Six months ago or so I wrote a blog about my Dad’s imminent retirement. I’m not egotistical enough to assume you’ve been on the edge of your collective seats waiting on an update (The Deathly Hallows this ain’t) but here it is anyway.
Nelson Sr. got off to a disheartening start thanks to some pretty poor experiences with a couple of annuity brokers; one of whom hilariously tried to entice him with a free Kindle. A Kindle!
When he finally got round to visiting a financial adviser I tagged along. Partly for my Dad’s peace of mind, and partly for my own if I’m honest (with a smidge of nosiness thrown in). I’m very pleased to report that we passed an extremely productive couple of hours as the adviser laid out the old man’s options in a clear, concise and understandable manner.
Most importantly of all, I think for the first time in Lord knows how long, my Dad finally had some clarity about his situation. I could never achieve that with him, being too close to the situation and too heavily invested emotionally to give him the guidance he needed.
So, with that in mind, I was actually going to write this blog a couple of weeks ago. A nice and positive update extolling the virtues of financial advice. Then, that budget came along and threw the industry a curveball.
When I came back from lunch on 19th March, I was met with the kind of fervour that you don’t often see in our industry. Twitter feeds full of excitement at the prospect of a new retirement dawn. Access! Flexibility! LifeCos getting a kicking! It was all happening.
Professional views aside, I have to admit that – on a personal level, my heart sank. I knew that after all the emotional energy my Dad had invested in the past few months, he’d be feeling close to square one again.
Sure enough, when we chatted on the phone shortly after, he was full of uncertainty again and suspicious of a market that – in his words – constantly changes the goalposts. He was dizzy trying to take in the reported changes. His head full of broadsheet opinion, provider rhetoric, emails from aforementioned brokers (telling him he will soon be able to TAKE ALL HIS MONEY NOW!) and my own tuppence worth.
This to me is the often unfortunate reality of our industry. Yes, the changes in legislation have the potential to be positive but the key word is potential. Until the changes work their way through the system and are communicated effectively, the opportunity will be lost in translation to the man in the street. A man who, chances are, doesn’t hold the greatest view of the finance industry to begin with.
In the meantime I’ve been pressing my Dad into going straight back to see his adviser. (Thankfully, he has). I hadn’t fully appreciated till I experienced it for myself just how much of the advice role centres on delivering reassurance and peace of mind to cut through the sheer volume of industry noise.
A footnote! just noticed I’ve used both advice and guidance throughout this blog. Even I’m at it.