"Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it"
"Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants"
"Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend"
- Laertius Diogenes
"The glow of one warm thought is to be worth than money."
"I don't care too much for money for money can't buy me love"
- The Beatles
"Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and it is the only riches we can take out this world with us."
-Louisa May Alcott, Little Men
"And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
"Not he who has much is rich but he who gives much"
"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans"
"I pity that man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth shall starve in the process"
Setting your Life Goals - Are you ready to start Life Planning
People often come to me and ask for financial advice without knowing what they want or where they are going. It’s a bit like you going into a travel office and asking for ticket without telling them where you want to go, when you want to travel, how you want to get there, or even how much you want to pay.
Providing financial advice without understanding your goals, your values, and your desires is just the same: -- I can give you a great ticket, but the destination may not be where you want to be, and you may not arrive at the time that you want to be there. It angers me when some financial advisers recommend that you buy a financial product when they know almost nothing about you.
For many of my clients, life planning is a new experience. It is often the first time that they have thought in depth about where they are and where they want to go, and I treat them with respect and tread gently.
To explore and truly understand your goals, aspirations, and desires, I recommend that you fully engage with the three Life Planning Questions from The Kinder Institute of Life Planning
Kinder three questions
The Three Questions are the most important and revealing of all Life Planning exercises.
Please allow yourself the time to contemplate each question individually and write as complete an answer as you can before moving on. These are important questions and you should ensure that you give them the time that they deserve.
This question suggests that you have all the money that you will ever need and expands your horizons beyond financial restrictions
Imagine that you are financially secure and that you have all the money you need for the rest of your life.
How would you live your life? Would you change anything? What would you do?
Let yourself go. Don't hold back on your dreams. Will you change your life and how will you do it?
This question introduces a time limitation and a sense of urgency. We all think that we are immortal and that we are going to live forever
This time imagine that you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5 to 10 years left to live. The good news is that you won't ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death.
What will you do in the years you have remaining?
Will you change your life and how will you do it?
This question is THE question – it asks what you should have done by now and what do you regret not doing
This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live.
Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Reflecting on your life, on all your accomplishments as well as on all the things that will remain undone, ask yourself:
What did I miss?
Who did I not get to be?
What did I not get to do?
I have found that you will have a much deeper experience if you ask these questions with the help of a registered life planner.
However, I realise that for many that will not be possible, and I want everyone to have the opportunity to life plan themselves wherever they are and at any time.
I believe that the world will be a better place if we all use our time wisely and achieve our full potential.
Life Goals Website
With the aim of making life planning available to all I have created our Life Goals website at https://www.interfacefinancialplanning.co.uk/lifegoals/ where anyone can register without charge. When you register you will have access to all of the life planning exercises and you will find further help and guidance. In addition, you can save your work and return to it at any time.
This website is entirely secure and there is no mailing list. We will not contact you unless you ask us to. If you want to ask questions or need any help we are on hand if you need us.
We all have a Bucket list of sorts, even if it's only milling around in our heads.
A "Bucket List" is a list of things to do before kicking the proverbial bucket and it's unique to each of us.
If you haven’t got a written bucket list, I strongly recommend that you write it down today and keep it up to date. There is power in having a written list and you will be amazed at the difference that it will make.
We are all so busy that the things that we really want to do seem to get buried deep in our minds and some may not come out until it's too late.
The act of writing things down and reviewing, keeps things fresh and you will find that the things that you thought that you never had time to do, will get done.
There are different ways of preparing a bucket list and I have suggested that you use the Life Balance Wheel as your starting point but do not be constrained by it. This is your Bucket list and make sure that it is your own.
Thinking big, thinking small
Thinking big is fine and you may want to do that round the world cruise, learn to fly a plane, get that university degree, or start a charitable trust, if these things are important to you, make sure that they are written down.
However, thinking small is fine too. There are hundreds of things that will make you feel good and give you satisfaction. Things like: knitting something; singing karaoke in public; throwing a surprise party; learning to dance; making up with a family member or friend; eating with chopsticks; studying a foreign language; sponsoring a child; learning to love myself; quitting a bad habit; and one that I really like: go out of my way to do something nice for a stranger every day for 21 days.
