Interview the expert
Carl Roberts FPFS, Chartered Financial Planner
1. So Carl, please share with everyone a bit of yourself, so we can all get a flavour of your background and tell us what led you to being a Financial Planner?
I originally graduated from university with a law degree but after 3 years of studying I felt law was not for me. I wanted to help people in a more active way rather than reacting to problems that occur.
I chose financial planning as money has always interested me and I have always considered myself good with money. My parents were never rich so I had to earn and save my own money from an early age.
After starting at the bottom for a local financial planning firm I worked my way through the different financial planning roles and now run my own financial planning business.
2. What does a Chartered Financial Planner actually do?
Whilst understanding a client’s financial position and recommending various financial products that are appropriate to what the client wants to achieve, at the heart of what we do is to listen to our client’s desires and concerns and help them put a plan in place to achieve the lifestyle they want.
Chartered is the highest level of qualification for a financial planner meaning you will be dealing with someone who adheres to highest level of professionalism, expertise and ethical standards.
3. Why might people need a Chartered Financial Planner?
In the UK there is a bit of a stigma around talking about money. Therefore, as a society, we don’t always have the appropriate knowledge to make the right financial decisions.
You may be more than capable of managing your own money but one thing that is really difficult is managing yourself!
You see we are emotional creatures and we all suffer from behavioural biases. A good Financial Planner will be the person that stops you making the bad decisions and helps you make the right decisions that are aligned to your values.
There’s also a time, inclination and skill factor involved with financial planning.
If you’re not a mechanic you take your car to the garage to get serviced. Financial planning is no different.
4. How risky is investing?
Investing can be as safe or as risky as you want it to be.
One thing that is certain with investing is that risk and reward go hand in hand. To achieve higher rewards you will need to take more risk and vice versa.
As long as you have a well diversified portfolio of investments that is aligned to your goals then you will not lose all your money.
If you invest in the stock market the value of your holding will go up and down every day. Every now and then there will be a stock market crash but over the long term (20 years plus) you should see a significant overall increase in the value of your investment.
5. Where should we be investing our money today?
An incredibly difficult question to answer and the only answer I can give is…. it depends.
Everyone’s circumstances will be different.
What you need to do is to work out what the goal of your investment is. How much do you need and when do you need it by? Once you know this you can work backwards. You can work out what investment return you need to make and can then design a portfolio that will get you there.
6. What are people’s main concerns when they come to see you?
The biggest concern people have is knowing whether they have enough. Are they going to run out of money before they run out of life?
I help people understand exactly where they stand and what they need to do change it if it’s not enough.
7. Does financial planning stop when you retire?
No, definitely not. Life is never simple and your plan is never a straight line. Things change all the time whether it’s your health, family or the government changing the rules!
It’s always good to have a trusted confidant by your side guiding you through life’s maze.
A lot of the work we do is on behalf of clients planning for the next generation. Making sure their children are set up and that the tax man doesn’t grab a large share of your wealth on your death.
And finally, here are some great money quotes that I love:-
“Do not spend save what is left after spending, instead spend what is left after saving” – Warren Buffett
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver” – Ayn Rand
“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you and how many generations you keep it for.” – Robert Kiyosaki
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb