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Susan's Story

Living life as a widow

Unbiased.  Plain Speaking.  Curious. Actionable. 

Susan was widowed. Ken recently passed away age 64. Ken and Susan had built up a successful private company, which was sold 3 years earlier. They have 3 daughters, now married.

Susan has many good friends and she has an engaging personality together with a fun sense of humour.

We listened to what Susan wanted. She was concerned about what action to take following conversations with lawyers, stockbrokers and accountants.

Take a look at what Susan had to say with The Wealth Coach

Susan when did you meet Nic?

It must be just over 12 months now. My husband had passed away

What were you looking to achieve?

It was a difficult time for me. I’s easier to say with hindsight, but I remember thinking when I came to see Nic that I couldn’t really think straight. When Ken died, it was so fast, I just could not get my head around what was happening. Even today, it’s a blur. I suppose I just wanted everything to be sorted. I had so many meetings with the lawyers, our stockbrokers, the insurance people and the bank. It was as if they all wanted me to make decisions. To be honest, at the time, I didn’t feel ready. I know they were all trying their best, but I just didn’t feel comfortable. I wanted someone who could bring everything together so it wasn’t as complicated. I just needed it to be made simple for me.

Nic, can you recall your meeting Susan?

I remember Susan coming to our offices. Susan was very business like, very articulate. We chatted for a while and I asked how I could help. I started to list down her concerns and the questions kept coming. We finished the meeting with an A4 sheet filled with questions. I don’t think I have had as many questions before! After I explained how we work, Susan wanted to meet again.

What happened at that meeting?

The first thing I wanted to communicate to Susan was not to rush anything, but Susan needed proof. I asked Susan to add up all her assets and investments and then to simply divide the total by her expected expenditure. The answer was over 90 years. I asked her how does that make you feel? Immediately, with such a simple exercise I could see her shoulders sink and relax.

It was clear that her money would outlive her. I then showed Susan what the long-term impact might be if she left all the money in cash for 2 years. Once again, Susan realised that she would be OK. Yes she understood these were estimations and very broadly based, but it appeared gave Susan a change in focus.

How did you feel Susan?

Well, I remember going home and feeling relieved. It’s funny but all the questions in my head seemed less important. I felt like I don’t need to worry about the future now, and all the questions nagging at me seemed less important. For me, I felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel.

What happened then Nic

We continued to meet and started to build a plan together.

Did you enjoy the planning Susan?

Yes, and I found it grounding for me.

How do you feel now?

It’s taken a few months of chatting and trying to put things into perspective, but lots of things have fallen into place now. I’ve just come from the US seeing Emily (daughter). It was sad but also I feel very positive. I also was told that Amelia(daughter) is pregnant and I am looking forward to meeting my grandchild soon. I know Ken would have loved to been alive to see his grandchild, but he has left a legacy that’s makes all the family proud and fortunate. We are all very lucky.

Coaching always comes first before any advice. Too many fund managers, stockbrokers and financial advisers are more interested in managing money, than focusing on their client’s outcomes. It’s understandable; its how they get paid.

Nic says: Through ongoing coaching with Susan, we helped put into perspective how long her money could last. We looked at the risks on investing in various assets and compared these against simple investments in cash. Whilst all the evidence shows that a balanced mix of assets makes sense over time, it was reassuring to Susan that even if she remained invested in cash deposits, there was enough to last her lifetime.

Life has moved on for Susan. The initial fears of wondering if she was going to OK for the rest of her life have now been put into perspective. We have helped design a strategy for the long term. Susan can now travel to see her children whenever she wants and she is embracing a new future.

John's Story

The DIY Investor

Unbiased.  Plain Speaking.  Curious. Actionable. 

John is a successful businessman. He has 2 children and is divorced. He likes to make many of his own decisions.

John likes to discuss his investment ideas and relies on us to provide a new perspective.

Take a look at what John had to say with Nic Round, The Wealth Coach


John, when did you meet Nic?

Actually, I think we met once at a dinner party, maybe 10 or 12 years ago.

Did you become a client then?

No. I had been working with a couple of advisers who were friends of the family. But as technology improved, and with so much information at your fingertips, I started to drive the conversations and meetings with my advisors. In all honesty, I didn’t feel as if we were all on the same page. Don’t get me wrong, I value advice, but I was finding it a struggle to find advice that was relevant to me. They kept suggesting funds that I didn’t feel were right for me. And so often, what appeared to be a good decision to buy 12 months ago, didn’t appear right any more. There were always good reasons to buy or sell, but I didn’t feel as professionals they were right often enough. So we agreed to disagree and decided I could do better myself.

What did you do?

It was a time when every year so much information was available on the internet. We were heavily involved in new technology at work and I could see investment services changing rapidly. I must have been one of the early adopters of online stockbroker accounts. I even got involved trading futures, but one or two bad deals was a good lesson for me to know my limitations.

Do you feel you have been successful?

I suppose it’s how you define success! Am I happy with the results? Yes I am. I have made some good decisions and some not so good. The more I read, it became clear to me to use to use index funds most of the time. I also liked to test my gut reaction on up and coming companies. After a while I felt I got a good balance.

Nic, How did you get involved with John?

I remember getting a phone call from John. It was a tax issue. He wanted to discuss something his accountant had said to him. When we met, I asked John how much money do you need? I think he looked at me probably thinking what a stupid question. But the more we talked, it became clear to me, he had neglected succession planning. John had more than enough money, the question was, what was he going to do with it?

Is that a fair summary John?

After a couple of years of doing it myself, I felt I was missing something. I didn’t need advice on what funds to buy or sell, it was the bigger picture I needed help with.