Stretch Your Imagination
Brainstorm, do not hold back, put everything down no matter how odd or impossible you think that it is.
When you have thought of everything review your list and prioritise - it's probably better not to be working on more than about 6 things at any one time. The other things in your list will keep for later.
You may like to choose something that is easily attainable first because when you start ticking things off you will gather momentum. This stage always excites me, and I can't wait to hear about what you've achieved.
Some people like to use the SMART acronym so that your Goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Realistic, and Time Bound but don't get bogged down and use this as an excuse to procrastinate, now is the time to take action.
Review your list daily to keep it in the forefront of your mind.
As things get done you will find that your imagination will grow, and you will add more things to it.
Keep your old lists because it's really satisfying going back to look at them and realise how much you have got done. Realising what you have achieved will stimulate your enthusiasm and you will find that keeping your bucket list up to date becomes your most enjoyable daily activity.
Be aware that just because something is on your list you are not compelled to complete it. You may find that this was not the right thing for you after all or that your circumstances have changed – if you cross it off and put something in its place that's fine.
What do I want to achieve?
What would I like to do?
What is important to me?
Is there anything that I would like to leave behind after I've gone? (my legacy)
This is about you and what you want, and it is not about what you think that someone else wants you to do.
Identifying and understanding your core values is the glue that holds everything together.
Your core values are the underlying principles by which you live your life. They are what make you who you are, and they do not tend to change over time.
When you live according to your core values you find that life is easy, you’re happier, less stressed because you are focusing on the values that are important to you.
If you are living in conflict with your core values, you become stressed, unhappy, dissatisfied and frustrated with who you are and what you are doing
When you are setting your goals and making decisions ask yourself the following question:
Is this decision aligned with my core values?
My top ten values are: Integrity, Compassion, Respect, Contribution, Honesty, Trust, Fairness, Loyalty, Sincerity, and Equality. Do you think that you could work with someone who has those values?
Identify your own values and see how compatible they are.
- personal power v collaboration
- risk taking v tranquillity
- ambition v acceptance
- victory v harmony
- humility v power
- collaboration v independence
- self-worth v relationships
- autonomy v connection
Is your life in balance? Does your wheel of life roll smoothly or is it a bumpy ride?
I ask you to examine each area of your life and give yourself a score from one to ten:
If you are married or in a relationship is it a ‘ten’ and if not, how could you improve it?
Is your relationship with your family good and do you see enough of them?
Do you have a good social life, and do you enjoy your leisure time?
Are you trying to improve yourself and challenging yourself to get better at whatever you are doing?
Is your career or your business on track and does it give you satisfaction?
At this stage do not be too analytical, just go for gut reaction. You will have already identified what is important to you when you did the previous exercises.
I believe that one of the secrets of a successful life is for everything to be in balance. We can all think of many examples of people who are highly successful in some areas but a disaster in others.
If your wheel doesn’t roll what do you need to do? What changes do you need to make and when do you think you should start?
Keep your results so that you can refer back as your life plan progresses and you can see how much you have changed and how far you have travelled.
If as a result of following my life planning work, you have a full and rewarding life where you can all make a difference and make this world a little better my mission will have been achieved.
The three Kinder questions gave you time to reflect on what is important to you
You have prepared your bucket list and given a lot of thought to what you want to do in your life.
You have now established your values to ensure that your decisions are supported by them.
You have considered each area of your life to see where you may be out of balance and where you should be focusing your energy.
This is an amazing achievement and you have already done more work on your life planning than 90% of people.
Bring this all together and make a clear statement of why you are here, what you want to achieve, and what will be your legacy. Make sure that you review it continually.
Moving to the Financial Planning
Now that you have clearly defined goals and you understand what you want to achieve you are ready to move to the next stage of Financial Life Planning and do the number crunching.
Some of your goals will require financial planning while others will not.
Whether they do or whether they don’t your financial planning will now make a lot more sense and there will be a clearly defined strategy which will demonstrate whether a financial product is required.
