Since having children and getting older I think more about financial about security – life insurance, income protection, mortgage cover etc. etc. I met Charlotte at a networking event in London many months ago but it wasn’t until recently we came across each other again and realised that we live just a mile away from each other, on the beautiful Essex coast. We got together again recently as I wanted to speak to her about my pension. While I was with her i asked her a few questions so I could share her advice on my blog.
Tell me about your business
I’m a self-employed Independent Financial Adviser at a London based firm called Coloma Wealth Management. Although the office is based in the City, I largely work from home in Westcliff on Sea.
How did you get into it
I completely fell into Financial Planning after I left sixth form. I had decided that University wasn’t for me (if Oxford didn’t want me, NO ONE was getting me!) so I took the first junior level administration job I was offered in the City. I had no idea what Financial Advice was at all. It took me about 6 months to understand the concept of life insurance, I couldn’t get to grips with why anyone would pay a monthly amount of money, and not get anything out of it unless they died! But I feel incredibly lucky to have found the Profession at the beginning of my Career, and now 10 years later, I am incredibly proud to say I am a Financial Adviser. It’s a real shame it’s not discussed more in schools as a career route because it’s a wonderful, fulfilling career.
Who is your typical client
There’s no such thing as a typical client, generally anyone who wants help to take control of their finances. I have young clients in their 30’s who are in the stage of life where they are having young families and starting to earn fairly well, and the flip side is I have elderly clients who are focusing on Inheritance Tax and retirement income. However, I am an ‘At Retirement’ Specialist, helping individuals to transition from full-time work to usually a part-time role for a while, to then fully retired some years later. It’s the most interesting area of financial planning in my opinion, and the decisions people make at this time of their lives have implications for decades, so it’s so important for retiring individuals to take advice. Because of this, I do tend to have a lot of clients between 55-70 years old.
What do you like to do in your spare time
I have a 1 year old Collie-cross dog, Dexter, who I love walking every day.
What are your three top financial tips:
- Don’t bury your head in the sand. If you have large expenses coming up, plan for them. If you have debts, don’t ignore them. It doesn’t sort itself out, you have to actively make a decision to take control.
- Always, always, ALWAYS have an emergency fund. Everyone should have a ‘pot’ of money, which is in cash, doing nothing, but is immediately available if required. There is nothing worse than getting an unexpected bill and not knowing how you’re going to pay for it, and then losing sleep over it. If you are living hand to mouth because you spend it all, every month, you are never going to live a comfortable life, period.
- Make sure your Advisers are Independent. Of course, I am an Independent Adviser, so I am bias. But I also mean in terms of Mortgage Advisers. Don’t just go to Halifax and think they’ll give you the best rate on the market. They can only offer you their own products. Whereas an Independent Mortgage Adviser has access to the whole of the market, and can source the best rate for you, taking into account your individual circumstances. The same principle applies for Financial Advisers.
Charlotte is independent and so deals with the whole of the market, if you want some advice on any type of financial planning you can get in touch with Charlotte via email CW@coloma-wealth.com.