What is a financial planner?

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Last updated: November 7, 2022

For one of our first posts, we thought we would answer this question: What is a Financial Adviser/Planner, and do I need one?

We'll clear up some common myths about financial advice and give you an intro to our world.

Our adviser, Ben Slater, has explained the key areas a financial planner can help you with...

First of all, of course, you need one, who doesn’t?! There is never a bad time to consider your finances and put things in place for your future.

No, seriously, it’s a question I get asked a lot, usually by my friends or people I meet for the first time. Yet, if you say "I’m a financial adviser/planner", they instantly turn off and I’m not surprised, it can sound a little dull.

I've heard people say that they view a financial adviser as someone untrustworthy who sells products and investments that could (emphasis here on high-risk 'could') make them a lot of money. Who can blame them? We’ve all heard stories of so-called advisers ripping people off, providing bad investment advice, and making a fortune for themselves. You also don’t see many young or female advisers or advisers from ethnic minority backgrounds. That needs to change.

I like to think the 'rip-off' days are long behind us now, and a financial planner is so much more than making you a quick buck. I think the key difference is that, as a planner, I don’t really care about the ‘product’ I’m recommending or even the fund too much. It's not about how quickly it can make you £10,000. Of course, I need to know which product is suitable, and what fund will provide the most appropriate return, but it’s not what my client cares about. Balancing risk, reward and, above all, meeting client objectives is my focus. That's also why I'm an independent adviser and can choose any fund I like for clients to give them a truly bespoke service.

My role is really about meeting clients, finding out where they are now, where they want to be in 5, 10, or 20 years and helping them put a plan in place to achieve that goal. The most common goal is ‘I want to retire at age 60 in 5 years' time’. But, it could be 'I want to take a sabbatical, then buy a house on my return - can I afford it?', or 'I want to gift my kids £5,000 a year for the next 5 years, is that do-able?'.

My job then is to show a client if that’s achievable now. If it is, great, but how can we improve on that? If not, what can we do differently to get there? I follow many great planners around the UK, all of whom own their own small advice firms. The common theme is that they do a combination of financial coaching and planning, and I would agree.

The other theme is that technology in this industry is becoming more and more valuable, and again, I would agree. Tools like cash flow systems allow me to help you visualise your cash income and outgoing, provide reassurance, and show the scenario if you were to spend on that dream holiday, for example.

A financial planner will guide you and coach you in order to help you reach your goal. That could be to gift some money to your children, retire, leave a legacy, or buy a holiday home. No matter what age you are, and what your aim is, I think a financial planner can really help you achieve your goal and hold you accountable.

Sure, we do use all of the ‘clever stuff’ and recommend various investments, products, and tools which help you get to where you want. This all helps to save time, cost, and tax. Yet the most valuable thing we do is provide peace of mind that you can use your money in the way you want to.

If you do have a goal in mind, please get in touch for an initial chat. It may be that you'd like to sell your business and retire, or it may be that someone in your family wants to buy their first house in 2 years time and needs guidance. No matter what it is, we have a service available to help.

This content is for information purposes and should not be treated as financial advice. We would always recommend speaking to a professional before making decisions regarding your wealth.


The value of investments can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Even a long-term investment approach cannot guarantee a profit.