The majority of people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire do not have a financial plan in place to secure their future.
But, if you want to achieve your retirement goals and life ambitions, you really should start thinking about talking to an independent financial advisor soon.
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What is financial planning and how does it work?
Debbie Mitchell, Non-Executive Director of the Chartered Insurance Institute, is an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) who has worked in financial services in Aberdeen for nearly 40 years.
Recently, she celebrated her 30th birthday at Atholl Scott Financial Services, where she is Managing Director.
When seeking advice on financial matters, few people in Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire are more qualified to tell us what financial planning is than Debbie, who has been appointed First Lady President of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Aberdeen in 2011, its centenary year.
She put it simply: “We secure people’s lives and that can make such a difference. I have clients who have suffered from serious illnesses and who can be financially secure because they have insurance. It’s at the heart of what we do.
“That’s why I love what I do, I can make a difference in people’s lives.
“It’s about financial security – it’s about being able to sleep at night.”
Debbie, who recently won the President’s Award from the Chartered Insurance Institute, explains why financial planning could be the safety net you need, especially given today’s uncertain and volatile climate:
1. We never waste time
It will never be a waste of time (or money) to engage with an independent financial advisor. A voucher will always add value, so it’s never a bad idea.
2. Make a long-term decision for a long-term plan
The temptation in bad times (and we are in bad times) is to make short-term decisions for a long-term plan. A financial advisor will advise you not to. We’ve been here before, and I’ve seen worse than this – 2003 and 2007 were horrible – but if you hang in there and stick to the long-term plan, you’ll come out on top, because that too will pass.
3. Define how to achieve your goals
Having a plan in place and engaging with someone to help you create that plan means you can achieve your goals. If you don’t have a plan, you will fail. That’s what we help. We help you understand what you’re trying to accomplish and how to get there. Whether you want to retire at 50 or 55, we get you to a point where you can.
Do you need to work or do you choose to work?
Good financial planning will allow you to work the way you choose, says Debbie.
Often, at 50 or 55, people don’t really want to stop working, but they want to be able to have that choice. They choose to work because they have all their plans in place and are now able to say “that’s it, I’m done”. It is choosing to work, not needing to work.
“I’ve never had a customer run out of money yet!” added Debbie.
Do I need a financial adviser?
Yes, you probably do. And, when talking to someone about financial matters, it’s important to feel comfortable with who you confide in and ask for advice. Women often find it easier to discuss difficult or complicated financial matters with another woman, and Debbie acknowledges this.
In fact, of the firm’s four financial advisors, THREE of them are women.
Getting a recommendation is also helpful, as well as looking for an experienced team, and at Athol Scott FS they have that in abundance. Not only does Debbie have a career in financial services that spans nearly four decades, she is backed by a talented and experienced team.
She added: “Come talk to us, contact the Athol Scott Financial Services team. I have such a great and fantastic team, from certified financial planners to administrative staff, and I’m very proud of them all.
“We want to make sure you’re comfortable. You need to make sure you get an IFA that you are happy with.
Do you have your financial plan in place? Do you want to retire early and don’t know how? Or do you simply want to insure yourself and protect yourself against any unforeseen events? If so, Atholl Scott Financial Services can help.