What’s the difference between a financial planner and a financial adviser?

For years, people have used the terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial adviser’ interchangeably. Clients – quite understandably – assume that advisers and planners do the same thing; namely give you advice on what to do with your money.
These days, the gap between what a financial adviser and a financial planner will do for you has never been wider. As you might have guessed from our business name, we’re a firm believer in high-quality financial planning.
So, what’s the difference?

Financial planners are interested in you, not your money

The first important point to note is that ‘financial adviser’ and ‘financial planner’ are terms. Any firm can call themselves a ‘planner’ and so its not the name that’s important, but what they do for you.
If you’ve worked with a financial adviser for a while, you’ll probably recognise this scenario.
It’s likely that you initially approached them with a specific problem you had to solve. Maybe you’d inherited some money, realised you needed to save into a pension, or you wanted to ensure you had the right life or illness protection for your family.

Your adviser probably asked you a few questions, went away and did some research, and came back to you with a recommendation. They sold you a product, you signed on the dotted line, and off you went.
You probably get an annual statement showing how your pension, ISA, or investment is doing. If you’re lucky, you might even get a call to have a chat about how things are going.
Sound familiar? This is how our profession worked for years. It’s how many of my peers continue to work.

We, and other true financial planners, do things a bit differently. It might sound odd, but we’re less interested in your money than we are in you. It’s not so much what you should do with your money, but why.
Rather than asking you about your tolerance for risk, and focusing on the numbers, we’ll ask you some questions you probably didn’t expect from a financial professional:
• What do you want to do with your retirement? What will make it special?
• What’s on your bucket list?
• What does the perfect retirement look like?
• What do you want to do with your life?
• Is there anyone you’d like to help financially (for example, a child)? If so, how?
• What concerns do you have about the future?

Unless we know what your plans, goals, ambitions, and aspirations are, there’s no way we can advise you what to do with your money.

It’s like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. Things just don’t fit together easily without seeing the full picture first.
Showing you in black and white what your future looks like
One of the ways we work with you to help you live the life you want is through cashflow forecasting.
No, come back!
It might sound like something an accountant would do at the tax year end, but cashflow modelling is the engine that powers great financial planning. It enables us to look at your present and future commitments, income, expenditure, and wealth. We can make assumptions about taxes and growth, and even factor in volatile market conditions. We can even model a wide range of possible outcomes.

Once the inputs are complete, the results are there in graphical form for you to see. You will be able to see in black and white that you have enough savings to retire. You can know for sure that you can afford the round the world trip you’ve been planning for years. And, you will have the confidence to gift money to your children, safe in the knowledge that you can maintain your desired lifestyle.
Conversely, if things look a bit tight, or you aren’t demonstrating the right behaviours that will enable you to live the life you want in the future, we can put plans in place to get you to where you need to be.
Financial planning empowers you to make life-changing decisions. It’s not about us telling you what to do. It’s a partnership, where we help you to understand your position and what you need to do (or not do!).
You wouldn’t believe the number of clients that I have sat in front of and showed that, even with some pessimistic assumptions, they could retire right now. They have walked away from our meeting knowing that they have enough to live their dream life for as long as it lasts.

The 3 objectives we want you to meet
I believe it’s our duty to help you meet these three main objectives:
1. To feel secure, safe in the knowledge you will be OK. The only thing we ‘sell’ is ‘peace of mind’.
2. To improve your life through wise money choices.
3. To enjoy your life, have plenty to look forward to, and to understand how this is possible.
We’re here to take your jumbled pile of jigsaw pieces, establish what the picture is supposed to look like, and help you to put them together.

Get in touch

If you’re currently working with an old-school financial adviser, speak to us to find out how financial planning could add huge value.
If you’ve never worked with a planner or adviser before, get in touch to discover the genuinely life-changing benefits of quality financial planning.
Contact us today or call 01372 404417.

Reviews and Ratings for Financial adviser Ray Martin, Kingston-upon-Thames

We’re highly rated

We retain a 5-star rating on VouchedFor, an independent service that enables clients to review their professional advisers. VouchedFor verifies the reviews and testimonials we receive, so you can be confident that they are authentic. 2018, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 Top Rated Adviser, as listed in The Times

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Our former financial adviser was retiring and recommended Ray to us. He alleviated the constant worry of where to best invest our savings without too much risk. We’re very pleased with the results over the last 10 years. He explains things in layman's language, which we appreciate, and gives us the confidence we have made the right choices. What more can people expect?


We had pension policies and investments that needed sorting out ready for retirement. We didn't know what to expect from a financial adviser. We assumed that he would simply advise us where to get the best deals. How wrong we were. Ray took us right back to basics. He made us carefully consider what we really wanted to achieve. He has allowed us to start to really enjoy our retirement.


I needed financial advice about pensions and investments as I approached retirement. My wife was in the same position. Ray Martin worked out a comprehensive plan for putting my pension provision and savings into proper order. He did the same for my wife. He has continued to provide us with advice ever since. Ray is always straightforward, open and proactive.


I was approaching retirement and wanting to look into limiting taxation and Inheritance Tax, as well as providing for my wife. Ray provided sound advice to switch from my current arrangement to a Drawdown Pension and ISA investments. I have now retired and have started seeing the benefits of his advice. The returns on my portfolio have increased beyond expectation. Ray performed extremely well.


I had sold my house and didn't know how to invest the money. Ray invested very wisely and there has been about a 5% increase every year. He listened to our queries, gave answers that we fully understood and followed any requests. He always had time for us, and never rushed us. We would have been financially at a loss without his help.


Ray has been advising my wife and me for about 20 years. He is everything one could hope for in a financial adviser: wonderfully enthusiastic, extremely well informed, completely trustworthy and scrupulously observant of the regulatory requirements. He is able to explain complex matters very clearly, and so far, his advice has always been first class.


I had money to invest and had no idea how to go about investing it and hopefully making a gain. I have three children and wanted advice about inheritance planning. Ray is very patient, very clear when he explains things, he is very interested in me as a person, totally trustworthy and is an excellent listener. We have never been disappointed! He`s been brilliant.


I had just been widowed. Ray sorted out and simplified what was a very complex set of investments into a much less confusing portfolio. I have been extremely happy with everything Ray has advised over the last 12 years. Whilst moving with the times, he has dealt with all aspects of my investments wisely and given me all the guidance and help I have needed.


As the financial director of a company, I was seeking to get advice on how to plan and invest for retirement. Without a doubt, Ray Martin helped me understand and plan how to fund my retirement. Ray has been with me every step of the way. His advice has been invaluable. I retired and achieved my annual income goal. His continued advice is helping me in the next stage of my life.


I needed some advice regarding my late mother’s estate. I had also retired and required advice on how to manage my private pension. Ray was extremely helpful, and his advice was very clear and easy to understand. I came away from our initial meeting feeling very relieved and less stressed. We have just had our first yearly review and I was surprised how well my investments had done.


In the last 10 years, my circumstances have changed with the passage of time. Ray has guided me on how to protect and make my money grow. He listens carefully to my needs and gives clear, concise advice in a professional manner. He and his team are always accessible and patient with my questions and their approach gives me confidence that my finances are securely looked after.


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