It is Monday morning, which means it's Citizens Advice Bureau time. There are two clients, one of whom has £400,000, but still thinks he can use CAB for free.
I pointed him to Personal Finance Society's Find an Adviser website. The other needs advice on the taking of his pension and minimising impact on their state benefits – thank goodness for Ferret software. The afternoon spent being the proud parent at my daughter’s university graduation ceremony. Two down, two to go.
It is 6am, and I am slowly off to work by bike. My wife and I agreed to a cycling holiday through the Outer Hebrides, and I am desperately trying to regain any fitness.
At 7.15am, I am reviewing the file of a couple who arbitrarily decided to retire and sell their business. The meeting using our branded cash flow software to explore the implications lasted several hours and two cakes. I am reassured that the figures mentioned are well within the band we discussed they would need over three years ago. The afternoon is spent learning about new software enhancements and status reports on becoming paperless. The final few last hours are spent replying to emails, reviewing reports and pulling ideas together. At 9pm, I sit down to an evening meal with the dog looking on reproachfully – no walkies tonight.
It is back on the bike, feeling yesterday’s rides and with my wife’s cheery parting remark that Lyrca shouldn’t be worn by middle-aged men. I have an 8am Skype meeting with the marketing, website and video guys discussing the new approach and my distinct reluctance to feature. At 10am, I have a review meeting with one of my longest clients. I spend more time discussing what she had been doing and wanted to do than how her investments performed – my type of meeting. I have an enjoyable afternoon with clients at the Worcestershire versus Derbyshire cricket match, and caught the train to London arriving midnight. Joy of joys, the train has decent free Wi-Fi.
All day I am at Strategic Coach. I am absolutely hooked on the value of an external coach. It is always stimulating and I come away bubbling with too many concepts. I never heard of redundancy expressed as: "I want to give you the gift of freedom" before.
Cycling as dawn breaks is glorious. I am at my desk by 7am and I have three client meetings. The first is with clients and their accountant discussing the impact of transferring a large property portfolio from a partnership to Newco Ltd. The second is helping a widow whose husband died suddenly and the third is creating a statement of investment principles and how EIS and VCT products will fit a client about to receive £9m. Thank goodness for the senior paraplanner preparatory notes. I slowly cycle home mentally and physically exhausted.
Office by 5am tackling my pet hate – business and personal administration. By 2pm I am back home to pack, and then I'm off to Lake Como in Italy for the summer holidays. The family thinks that means lazing around the hotel. I am hoping to entice them to the mountains. We will see.
Stephen Jones is a chartered financial planner of Clear Solutions, based in Derbyshire.