Working with a CFP® Professional Means Peace of Mind

When South Africans get asked about major reasons they would consider working with a financial planner, they most often cite that financial planners help consumers by demonstrating how consumers could save money (78%), coming up with a tailored long-term plan (76 %), and providing peace of mind (76%). This is according to the recent Global Consumer Survey conducted by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI).

The Financial Planner recently spoke to Chartered client, John Arnesen, who shared his experience about how he found that “peace of mind” when he opted to work with a CFP® professional.

Planning means peace of mind

A lingering memory from my childhood is being encouraged by my father to save. Earnest young man that I was, I took his advice to heart, and was a diligent saver even while at school.

Very early on in my working life, at age 23, I also learnt that standard pension contributions would not be enough for a comfortable retirement. As a result, at the time, I responded to a Southern Life advert and bought some polices that sounded ideal for my needs.

The advice advantage

What was missing then − and remained missing until 2006 − was proper financial planning. For nearly 30 years, I arranged my finances myself and trusted a number of commission-driven product salesmen to get the best return on my investments. I now realise that I lost out heavily in the process and, sadly, had no recourse.

My approach to my future financial security changed when I joined the Financial Planning Institute in 2005. I quickly realised the very significant difference between what is known as a broker – more of a salesperson − and a qualified financial planner or advisor … or as FPI refers to these professionals: a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional. By 2006, when I had just turned 50, I recognised that I would have to do something drastic were I going to be able to consider retiring by the time I was 60.

It was in 2008 that FPI awarded John Campbell, CFP®, the accolade of FPI Financial Planner of the Year. I decided then that John was my “man”, John and Meryl Arnesen and asked him to help me take control of all my financial planning affairs.

The process was painful as my wife, Meryl, and I had to face up to the realities of havingbeen gullible and far too trusting, and, in addition, not having given our retirement planning sufficient focus.

John helped us by putting a very clear and focused retirement plan together. We had to transfer monies out of non-performing products and carry “losses” in the short-term to consolidate the portfolio. In the process, we paid planning fees only. John was very clear that Chartered Wealth Solutions would not take any product commission whatsoever.

Meryl and I also underwent the life planning intervention with Kim Potgieter, CFP®, – another challenging process, but, as our lives have borne out, an equally valuable one. We struggled with the incredibly tough questions, but I have no doubt that this process helped us to get through many other difficult moments in the subsequent 10 years.

More recently, the real value of our first proper financial plan and subsequent financial plans (always incorporating retirement and life goals) compiled by

John and, following him, senior financial planner at Chartered, Pat Blamire, CFP®, have proved to be spot on. In fact, as anyone would hope, every annual plan was exceeded year by year.

Empowered by choice

So it was, after 10 years, I was able to meet up with Pat on my 60th birthday and hear these absolutely fantastic words: “Based on your financial needs and looking at your graph, you and Meryl can retire … Congratulations!”

The reason why this was exciting news was not the fact that we could stop work, but rather that retiring was a real option for us, when we wanted it.

In 10 years, Chartered had brought our financial affairs into order and set them on a solid path for the rest of our hopefully long lives!

Far more than that, Chartered had, over that decade, helped us prepare ourselves for retirement; now we feel ready to negotiate that transition when the time is right.

The lesson is clear: every couple or person must get the help of a professional financial planner, one that has no interest in securing revenue from anything other than the costs related to compiling and managing a financial plan.

The challenge is to shift the perception that is deeply engrained in the ordinary person’s conscious and sub-conscious mind that somehow they should not need to pay for a financial plan.

My advice is simple: pay for the plan and let your professional financial planner take the worry out of your future retirement security and help you achieve your dreams…

I leave you with this thought-provoking question: why are you happy to pay an architect, engineer, lawyer, accountant, doctor, but think you don’t need to pay a financial planner? Especially when you consider that, second to health, wealth must be the most important thing for one to take care of.

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