CREDITS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Alan Moran Interface Financial Planning
Thanks, and Acknowledgements to
The Kinder Institute of Life Planning
Clare Evans for Values Work
Michael Heppell for Wheel of Life
The life planning exercises are also available to download at https://interfacefinancialplanning.co.uk/operational-documents/
What our Clients say
Alan has the ability to listen and care about people
We first met Alan in 1999; we both wished that we had known him many years before. Alan has several attributes, in addition to his financial skills, the ability to listen and caring about people. From the first day that we met our financial affairs became organised, now to the point where we can say that we never have any financial worries, in fact we seem to be better off financially now more than ever before. All due to Alan's guidance and expertise. We both consider Alan a very good friend, nice to know he would be there if we needed him.
Norman & Peggy Howell, Birmingham
I always receive a fast and efficient response
It has been almost ten years now since David and myself first consulted you for advice and guidance on financial matters, so I feel that it's time that I wrote to thank you for the help and assistance that has always been forthcoming. Shortly after we had moved house in 1992, you advised us to switch from one type of mortgage to another, which turned out to be the most successful financial move we had made in years. Over the years we contacted you for financial advice and guidance when our daughter was heading for University, on taking out life and house assurance policies and general financial overhauls. Your recommendations have always been sound and given in a manner both efficient and friendly, none more so than when I was widowed just over two years ago and needed a considerable amount of help, immediately given upon request and with great sensitivity during what was a very difficult time for me. There is little I can add, except to also thank the rest of your staff, friendly voices at the end of the telephone who take and pass on my enquiries and ensure that I always receive a fast and efficient response. I can recommend, without reservation, Interface Financial Planning Limited.
Maureen Pittaway, Sutton Coldfield
A very special and caring person
Alan - A very special and caring person, who it's been a pleasure to meet - thank you again it's been a privilege and honour, your kindness has been second to none and we know you've helped probably more than you should but I can assure you it was all very much appreciated, more than you know.
Bill & Sue Ralph, Oldbury, West Midlands
Advice that has been invaluable
Alan has been our financial adviser for 5 years. He is professional, well informed and reliable, and his advice has been invaluable to us. He and his staff are courteous and efficient, and we have no hesitation in approaching him for advice on any aspect of our finances, or in recommending him to relatives, friends and colleagues.
Tony & Sue Critchley, Lichfield
Always friendly and considerate
Alan Moran has acted on our behalf for over 10 years. Alan has over this time always listened to our requirements and fed back to us the best options, given our constraints and made very useful alternatives suggestions. He has always been friendly and considerate. I would not now consider making any financial investment or savings decision without first consulting him.
Ian & Joyce Miller, Birmingham
Honest and always takes the time to explain everything thoroughly
Alan has acted as our family Financial Adviser for many years. He is honest, non-pushy and always takes the time to explain everything thoroughly as often as needed. Alan is not only our Financial Adviser but we regard him as our friend. We would have no hesitation in recommending him and his staff to anyone who needs a Financial Adviser they can trust.
Malcolm & Sylvia Smith, Perry Barr, Birmingham
Alan's sound advice has improved my life no end.
I was introduced to Alan Moran in 1999. I was juggling my finances just to keep afloat and was wary of taking outside advice. A close friend of mine recommended Alan as a reliable and honest adviser who would take great care in choosing the right path to get my financial affairs on track. Trusting their judgement, I arranged to meet Alan. I was treated with the utmost care, given time to consider the guidance that Alan provided and never pushed into taking on financial services. Meeting Alan and acting upon his sound advice has improved my life no end. Even on a limited income, prudent planning has enabled me to save for annual holidays and even cope with the occasional unexpected expense as well as keep up to date with all of my bills. I count Alan among my friends and have recommended him to both my sister and my parents. He really is the genuine article and I cannot thank him enough for all he did for me.
Zena Davis, Coventry
Alan's knowledge of financial matters is very comprehensive
Alan was introduced to me by a friend at the time when my finances were a mess and I just didn't know what to do for the best. Calmly, kindly and sympathetically Alan sorted everything out. Since then he and his wonderful team have sorted out my house and car insurances, my son's mortgage and pension plan and, last but not least, guided me through the ramifications of buying a property in Spain. I have recommended him to friends, as his knowledge of financial matters is very comprehensive and sound. Alan is able to offer advice without making the recipient feel a complete idiot and he takes time to explain things thoroughly and in a way that is understandable.
