What we do…..?

Comprehensive Personal Financial Planning (debt reduction & budgeting, risk cover, retirement planning, investment planning, tax planning, wills, estate planning and financial education.

Financial Planning
Usually this involves the preparation of a financial plan for the client. The plan will identify areas of financial risk and propose solutions to these. We like to refer to this as the “prescription” that is given to the client who is then free to implement however they choose.

A number of our financial planners are registered tax practitioners and are able to offer tax planning advice from a financial and estate planning point of view. In addition to this we have a dedicated in-house tax practitioner who is responsible for the completion and submission of annual and provisional tax returns for our clients. All returns are done via SARS efiling system.

Investment Planning
Most investors think of risk in terms of volatility (the up and down risk). This is too one-dimensional because it excludes so many other measures of risk such as inflation, interest rates, currency, politicas and timing. The aim of an investment strategy should be to match the appropriate funds to the investor’s needs and time horizon.

Investors also need to be reminded that investment takes time and given sufficent time, most investments will produce the expected returns.

What is personal financial planning?

As the word suggests, it is just that: personal. And it is different for everyone, but as a rule, from a financial planner’s point of view, it is about objective (measurable) advice that results in a plan to manage current and achieve future financial needs and goals. It is not about product or sales! These come right at the very end of the process and could be used to flesh out the plan. It is also quite possible that the plan identifies that no products are needed or is about identifying and managing the financial risks that each of us face, including:

• Dying too soon and leaving debt and/or dependents
• Living too long (retirement)
• Disability (for short or extended periods)
• Funds for emergencies
• Debt
• Tax
• Savings and investments (including budgeting and cash-flow)
• Asset allocation

Financial planning needs to be holistic and cannot be done in isolation – all areas of your life are impacted. It is also about simplifying (unnecessarily) complex products that appear to have been designed to avoid anyone understanding the real costs and risks involved.

You should review your financial plan on a regular (annual) basis or each time there is a significant life change (for example – birth, marriage, divorce, purchase of property)

We also believe that almost everyone could do their own financial planning. It’s a bit like fixing the plumbing at home: you either buy the tools and the manual and spend the time and energy doing it (possibly making it worse) or you call the plumber. Consider us the “financial plumbers”.

Why do you need our services?
• We are Independent and run a fee-based practice – this has been shown to be a fairer and more objective model where client and financial planner interests are better aligned.
• We are well qualified and very experienced.
• We strive for integrity in all that we do and believe in absolute transparency and full disclosure
• We like to educate and empower the people with whom we work.
• We “manage people’s emotions around money”. In short, there are 2 emotions that are responsible for most of our behaviour when it comes to money: fear and greed!
• As a result of these emotions we tend to either do too much or too little – it is our role to prevent either of these (we are the “unbalanced external force” that Newton talked about in his laws of motion)
• We provide assistance with navigating financial (and life) transitions.
• We significantly reduce the costs of investments and insurance and as a result add significant long term value.
• We only work with people who value what we do and with whom we enjoy working – not everyone can be a client of ours.
• We simplify your life and remove the “hassle factor” and where possible and appropriate we do all the admin for you (we will always do this with your consent).
• Security and confidentiality – we don’t disclose your information to any third party nor do we accept your funds into our bank account.

What we don’t do:

• …sell products to make a living and as a result, we don’t take the path of least resistance. This means that there will be times when we will make recommendations that differ from your expectations. We are paid by you and not by product suppliers so we have no vested interest to place funds with one provider over another.
• …don’t use unregulated products or complex products (where the odds are stacked against the client by smart people paid by shareholders).
• …speculate or try to time the markets – investing is a long term process (see below for our investment philosophy)
• …we don’t have discretion to make decisions on your behalf – we will always get your written consent
• …we don’t ever accept your investment funds into our bank account – these are always paid directly to the relevant company.