rich enough” to need a financial adviser, or that they are “too young” to need to plan or receive any professional help.  I am here to reassure you now that we help clients from all walks of life, at all stages of life. Financial planning is for everyone, it’s not “just for rich people.” Some of our youngest clients are 18, while others are now enjoying their retirement. We work with lorry drivers, business owners, people who work in theatre, scientists, hoteliers, sports people, gardeners, or people who work in retail. All these clients have a different “why” for investing:

– We are supporting lots of young professionals who are saving to buy their first home

– We are helping a personal trainer manage their personal finances and save towards their future, giving them more time to focus on running their own business

– We helped a couple who once dreamt of a house by the sea and their financial adviser made it happen

– One of our clients is a music producer who has the financial structure in place so they can focus on building their own music studio in London

– We have helped an outdoorsy couple to build the financial freedom to become their own bosses, and they now own and run a campsite business

– Finding a way for a multi-generational family to all live together 

– We advise a couple who are enjoying a lifestyle on a canal barge boat

– We help clients free up more family time to spend together

So whether you want to generate a passive income for hobbies or you want to build savings for children your why is totally unique and you need to build your financial plan around these objectives.

How to connect with your "why"

An important first step in finding out your “why” is to think about your values in life and how you want to live your life followed by the goals that excite you. Know that most of the people we sit down with find it very difficult communicating to us what they want out of life. So, you are not alone. We train our financial advisers to act as a life coach in this situation and they are experienced in asking the right questions to help you draw out your “why”. Our financial advisers literally map out with you a life you would enjoy living, as opposed to a life you see as merely survival. When you understand in life what is important you will then find the courage to build a plan that will help you work towards these goals. Your financial plan should be built around sustainable habits, it should be something that you can stay on track with,  even when the chips are down, and will move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

While there isn’t a set way of discovering your life’s purpose we will help you gain deeper insight into yourself and a larger perspective on what it is that you have to offer the world. If you start working towards things that inspire you and connecting with the part of life you’re passionate about, this focus and attention will not only motivate you but help to grow your impact and influence on the world.

DIY or professional financial planning

There are three ways people tend to manage their money…you can do your own financial planning yourself, you could outsource money management to a financial planner or finally many people don’t manage their money at all. Ofcourse, we understand the value that we offer to clients but until you have experienced financial planning with a professional you trust and enjoy spending time with, it can be difficult to buy-in to or understand what does a financial adviser even do? As we have already seen, one of the benefits of professional financial planning is to help you work out your “why” in life. But to really understand what a financial adviser could do for you, try to imagine what you should be doing if you managed your own money? Perhaps you might sit down once a month and analyse outgoings and incomings, take stock of where your finances are, devise some savings goals and targets, decide on where to invest your money, come up with a retirement plan, ensure you are utilising tax thresholds etc. then when it comes to buying a new home you will be deciding on which mortgage to take out and what level of insurance and protection you need. There are so many areas of your finances you need to control and manage and financial advisers take all the stress and complexities of finances away from you. We do all the hard work for you but additionally we are qualified to the highest levels in the industry to do that role. Whilst I am a firm believer that the best way of learning is by going through experiences yourself and learning from them, there can be some real downsides to the “DIY” approach, in areas of our life like health and wealth. At the end of the day there are some things you know in life, some things you don’t and some things you don’t know you don’t know! And in both health and wealth, we can easily go down the wrong route in life and make some seriously costly mistakes.

Whatever your goals are, if you’re ready to start working with a professional to help you achieve what you want in life, get in touch with Chartered Financial Planner Alex Caswell for a free first meeting. Or if you are not quite ready head over to our client case study page or you can search for Unividual on google to read client reviews local to you.

Author: Alex Caswell, Chartered Financial Planner in London
Editor: Cherie-Anne Baxter
Date written: 24th January 2023

Approver Quilter Financial Limited 13/01/2023

The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change.

The information in this article is only as accurate as the date it was written.

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