This month our inboxes are overloaded with motivational messages, pinging at you like a hyperactive personal trainer: Lose weight! Get fit! Stop smoking! Start training! Write that book! Sort out your money! I'm advocating a calmer, gentler approach to achieving your financial goals; scaling down intentions to a manageable level. If you set yourself up to succeed, you'll be rewarded with an upward spiral of belief and trust in yourself.
The process of divorce or separation forces you to make big financial decisions at a time of intense emotional upheaval. There is an urgent need for clarity, understanding and clear planning to ensure those decisions are made well, as they could have a big impact on your future.
The financial side of divorce can be a daunting process, especially as many of us struggle to understand where our money goes at the best of times. There may be financial issues – such as pensions, investments, debts or a family business – that you have never really understood, and now decisions need to be made about how to share these. Even apparently straightforward questions, such as ‘how much do you need to live on?’ are complex when on the cusp of a big life change.
Financial coaching provides support and guidance in understanding money, and so can be particularly helpful for navigating the financial aspects of divorce and facilitating discussions between couples.
Happy International Women's Day!
I'm getting really excited about taking part in the WOW Festival this weekend. I'll be there 3-4pm on Friday as part of a panel discussing risk, exposure and resilience. And also delivering a worksop 'Getting Personal with Finance' 3-4pm on Saturday, where I'll be taking women through the 7 Laws of Sheconomics and answering audience questions.
Passes for the festival are now sold out, but come and see me if you're there! @WOWtweetUK #WOWLDN
I was interviewed by a journalist recently who wanted to write an article about ‘financial therapy’ - a combination of financial advice and therapy for unhelpful money behaviours - that is currently popular in the US.
The article - Do you need financial therapy? – was published by The Guardian this week. While I don’t describe myself as a therapist, my work often involves helping clients address the emotions they experience surrounding the subject of money and helping shift unconscious patterns of behaviour around money.
As well as interviewing me about my work, we did some work on the journalist’s relationship with money so that she could experience what I do. She’d never before given much thought to her relationship with money.
What was revealing was that she can get herself out of trouble but can’t maintain that forward momentum once it no longer feels like a problem. We did an exercise where I got her to personify her relationship with money, and what came to her was ambivalence, disinterest and discomfort about engaging with money. We realised that her focus was on survival: getting through the month, paying off debts, but not on thriving.
Spring has sprung and this April has brought us not only sunshine, but something even brighter - big changes in pensions!
Fundamental reforms, introduced in the 2014 Budget, come into effect this month. But if you don't have a clue what these changes are, you're not alone. To understand the implications, we need to take a step back and clarify some pension jargon. There are two main structures of pension provision....
The first is known as ‘defined contribution’, or ‘money purchase’ where you, the employer, or both, pay in a set amount each month. The fund grows and you end up with a pot of money at retirement. But the size of this pot isn’t fixed - it depends on how much is put in when, investment returns, charges etc. And the pension income you end up receiving is unknown until you start drawing from this pension pot.
The second structure is a ‘defined benefit scheme’, known as a ‘final salary pension’, which pays out a guaranteed level of pension income based on your income when you retire and the number of years you’ve been working.
Most people today are in a ‘defined contribution’ scheme, and the current reforms are mostly in relation to this. So what’s changed?...
Once a month the Life Planning community get together in what they call a “Town Hall Teleconference” (originated in the US as you no doubt guessed) where practitioners from all over the world discuss their experience of Financial Life Planning. People share questions, client experiences and insights and support each other to build a vibrant Life Planning community.
I was privileged to be invited to be a guest speaker at the Town Hall teleconference in July 2013 to talk about how I’ve integrated Financial Life Planning into my work ...
It’s fantastic to hear about how people’s lives change through working on their relationship with money. An inspiring review on Amazon recently told how reading Sheconomics, combined with some one-to-one financial coaching, transformed one woman’s life. She cleared her debts and is hugely excited about being back in control financially.
But the next stage is even more exciting - doing some financial planning to help clients achieve their big dream. Here’s three steps to get you started…
I’m still buzzing from the Financial Life Planning conference, which took place in London at the end of January. The minute I walked into the conference room it felt like a family gathering. There was a sense of familiarity, warmth and openness there, and I felt a sense of belonging that’s not usual in the world of financial services!
I was also excited about having a chance to participate in a panel discussion covering how I’ve integrated Life Planning into my work ...
Suddenly it’s December again and Christmas is coming hurtling towards us in a blur of sparkly lights and parties and last minute shopping, making excessive demands on our budgets. That’s how it often feels – to have come suddenly at us, even though December follows November each and every year.
One of my clients, Anna, is taking Advanced Driving lessons and her instructor had said that the most common word in accident reports was ‘suddenly’: ‘suddenly the van came hurtling round the corner’; ‘the car ahead braked suddenly’. Anna was learning that Advanced driving skills are all about anticipation - looking well ahead, adjusting your behaviour to ensure a smooth ride. Things rarely happen ‘suddenly’ if you’re anticipating well. She realised that ...
While we’re in back to school mode and thinking about financial education how would you like your kids to teach you about the stockmarket?
Or to see them getting enthused by the idea of building wealth when they get older?
Well, thanks to an episode of Radio 4’s Moneybox, I came across this fantastic site where kids can play at trading the stockmarket via a fantasy stock market game . It’s run through an organisation called OINK! – a business newspaper for kids aged 7 to 12 teaching money matters to kids in a fun, off the wall, way.