26 Jan Meet the Team: In Conversation With…
Anthony Prior Financial Planning Specialist
What were your career ambitions growing up?
As a child I actually always wanted to be a policeman, even going so far as to study criminology at university. However, my career path went in a completely different direction and I can honestly say I’ve never looked back.
What does Joslin Rhodes do?
We specialise in pension advice and retirement planning, helping people who’ve worked all their lives and are now starting to wonder – “When can I retire?” and more importantly – “Am I going to be okay when I retire?”
People come initially with very transactional questions, things like; “What’s the best thing to do with this pension?” It’s the Planner’s, job to get to the root of why they’re asking this and what they’re trying to achieve by using our unique PLAN HAPPY process.
PLAN HAPPY is the process we take all our clients through to show them how their pensions, savings and investments can be used to give them the lifestyle they want.
We’re then able to give them clarity on their financial circumstances and ongoing peace of mind that they do have enough and will always have enough, or what they need to do to get it.
What sets you apart from other financial advice firms out there?
When you walk in the door you can see we’re different, it’s very relaxed and homely.
However, the main reason we’re different is our starting point isn’t financial transactions, it’s more about – “What do you want to do? What do you want your assets to do for you?”
A lot of people limit themselves by saying- “I’m going to retire therefore I’d better stop spending.” And, when we’ve ran the numbers there are times we say – “You can spend more if you wish, you’re fine.”
After all, no one lays on their deathbed talking about a 3.2% tax-free yield. Instead they focus on the things they did in life, and those they didn’t. What’s the use of planning a client’s finances so they have money when they’re 100, if they can’t afford their daughter’s wedding at 45 or to pay off their mortgage at 50.
It’s the focus on the person rather than their assets that makes us different.
How have you seen the business evolve since you joined?
I joined the company four years ago and back then there was only nine of us. We’ve grown enormously since then and now have around 55 staff members.
From Client Onboarding who greet people as they arrive, to the Paraplanners who deal with the technical and financial modelling, the Protect team who help with estate planning (things like Wills and Lasting Power of Attorney) and the Planning team who help clients understand how their pensions, savings and investments can be used to get the life they want, we do everything in-house and don’t outsource anything. Clients know they’ll have a contact in each department to answer their questions or they can pop in for a cuppa and a chat to get help.
How have you seen the industry as a whole change?
Years ago, you’d reach a certain age and start drawing money from your company or private pension, when you died it stopped. You’d live your life around that income, that’s just the way things were.
The 2015 Pension Freedoms regulation meant everyone could access their pension pot from 55, but any value over a certain amount required financial advice.
This meant a lot of working people now had to get financial advisers and many had never needed one before, so this was difficult.
Since then, more people have become aware they have the freedom to choose what to do with their pensions, so we now get many more clients who’ve been in Defined Benefit or final salary pension schemes.
It’s our job to present all the information and advise on individual circumstances so everyone can make informed decisions.
Is it ever too early to think about retirement planning?
It’s always good to start thinking about the future. There’s not many of us who live the same lifestyle in our 20s, 30s or even 40s. That’s because as we move through life the things that are important to us change. For instance, those in their 30s getting on the property ladder and starting a family have different priorities to those in their 50s who are mortgage free with grown-up children.
The earlier you start planning, the better position you’ll be in when it’s time to retire.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love travelling and going away visiting places I’ve not seen before and enjoy all the usual things – catching up with friends and going on long walks with the dog.
But, my wife and I have just had our first child, so things have changed dramatically for both of us recently, but we’ve been lucky our daughter is a good sleeper, so far.
What does the future look like for Joslin Rhodes?
For us it’s all about watching people who’ve worked hard all their lives find out that everything’s okay and yes, they do have enough. It’s a great feeling to know we’ve helped change people’s lives in ways they didn’t think possible.
Recently we opened our Newcastle site and we’re looking forward to taking the PLAN HAPPY process to as many people as possible.