James McIntyre, director in the wealth management team at PM+M, describes the synergies between gardening in his allotment and his role as a financial planner…
Welcome to my allotment; planning for success
18 months ago, I was handed the keys to my first ever allotment plot. Today, I am hoping to secure a second.
This is my time to re-charge, connect with nature, teach my children the value of food and keep myself fit in the process (and of course, after a hard days’ work turning the soil, I get to sit on my bench, with a nice glass of something cold and fire up the BBQ).
18 months earlier
The plot that I was allocated had been well looked after; the foundations were in place. There were a few beds already there, some established trees and a greenhouse. However, the transition between tenants resulted in the plot becoming a little overgrown. I started by devising a plan; I needed to clear the beds, clean the greenhouse, cut back the trees/hedge, clean the water butts, improve the soil and make some new raised beds. I recognised where I was starting from and where I wanted to be – the reality being that this was going to be a continuous process of caretaking and improving.
When the foundations were in place, I was able to plan for Spring. I decided that I wanted to grow potatoes, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts and plant a pear tree.
I set some objectives and was subsequently able to enjoy fruit pies and vegetables to complement Sunday roasts, reaping the rewards for my planning and hard work. Admittedly, if I were to say that the cabbage, carrots and broccoli were a disaster, I would be making the understatement of the year. However, you learn, adapt the plan and move forwards.
I have new plans for this year – adapting and building upon the previous year and hope to see better success.
Sowing the financial planning seed
You may wonder why I am telling you this. My hobby, gardening in my allotment, has much synergy with the way I help clients set up their financial plan. Whether this be accumulating wealth, planning for retirement, planning on spending during retirement or protecting loved ones in the event of the unknown.
When we first meet a client, we start by ‘tidying the plot’ i.e. gathering information and devising a financial plan. We establish the client’s current position and determine where they want to be by understanding their objectives. It is also important to appreciate that financial planning requires ‘ongoing caretaking’ via ongoing reviews and constant improvements and adaptations as we seek to achieve the ultimate objective.
The next step is to ‘plant the seedling’, by making a recommendation and implementing the financial plan. We then ‘nurture the seedling’ by proactively managing the investment portfolio.
At times, the ‘frost can bite’ and therefore we need to consider the unexpected. As part of the financial plan, we need to ensure that your family and/or business are looked after in the event of death or ill health. There are products available to ensure that your family/business are not ‘left out in the cold.’
Objectives will evolve, markets are dynamic and therefore we will need to ‘improve the soil’ and adapt the plan. We would meet regularly with clients to ensure their financial plan is on track, whilst ‘storing and looking after the harvest’ by managing the sustainability of the client’s wealth. PM+M’s cashflow forecasting tools enable us to ensure that you are on track to meet your objectives and that you can enjoy a sustainable lifestyle.
I care about my allotment; I also care about looking after our clients. Whether you are starting out in life, considering how your pension will work, looking for a new adviser, hoping to retire or have retired and need some help, please do get in touch using the button below.