Author: Jeremy Deedes

Right hand, left hand

The Financial Conduct Authority, the regulator of retail financial services in the UK, issued two documents this week, both of which are important for consumers. Both have the potential to influence the delivery and content of financial advice to consumers and both could have an impact on your important long term financial decisions as a consumer. One paper is a fast reaction from the FCA regarding the recently announced changes to pension benefits; the other is a scheduled paper assessing the implementation of a specific part of the Retail Distribution Review, the charging of fees by advisers. The two are linked and both illustrate differences in policy between the government and the regulator which could leave the recipients of financial advice caught between conflicting policy directions. In the recent Budget the Chancellor announced an almost total relaxation of restrictions on how pension benefits are taken. From April 15 it will be possible to take your entire money purchase pension pot as a lump sum (final salary schemes will have to wait for their own specific piece of legislation). Interim measures between now and then allow for phased relaxation of the rules. Hence the Chancellor’s war cries of ‘No more annuities’ and ‘Responsible savers won’t go and blow it on a Lambo’. In somewhat different vein, the FCA issued a guidance paper (FG14/3) on 9 April 14. On the face...

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The meaning of freedom

As a life planner, my business proposition is to help clients achieve a degree of freedom they have probably never known before in their personal lives and their dealings with money. However, freedom definitely does not mean being able to do anything, anywhere, anytime, any place. Rather, freedom means being able to achieve what is important in one’s life, free from the pain and suffering so often associated with the money that, to use an old expression, makes the world go round. In the life and money context, freedom is not necessarily achieved by wealth, although there is no doubt that money can move things forward. It is achieved by knowing where you want to go, putting in a financial and life structure to get you there and, most importantly, setting boundaries that are not crossed. Structure and boundaries can be seen as the equivalent of a cage, but within that cage, there is freedom to move and grow. Structure and boundaries are more equivalent to the transport network. They limit your freedom to go anywhere and everywhere, but help you to get to where you want to be. In financial and life planning, the most important structure we need is a spending plan, which also provides the most important boundary. Keeping the boundaries sacrosanct ensures we don’t end up in trouble later. But staying within one’s self appointed...

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Holiday time

After a gruelling first three months of the year, culminating in an unusually hectic run up to the tax year end on 5 April, its now time to take a break over Easter. The backlog of client work is all but cleared and investment of the new money that came in in March won’t suffer from waiting 10 days before being invested (mostly by phased buys over six months anyway). And today has been wonderful, hot and windless and an ideal opportunity to spend the day in the garden. Task for the day was to expand and re-arrange the veg patch, now that the Government has up the fruit and veg intake from 5 to 7 per...

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Illustrator found!

Thrilled that Tim Bulmer has agreed to illustrate my book. Really looking forward to seeing his solutions to a difficult brief. Loved his comments on reading my third draft: ‘Hi Jeremy Just finished reading “Living Money” and the greatest praise that I can give it is that I finished it, enjoyed it and I think understood just about all of  it. It is very well written (bit patronising of me as why shouldn’t it be!) and the ethos behind it is sincere, ethical (Roger Steare would heartily approve) and extremely timely. To extol an alternative philosophy to that of greed – “toys and bling” –  and to make it so much more palatable than the naively nauseous route to greed and instant gratification. I think the design of the book itself will be hugely important especially in terms of reaching out to as wide an audience as possible and by way of highlighting its unique quality. It preaches without being ‘preachy’ – it doesn’t patronise – it is a guide – a friend. It should be on every bedside table and desk in the land and if everybody took it to heart we’d certainly be all the better for it. (I appreciate that it isn’t designed for everybody but hopefully you appreciate my schoolboyish enthusiasm). Anyway – I feel that congratulation are in order! Kind regards...

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School talk

It was a real privilege to have been asked to talk to a part of our local school about money. this was part of their Chaplaincy programme and I was asked to talk about the ethics and morality of money, focusing on integrity issues around money. I based the presentation on the core principles of St Benedict, including integrity, humility, equilibrium, sustainability and hospitality, all of which are more than relevant to our dealings with money. We divided them up into small groups and set them to work, after the initial presentation, on a series of vignettes, all based on actual events. I asked each group to consider their initial gut reaction to the situation, then analyse the principles involved before looking at tools and teachings that would help them to resolve similar situations. Finally, each group was asked to review their initial gut reaction and see if it had changed as a result of the discussions. The presentation seemed to go down well. However, the most impressive aspect of the evening was the behaviour of the students, their interest and willingness to discuss and respond intelligently and politely. All in all, a thoroughly enlightening...

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Jimmy Rea’s memorial service

Saturday, memorial service for Jimmy, the young son of old friend of ours.  Jimmy, born Australia in 1987, brought up on a farm near us in Yorkshire, died aged 26 when the wing of his Tiger Moth broke off in the air over the Gold Coast near Brisbane, Australia. In between those two events, Jimmy lived life to the max. He was a fearless adventurer, the ultimate can-do person. His favourite phrase was ‘its doable’. And listening to the eulogies on Saturday I found some of my fundamental tenants about life and money both challenged and reinforced I thought I might, this morning, reflect on that. First, a bit a bout Jimmy. He was a true traveller and adventurer. As one speaker said, he packed more into his 26 years than most of us would in a full life time. His travels took him to every continent. One minute he was hanging out with the Massai in Kenya, next he was herding cattle in the Australian outback, he in a plane, his schoolfriend, travelling companion and for just over a year his wife Alice on a horse. Or he was was driving a horse box from England to Libya to deliver a couple of racehorses, extract the not inconsiderable payment for the horses from their new owner and bring it back (in cash), something he achieved of course. Or...

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Reunion

Great to get together yesterday evening with fellow life financial planners Tina Weeks and Dennis Hall. Over a superb dinner at Orso just off Covent Garden we talked about our businesses and the future of retail financial services and the role of financial life planning. Its comforting to realise we are all experiencing the same difficulties and struggles, as well as reaping the successes of the life planning...

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Third draft completed

At last, after all this time, I completed the third draft of my book, just before the end of the year. Managed to cut the word count down to just under 49,000 from over 60,000 and simplified the second half considerably. Now to get it published. Rethink, here I...

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Greed and letting go

Greed is all about possession, holding on, acquiring. Letting go is an essential element of transforming. This is why we need to banish greed. Without greed we can let go and become transformed...

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