My Financial Planning Strategy

So, I have spent 33 years working in an industry that I love, the Financial Planning industry. In actual fact, Love with a passion.

Yes, there are bad days, but they are few and far between, compared with what we have as far as customers that appreciate what we do, how we work tirelessly to do our best for them. The small comments go a long way to let us know that what we are doing works.

People have often asked what I do for myself; I do the same for all my clients, except my plans started 33 years ago.

Being in a position of knowledge allows you to set yourself goals, knowing exactly what can be achieved if you stick to that plan. So, what did I do for myself?

At the age of just 22, going into Financial Services, I learned extremely quickly that all the people I thought had money didn’t have as much as they should have. It showed me that people didn’t talk about their money because, in most circumstances, they had a substantial amount or didn’t want to let people know, or they had very little and didn’t want people to know.

This secrecy that people have about money is strange; we hide away from the facts, we sometimes pretend to have more than we make people believe. Is this due to pride? Is it due to keeping up with the Joneses? I do not understand why, but I know that many people have very little saved for their future or have very few plans for short-term goals.

With all this knowledge, I set out to make my personal strategy one that would support my wife, my two children and myself, for the short term and the future Retirement years.

Yes, it has been challenging. It has been very hard at times, especially when my wife gave up work and looked after our two young children; my wage was the only income we had and trying to save from that was sometimes impossible.

No matter what happened, I would take a percentage from my income each month and invest it. I did this across several savings vehicles, small at first and then increasing, as I could afford a little more.

My goal was to retire at age 55; that was going well until I hit 42, then the Big D hit me. Having a Divorce at that stage of life throws everything you planned for up in the air. It is a hard enough time emotionally, so how did I come through it? It was hard, I can honestly say that I never planned for this type of Hiccup in my life, and it completely threw me.

Once I settled the divorce, I could start to make plans with what was left, and the money disappeared through the settlement agreement. But, unfortunately, it also took 40% out of my pension, not to mention the house.

I planned to recover and turn things around for the future, knowing that the short term would be challenging to prepare for. I made a list of all the goals I wanted to achieve, then set about making a budget and started the process all over again.

Now 12 years later, my financial planning, retirement and my life are well and truly back on track, albeit extended now to age 60. Thanks to a commitment to save and make a better life for myself and the family.

I have a pension to look forward to, both personal and state benefits. Investments made over the last 30 years and a house to live in mortgage-free until I die.

My story is no different from many of the clients I have looked after through the last 33 years; what makes mine different is that I committed to saving again once the setback had passed.

Making a plan and sticking to it will always present you with options; taking time to sit down with us may prompt you to start your own or decide to review what you have and turn the dream into reality.

Now at the age of 55, my life is on track, not that I ever really left the rails, just a diversion that needed realignment and enforced commitment to prove that I could do this for myself and my children.

Financial Planning has always been a taboo subject, and I think it is a problem of society. However, honesty will allow you to fulfil your goals and ambitions for life, start planning yours now and talk to Corestone, where informed decisions are the best decisions.

Craig Muldoon,
CEO Corestone.


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