“Financial Planning….what’s that all about then?”

by Steve Manning, founder of Manning and Company

Well that’s a very good question and it was asked of me over a glass of red between the first and second course of a very pleasant evening meal with friends from my village.

Actually it’s a huge question and I think most people have a misconception or at worst experienced a defragmented, often damaging experience of it.

My own contribution to this blog is going to be on the wider holistic’ life plan’ and how financial planning or the lack of it will without a doubt have an impact on it.

Sometimes things just get too complicated. I built up the company on the understanding that my clients had goals, desires, needs (what ever you wish to call them), some of them were actually specific financial objectives, some where to do with how to handle family, income or health related issues.  Then of course house purchases, inheritance and tax issues and the list goes on.

Twenty three years ago (almost two years after I set up Manning and Company) I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Four years ago it eventually won one major battle (one of many battles over the years) and I had to retire from actually advising. However it has taught me a valuable lesson and I am very glad I took my own advice those many years ago. Never in a thousand years did I think I would actually be ill but never the less it made good sense to me to prepare for the worst.

With no other relatives with anything even relating to MS I learnt very quickly that although  life is great, there is so much to look forward to and we should obviously plan for the best, life sure is uncertain. Statistically we are far more likely to live a full, mostly healthy life(certainly not life threatening or suffer a chronic illness) but we know of many, many people who one minute were just like Mr and Mrs average and the next- their whole life has been turned upside down and inside out. I re-iterate though that ‘us poorly people’ are in the minority. It is important to maintain a balance or perspective on this.

So basically I devised the term ‘core financial planning’ and it all revolved around what the client wanted to achieve positively now and into the future and what they would want to arrange to happen financially if they were unable to work because of medium to long term illness or they suffered a serious,critical illness i.e Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke, MS to name just four of many or if a mum or dad, husband or wife died prematurely. BUT the most important point was that what ever the ‘plan’, it had to be well within budget.

You can imagine that over 25 years I have had to witness quite a number of these events and as Manning and Company, (now in the capable hands of Paul Northmore) are a provider of what I would class as a proper, ethically sound, independent financial planning service I see how valuable and necessary what they do is.

In future blogs I shall be focusing on life issues that my clients faced and the choices they had to make themselves. Life is full of choices, risks, surprises and unknowns – good and bad. We can do a great deal to be prepared for both the good and the not so good.

Until next time…………


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