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Back to School- Money Matters Blog- September 2020

17th September 2020

Back to School- Money Matters Blog- September 2020

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I always used to dread going back to school after the summer holidays. Being fortunate enough to have a stay-at-home Mum, a Gran who lived with us and an older brother and sister, I loved the summer break. Add into the mix fun days out with school friends and play dates with the children next door, I certainly wasn’t short of things to do in July and August each year. All of these things have contributed to the fond memories I have of my 1980s childhood.

 

Moving forward to 2020, this week sees the full reopening of primary and secondary schools post-lockdown, with some children and teenagers returning for the first time in nearly SIX months. Half a year of being home-schooled, living through strict lockdown and then being allowed out in this strange socially distanced new world; going back to school has definitely brought mixed emotions for pupils, parents and teachers alike.

 

As we enter what feels like a significant step in the country ‘re-opening’, it got me thinking about the parallels between school life and financial planning.

 

New year, new goals

 

I am sure that as classrooms fill up around the country this week, teachers will be setting expectations for this year with their pupils. Some will be working towards specific exams or tests, but for many, their goal will be to attain important benchmarks in their relevant Key Stage.

 

 

 

Similarly, the starting point of building a financial plan is to know what you are aiming for. Whilst life goals tend to have a longer time horizon than a year, they often link to different life stages and the overriding principles remains the same. Life goals can be financial, but more often than not are linked to the lifestyle you want to lead. For example, common things we hear include:

 

“I want peace of mind that my partner will be ok if anything happens to me”

 

“We want to move to a bigger house in 5 years’ time, for when we start a family”

 

“We want to be able to support our children through university”

 

“I’d like to enjoy a slower pace of life until I fully give up work”

 

“I’d like to be able to reduce my hours at work to help look after my grandchildren”

 

“I want to retire at 60”

 

New goals, new journey

 

All of the above goals require a financial plan to bring them to fruition, just like a child’s education requires a structured learning path.

 

Over the coming weeks, as teachers get to know their new pupils, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, they will be forming a plan of how best to help that child achieve their potential. Each child will have a different starting point and their journey to reach their goal will be different; the skill of the teacher is in getting alongside that child and working out the best plan for them as individuals.

 

 

 

This journey closely mirrors that which we undertake with our clients; mapping out the journey and working with you to achieve your aspirations is the essence of financial planning. In the same way that teachers regularly assess a child’s progress, we meet with you at least annually to review your plan, incorporate any changes and agree the next steps. Although I would point out, this is very much a collaborative approach; we don’t take the teacher/pupil analogy too far!

 

New journey, new focus

 

Perhaps the most significant part of starting a new school year is the opportunity for a fresh start. Being a natural- born worrier, I always wanted to please my teachers and be on my ‘best behaviour’; but try as I might, the bad behaviours would creep back in throughout the year and invariably the school report would comment “Caroline talks too much and distracts others”.

 

 

It’s the same with a financial plan. From time to time, most of us behave in a way that stop us achieving our goals. This may be due a change of circumstances outside of our control, or it may be a shift in our attitude (often that we don’t make consciously). An annual review of your plan allows us an opportunity to regroup and offers a fresh start to refocus on what matters to you. There will be bumps along the way, but the important thing is getting back on track on your journey to financial freedom.

 

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending”- CS Lewis

 

If some of the points made have resonated with you, please do contact us to arrange a meeting. We’d be happy to work with you to get a financial plan in place or revisit the one you do have.

 

But if nothing else, hopefully reading this article has taken you back to your own school days and has jogged some happy memories.

 

As always, if you feel we can be of any assistance to you or anybody you know, please get in touch:

  01642 033737

  enquiries@moneymattersne.co.uk

 

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Best wishes

 

Caroline

PFSCII

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