Tricia Adams, Cannock, Staffordshire
Alan's sound advice has improved my life no end.
I have been a client of Alan Moran's for 12 years and during that time he has given me valuable advice on all aspects of finance. He always explains everything thoroughly and has been particularly supportive during periods of crisis in my life. He helped my late husband and I when his business went into liquidation and was even more valuable when my husband died, pointing me in the right direction with my finances and getting me to invest my money sensibly and with the just rewards that I am now experiencing. I regard Alan not only as my Financial Adviser, but also as my friend, and would, and in fact have, recommended Interface Financial Planning Services to anyone needing a Financial Adviser they can trust.
Marian Poolley, Sutton Coldfield
Efficient and reliable in terms of financial decision making
Alan Moran has been our independent financial adviser for a number of years. He has proven to be an efficient and reliable person to guide us in terms of financial decision making with regard to planning and management of current and future economic matters. He is friendly, discreet, careful and always courteous.
Chris & Tony Hampton, Halesowen
Highly professional, friendly and supportive approach
We have been clients of Alan Moran (Interface Financial Planning Ltd) for over five years. In this time, his highly professional, friendly and supportive approach has provided us with a thorough review of all aspects of our finances. We are now in a position where both our short term and long term financial planning is well organised and structured to suit our personal needs. We have recommended Alan and his team to many of our friends and know that they, like us, have been impressed and grateful for the care he has taken to provide such individual service.
Ann & Allan Rowlands, Handsworth Wood, Birmingham
Professional and friendly manner
Just dropping you a line to say thank you for all the help you've provided us throughout the purchase of our house and the investment policies you've recommended us. May we both thank you for the very professional and friendly way, in which you handled our business, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
John Fletcher & Linda Davis, Bromsgrove
Wouldn't hesitate to recommend
We were recommended to Alan by my brother in law and have been very pleased with his advice and assistance. Since using his services, we have organised our Wills, Pensions and re-jigged our finances, and now would not consider making any financial investment or savings decision without first contacting him! We would have no hesitation in recommending his services to anyone requiring sound independent financial advice.
Richard Salaman & Emma Staples, Surrey
Valuable advice on our mortgage, future planning, savings and pension investments.
Seeking financial advice for the first time, I received details of three local IFAs. However, these cold statistics gave no idea of the actual person to whom I would need to entrust confidential information. Sometime later I came across an article in a local paper by Alan (Moran) in which the writer came over as friendly and trustworthy as well as being a qualified IFA. Having contacted Interface Financial Planning, the result has been a friendly relationship and valuable advice on our mortgage, future planning, savings and pension investments.
Mike & Gloria Nash, Great Barr, Birmingham
I have never had a single financial concern
The best thing financially that I ever did when I contacted Alan. I have never had a single financial concern and he has supported me through difficult times including the death of my dear wife.
Norman Howell, Birmingham
“Don’t put off the planning for your financial future as you are
never aware of what lies around the corner”
We first met Alan in 1999; we both wished that weIt was very important to gain financial advice in such a challenging time after my wife passed away. I needed to ensure that, as a newly single parent, I had got my finances sorted out and had also made provision for my children in case anything happened to me. As neither my wife or myself had made a will, Alan’s advice and guidance through this very difficult period was invaluable, especially dealing with the paperwork associated with this.
Paul from Birmingham
“Alan, was immediately empathetic, encouraging and, above all, practical and straightforward”
I realised that I had been operating both my general and particularly financial affairs reactively for far too long and it was time I behaved like a grown up. So I started to think about how I might achieve some sort of practical stasis. Alan, was immediately empathetic, encouraging a nd, above all, practical and straightforward. I hadn’t consciously taken financial advice before, but came to realise that the various salesmen who had sold me policies and pension upgrades were not motivated in the same way a ‘proper’ financial adviser was (or should be). Consequently, I had taken on commitments that weren’t necessarily in my best interests. Alan is genuinely interested in my circumstances, and owns a readiness to go beyond what I had imagined would be the boundaries of the role.