Everyone can benefit from good financial planning. But only a small percentage of UK adults have a financial plan, or a financial planner they can turn to when they need help or guidance.
We want to change that. In our view, we should all have access to a professional planner regardless of our wealth or circumstances.
Why, then, do so few people work with a financial planner?
Well, it’s complicated. But the first thing to understand is that most financial planning in the UK is provided by regulated financial advice firms that charge clients a percentage of their investable assets and include financial planning as part of the service.
The problem is, most advice firms don’t even take clients on until they have at least £100,000 in liquid assets, and that rules out most people of working age.
There are several reasons why people don't have that much to invest. For example, they may not have invested for long enough to have amassed that amount in savings. Some are in an occupational pension scheme so their investments are already being managed for them. Others have their wealth tied up in property or in their own business. Non-UK nationals and those with dual citizenship may have most of their assets overseas.
Another problem is that, for those with very large portfolios, paying a percentage fee to an advice firm can be very expensive. So, for that reason, some people choose to manage their finances on their own.
Second Life Financial Planning was established to serve people in all of the above categories.
We are not a regulated financial advice business. We don’t advise on products, and we don’t manage our clients’ money.
We are a financial planning firm. We help our clients identify the life they want to lead and then devise a plan to make that life a reality.
We empower them to take control of their lives and their money, and then, on an ongoing basis, we provide them with one-to-one coaching and mentoring, and any financial education they might need.
Some, but by no means all, clients require advice about specific financial products, and we strongly recommend that those people speak to a regulated financial advice firm. If you fall into that category, we will refer you to a firm, authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, that shares our evidence-based investment philosophy.
As part of our service, we also refer clients to other trusted professionals with specific expertise, including chartered accountants and lawyers.
But whatever help you need, you will always pay in pounds, not percentages — both the initial plan and any ongoing support you require. And you will not pay any more than you would do if you accessed that expertise directly.
It’s all part of our mission to make good financial planning more accessible and affordable, so that more people can enjoy its life-changing benefits.
The option to pay for a comprehensive financial plan on a one-off basis, and then to pay for ongoing assistance from a financial planner as and when you need it, is an exciting new development for consumers in the UK.
However, Second Life will not be right for everyone. For a start, you need to have the confidence to manage your own investments. You will also need to be sufficiently self-motivated and have a willingness to learn how to take charge of your personal finances.
But if that sounds like you, what are you waiting for? If you don’t yet have a financial plan, let’s work on one together. Alternatively, if you’re about to finish full-time work, or already have done, you’re going to need a retirement plan.
So why not book a consultation?
Remember, life is short. It’s time to stop dreaming of the life you want — and start planning it.
"From start to finish, Steve has provided an outstanding service and experience. From the exploration and development of our life plan detailed and cash flow modelling and financial strategy development, Steve has been great. I would highly recommend the critical value-adding, value-for-money service he provides — transparent fixed fees in exchange for unbiased, expert and actionable advice."
I'm a financial journalist and the founder of the investing and personal finance blog The Evidence-Based Investor.
I am the co-author of two books, How to Fund the Life You Want and, for young adults and new investors, Invest Your Way to Financial Freedom. I have also produced a number of online documentaries on investing and the financial markets, including Investing: The Evidence.
I've written extensively about the lack of transparency in the investing industry, the poor value for money it provides, and its continued reliance on expensive products that have failed consumers for decades.
I founded Second Life as an antidote to those systemic problems. We're a disruptive business with a radically new approach and a mission to change the UK financial services for the better.
Head of Coaching & Mentoring
For most of my career, I headed up investments and pensions for banks and insurance companies. My colleagues spent more time talking about shareholder profits and their annual bonuses than they did their customers' profits and bonuses. I left to change that.
In 2012 I founded the Academy of Life Planning to bring advice-only financial planning to the masses, and my work for Second Life is a continuation of that mission.
I help clients to identify the life they want to lead, put in place a comprehensive plan to ensure they achieve their goals and empower them to manage their own financial assets. The goal is to give them wisdom, security and, most important of all, a sense of confidence and freedom.
I'm a Chartered Financial Planner and Chartered Insurer, and I'm the author of the book Your Money or Your Life. Like Robin, I'm an Ambassador for The Transparency Task Force, which campaigns for a fairer, more transparent investing industry.