Apr 2, 2023 | EWAN ROSIE

Lessons from loss

The value clients take from our service is very personal. It can also be changeable. For instance, one year clients may focus on investment returns. Another year it may be a tax saving we find for them. And another year it may be the hand holding we have provided when investment markets are more volatile.

Then there is the value that we provide during the most difficult times. Such as the death of a loved one. Over the last 15 years or so, I have seen this first hand and have been able to help clients through what are always very difficult times. Questions like, “what do we actually need to do?” and “will I be ok?” are often asked, and having a trusted partner helps to ease the worry.

Dealing with this in a professional capacity is one thing. But in the summer of 2022 I learned what it was like from a personal perspective. My Dad, at the relatively young age of 68 passed away, rather suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly.

My parents are clients of Cooper Parry Wealth. And whilst I am not their adviser, my Mum has leaned on me to help get things done, and make sure the finances are in order. And I, with the help of her team in the background, have revisited the overall financial picture with her so she knows she has nothing to worry about in the future. Something she knew anyway, but emotional stress can trigger all sorts of fears at the toughest times.

We (CPW) also held a copy of Dad’s Will, so we could easily progress the legal side of things. And because their finances have been structured sensibly, there have been minimal complications. I am thankful to the work that has been done by our team. My Dad and his immaculate record keeping also played a part in this!

Naturally, I have also thought about the life my Dad lived and the decisions he and my Mum made since he retired. They have been on some amazing holidays, Dad bought his dream car, and helped our family in ways that they’ve always wanted to. I can reflect and say my Dad lived a really fulfilled, happy life, which gives me great comfort.

However, professionally my mindset has been troubled. The age my Dad passed away, 68, has stuck in my thoughts. And every time I see a lifetime cash flow model run to age 100, I have an uncomfortable feeling. I realise this is my own emotional bias, and partly my grief. But never has the balance of ‘today’ and ‘tomorrow’ been so important in my mind.

“Knowing your number” is at the core of our financial planning process. Knowing how much wealth you need to build to achieve the life you want to have. We often say “life is not a rehearsal”. Recent events have been a reminder of this.

There’s a reason that “Make life count” is Cooper Parry Wealth’s strapline. We never know what life will throw at us, so have no regrets.

Accumulating for a working lifetime, and then possibly starting to spend more in retirement, which may see assets decumulate, is often a psychological challenge. A challenge that requires a coach to keep reminding that you are doing the right thing.

Bringing it back to the value point I made at the start. If we can help our clients through challenging periods, encourage and empower them to spend in a way so they enjoy life to the fullest, and keep records to hold them accountable to the goals that are most important to them, this is where the true value in financial planning lies.

Yes, we should always have one eye on the future. But, not to the detriment of today.




This communication is for general information only and is not intended to be individual advice. You are recommended to seek competent professional advice before taking any action. Tax, wills and estate planning advice are not regulated by the FCA