How does Nic help you?

We talk about what my future looks like. As a child I remember having adventures as a cowboy. So we talked about taking time out from work. My holidays tended to be no more that one-week at a time. I took a little convincing but I’m getting used to the idea that work can actually exist without me for more than a week. So much so, I’ve made the decision to take 2 months away in Canada to the rockies! The kids are grown up now and when I broached the subject I had looks of amazement and then a touch of envy.

That sounds interesting?

It’s taken a lot of effort to convince myself, but, I am really looking forward to the break…and the challenge. I feel now that I am starting to get a balance between work and play. I also take time out to think about the future more. We also talk about different investments I’ve made and its good to get someone to challenge my decision-making. If I can understand more about why I have made a decision on a particular investment, it creates a framework for making future decisions. Taking to someone without an axe to grind is therapeutic.

Who knows, maybe Miss Right will come along and we’ve actually talked about that too.


Nic says:

Wealth coaching empowered John to make better financial decisions.

 “Our role is not to choose a fund that we believe is better, in fact, that is almost impossible. Not because we are not able to provide the research, but fundamentally, none of us have any idea of the future. Picking funds at the right time relies more on luck than skill!

We talk about creating a strategy and plan for the future. We help John think about when to sell assets; how and when he will transfer money to his children; how the succession process evolves; his favourite charities, and of course, letting me know what investments he has bought and why. He is now talking about a trip to Australia next year.

As we are not focused on accumulating client assets on which we can charge, we are able to bring a new perspective and work with clients to deliver peace of mind.”

Shirley's Story

Divorced and moving on

Unbiased.  Plain Speaking.  Curious. Actionable. 

Shirley had been married to James for 20 years and they divorced 5 years ago. James and Shirley have two daughters. Sophie and Isabelle. Sophie, her daughter, was recently married to David. Shirley decided to move from Scotland to be near her daughters.

When Shirley divorced, she continued to use a firm of discretionary fund managers that James had originally employed. Over the years, she had 3 different people she dealt with.

She wanted to feel more in control of her destiny.

Take a look at what Shirley had to say with Nic Round, The Wealth Coach

Shirley, how did you meet Nic?

It was a few years ago now. I remember coming back from meeting our advisers at the time and sitting down with my daughter. She encouraged me to take action as I was feeling frustrated and confused.

How were you confused?

I’d been with the advisory firm for a number of years, in fact, James (ex-husband) had been instrumental in employing them, so after our divorce, it was too overwhelming to think about options. It wasn’t as if they did anything wrong or even lost me money, other than in 2008, when everyone I know had problems with their investments. It was the realisation that I could be having the same conversations for the next 10, 15 20 or more years…and I thought to myself, I’m not really getting a lot from these meetings.

Did you have an idea then in terms of what you wanted?

As I said it was more about what I didn’t want. It was only when I met Nic, did we start talking about what I wanted?

Let me bring Nic in now. Can you recall your first meetings?

Yes I can. Shirley brought with her investment papers and as I recall wanted some form of reassurance

What do you mean reassurance?

In some respects, for me Shirley didn’t want to feel she had been taken advantage of. I actually confirmed what she was doing, was what most people had done over many years. That was a sense of relief to her. We then had a conversation. I wanted to understand why she was frustrated with things and as we developed a rapport, we decided to meet again.

Shirley can recall your next meeting?

That’s was when I wanted to understand more about what I was investing into, and whether I had enough money for the future.

What sort of things did you discuss?

I must admit I was pretty focused on my investments. In all honesty, I didn’t like the charges. The problem was I felt they were high but I couldn’t really understand them. I needed someone to talk with to give me some clarity

How did you help Shirley understand the costs?

It’s not easy. But to start with we got documents from her advisers confirming costs and fees.

So Shirley when you were aware of this information what did you do?

When people say its 1 or 2%, and you think they can make you 8, 9, 10 % or more, then 1 or 2% seems nothing. But Nic talked me through the impact of costs in more detail…it was then and there I decided I wanted to talk more to Nic about my options.

Did you change the investments Nic?

No, it was more about helping Shirley understand what she had got. We could then think about what she wanted. I didn’t see the need to rush out of an investment without a strategy for the future.

What do you mean by strategy?

We are all on a journey and money plays a vital role. We, therefore, need to understand what is important for people. How they see their future? What hopes and aspirations they have? Above all, we work hard to find out what gives clients a sense of contentment. This provides us with the reasons for a strategy.

How do you see your future?

I really feel happy. I feel that from a financial perspective, we have a good plan.

I also feel that I have a better sense of my money and how it works in my life. We talked about giving money to charities, which I now have I a plan….and its really satisfying. I have found a new found enthusiasm being involved with the investments and decisions. I also have what I call fun money. I take about £10,000 from my portfolio and spend it in the most frivolous way. Last year, I booked 3 days in Paris for Sophie and Izzy. We had dinner at the Jules Verne and looked out over the splendour of Paris. I toasted my old fund managers with a glass of champagne and thanked them for this dinner. Well, I did so with a big smile on my face. I think I picked up irony from James!

Nic says:

The coaching process helps your own understanding. If you can’t explain what you are doing to a 6 year old, then you don’t understand it yourself.

Shirley liked the idea on investing in capital markets and her desire to know more was encouraged… and part of our discussions help test her knowledge. Shirley has ideas of how she wants to distribute her capital over time and investing in the market keeps her options open.

Shirley ‘s story is ongoing as there is much we talk about. But helping her understand what she was paying for and what she was getting created the foundation to move forward positively. It’s finding a way to get great value.

We listened to Shirley and over time we better understood what she wants for her future.


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