How I work
I’m a qualified actuary with a PhD in Mathematics. So I know finance and I’m adept with numbers. I’m also a coach, trained by Simonne Gnessen of Wise Monkey, the leading trainer of financial coaches in the UK and I’m currently completing the Meyler Campbell Mastered Programme for executive coaches. Finally, I’ve experienced myself the challenges and opportunities of integrating a top-level professional career into a life well-lived.
I use this mix of skills and experience to provide financial coaching not regulated financial advice. This means I will equip you to make your own financial decisions so you can manage your money to live the life you want to lead.
I will spend time helping you understand what you want to get out of your life, how to align your finances with your values and how to understand and manage your emotions and behaviours around money.
As a successful professional, you have the capability within you to manage your money successfully if you want to. Emergence of easy-to-use and cheap investment platforms and low-cost index funds has made it much easier for people to look after their own money cost-effectively.
This has persuaded many professionals to take their financial future into their own hands rather than paying a financial adviser 1% a year to do it for them. But people managing their own money often don’t know what they don’t know and are subject to behavioural biases and inconsistency in following their financial strategy. This often leads to bad decisions and suboptimal outcomes. It’s also tough to challenge your own assumptions.
Busy professionals also need help to see the wood for the trees and to stay focussed on what they are trying to achieve in their lives. I fill this gap by providing you with expert financial help and behavioural coaching in a highly cost-effective manner, potentially helping you to save tens of thousands of pounds compared with the cost of a conventional advisor.
At the same time, I will help you recognise when you do need to pay for regulated advice and help you understand how to get the best value.
The important bit
I’m a financial coach not a regulated IFA. This means I help you build capability and confidence to make your own financial decisions. I don’t recommend or implement specific products or investments for you. You can read more about the difference between a financial coach and a regulated IFA.
How I can help you
Focus on a specific issue
You may want to focus on a specific issue. For example:
- Creating a realistic plan for financial freedom, marrying up your personal and professional aspirations.
- Controlling your spending and making better use of your money in line with your values.
- Bringing order to your thinking on investment strategy.
- Understanding your options for drawing income from pensions and investments as you move to a portfolio career.
- Reviewing the provision your have made for family in the event something happens to you.
- Defining your philosophy and approach to supporting your children financially.
- Preparing personally, professionally and financially for transition to a portfolio career.
You may want to build knowledge and confidence to make your own financial decisions. Or you may want to prepare for the process of appointing the right regulated advisor (whether financial or legal) to help with specific recommendations or implementation — if so I can help you understand the issues so you’re equipped to choose the right regulated advisor, with the right brief, at the right price.
Take my Financial Freedom course
You may want to undertake a holistic view of how your finances are aligned with your life goals. The Financial Freedom course will take you through my financial freedom factors in a comprehensive way over eight sessions of 60 to 90 minutes, plus four accountability sessions of 30 minutes over the 12 months following the course, to help you stick to your plan.
Through the course I will give you the knowledge and confidence to:
- Define the life you want to lead and how money will help you achieve that.
- Manage the emotional drivers behind your use of money.
- Ensure your family is protected and provided for in line with your values.
- Understand how to use the key financial tools to secure your financial future.
- Understand how to think about risk and investment strategy.
- Create a clear financial plan suited to the current phase of your life.
- Identify and select the specialist legal or regulated advice you need.
- Transition to the future by bringing changes into your life today.
In either case, my approach is to design a series of sessions to support you with the issue you’ve identified, combining a mixture of structured content and discussion. I provide pre-work and recommended reading to be undertaken between sessions in order to accelerate your progress.
As well as providing knowledge-based content, I also provide coaching support, particularly around the behavioural aspects of managing money and aligning this to your personal and career ambitions. I provide a sounding board to help you come to your own decisions.
I charge a fixed fee for a defined programme of sessions. I do not take any payment from providers or third parties, so my only focus is providing you with the best support possible.
My fees reflect the market for professional services provided to individuals and have the potential to save you thousands in wasted fees to regulated advisors — either because our work together gives you the confidence to manage your own finances or because you’re equipped choose the right advisor for your needs with the right brief and scope.
Some example cases
Rebuilding finances after a divorce
Jane is going through a divorce. She’s in a high-earning career but has been left with a significant mortgage and the challenges of being a working mother. I supported Jane as she created a plan to rebuild her finances and to ensure her daughter would be appropriately provided for, should anything happen to her. Through our work together Jane built confidence that her financial challenges could be overcome within a few years and that a bright future awaited.
Jane had taken ad hoc financial advice in the past and had investment products implemented by a number of providers. Given her busy schedule, she wanted an advisor who could handle the administration of her investments on her behalf. We worked through her needs together so that she had a clear view of what she needs from an advisor and will only pay for what provides value to her. We also identified the criteria for selecting an advisor she’d want to build a long-term relationship with.
On the cusp of professional success
Suresh is on the cusp of partnership in professional services and is also starting a family. He wants to make the most of the opportunity his career provides for himself and his family and so decided to take my Financial Freedom course to take a holistic view of how he was aligning his finances with his life goals.
Given an imminent investment Suresh wanted to make, we started with a deep dive into investments to build his knowledge of different asset classes, active versus passive investment, asset allocation, diversification the trade-off between risk and returns, and the components of an investment strategy.
Suresh has a solid financial base but his investments are managed by an adviser who he feels is not adding value for the fees charged. He has decided that for the time being he is confident in managing his investments himself and so is moving his assets away from his existing provider saving thousands a year in fees that were not providing value to him.
Targeting financial freedom
David is self-employed with a young family and wanted support with a thorough review of his family’s financial situation in order to help him meet the twin goals of home-schooling his children and retiring at 50. Through our work David quickly identified that he had not put adequate protection in place for his family. This led to him and his wife rapidly drawing up wills and taking specialist financial advice to secure appropriate life and income protection insurance.
David is keen to manage his investments himself, through a mixture of pension and ISA investments and a property portfolio managed through his company but wanted to build his understanding of how different types of investment compare. We discussed the pros and cons of property versus equity investment, bonds and other investments, different types of fund and the merits of active versus passive investing. We also reviewed the elements of developing an investment strategy and how to guard against the potential impact of common behavioural biases. Equipped with this knowledge, David has developed a clear investment plan to enable him to meet his goals.
Planning for a portfolio career
Imani is a successful partner at a professional services firm, who wanted to take the chance to reflect on what she wants from life and where her career should go next. Using insight from the life factor, I supported Imani in identifying what are, for her, the key personal and professional dimensions of a life well lived.
We used these to assess her current role and realistic opportunities within and outside her current firm, marrying these with the financial aspirations she has to support the option of a portfolio career from age 50. Through this process Imani was able to create real focus on what she finds truly fulfilling and to create a strategy for identifying and pursuing the right opportunity. I also helped Imani to create a financial plan so that she could understand what she needed to do to meet her goal of making work optional at 50.
She concluded that her personal, professional and financial goals were best served through developing her career in her existing firm rather than looking for opportunities outside.
Names and some details have been changed to preserve anonymity.
Start a conversation
If you like what you see, do get in touch to ask a question, share some thoughts or fix a time to chat. I’ll do what I can to help.