We returned from working overseas in 2002. I was setting up a new company, Trish had started in a new job and between us we had accumulated a number of different pensions, money in the bank, investments and insurance policies. We needed to get our financial matters sorted out.
My previous IFA experience in the UK had not been good, so we needed to start again and get some advice on how to plan things out. Given the spread of funds that we had in different places, we really wanted to rationalise everything, make sure we understood what was going on with it all and gain some confidence that we had a sound basis for the future.
Colin effectively investigated all the policy documentation that we had and came up with some inspirational thinking, which was very useful. Our overall objective was to maximise money for our retirement, including the potential costs of care in later life. Given all this, he advised us on how we should structure our portfolio and take things forward.
It’s always been really good working with Colin, our adviser. He’s patient, understanding, flexible and overall gives a justified impression of total competence.
Really importantly, he understands that people need time to reflect on the big decisions in their lives. For us it was selling our property in London – at first we thought we’d never do that, but over time our priorities changed and we realised we needed to reassess. It took us several years to make that big decision and, for someone as young as Colin was when we started working together, we felt he had maturity beyond his years in terms of understanding that people need time sometimes to work things out. You normally expect that finance people would be looking for a fast return but Colin has cultivated our relationship for the long term. He’s been a farmer rather than a hunter – which is exactly what we want.
At the end of the day you’ve got to be able to trust your financial adviser, and given my previous experience that wasn’t something I was going to be able to do overnight. For years, I used to check all the correspondence and we constantly asked ‘have you accounted for X and Y?’ to ensure the financial plan really could deliver what we needed. Now I'm much more relaxed, because that trust and reassurance with Colin is very much in place.
Our money has helped us on the path to retirement - now we’re looking at travelling and enjoying the world. While we’re at home we’ve then got the best part of an acre of garden to look after with our house, which keeps us both pretty busy.