A golfer’s dream
29 April 19  /  Case Studies

Introducing Mark Illsley

When faced with a financial dilemma, Mark Illsley initially approached a national financial firm to seek advice. Feeling uncertain that this firm truly had his best interests at heart, Mark began to explore other options and was introduced to Mathews Comfort via a word-of-mouth referral from an existing client.

As independent lifestyle financial planners, we are perfectly positioned to place our clients’ needs and wants at the heart of all that we do. During our first conversation, I explained our holistic approach to financial planning to Mark. Here at Mathews Comfort, we support our clients to achieve the things that are important to them, with the focus being on enhancing clients’ lives rather than solely managing their money.

Mark was looking for expert guidance on whether to transfer a substantial final salary scheme from his employer. During our discussion, Mark and I fully explored the implications of giving up the security of a final salary scheme, which is a major life decision. Would taking this decision better meet Mark’s objectives, and would it enhance his life? Putting money aside, we began to deep-dive into what Mark wanted to achieve in his life, both for himself and his family. Mark shared that his key priorities were family security, the ability to help his children onto the property ladder and some wider lifestyle aspirations - this is where things got really interesting. You see, Mark is an avid golfer and plays to a county standard, but his real dream is to qualify for the Senior Open Championship. Any golfers reading this will know how difficult it is to reduce your handicap when it is already low. In fact, the best way to do this is to put more playing time in, and herein lay the problem - Mark had a time consuming job!

From experience, I began to wonder if Mark was already financially independent and didn’t need to work again, but he just didn’t know it? Could he then be in a position to focus more time on his golf? Mark also dreamed of playing the top 100 golf courses in the UK during his lifetime, which is some feat. These kinds of ambitions get lifestyle financial planners very excited - making the most of available financial resources in order to enhance clients’ lifestyles - and Mark’s ambition was sizeable.

From this deep-dive exploration, we established a clear picture of Mark’s dreams and aspirations, as well as those of his wife Catherine and the wider family. To fund the desired future lifestyle, there were two main options: remain in the final salary or transfer it out into a personal pension with more flexibility.

At Mathews Comfort, we use a number of planning tools to assist with these decisions, which allowed us to map out Mark and Catherine’s current situation. Interestingly, both options allowed Mark to stop working and lead his desired lifestyle. This was great news to Mark, but the options both carried different implications for the capital that would be left to Catherine and their children and Mark and Catherine’s current ability to help their children onto the property ladder at a time that would best suit the family.

We love the saying “Would you rather give with a cold hand or a warm one?” Mark and Catherine were clear that they wanted to be around to see their children becoming more established. With this insight into Mark and Catherine’s priorities, we were able to show Mark and Catherine that by transferring the final salary, they would be in a position to help their children sooner, whilst also leading a purpose-led and fulfilling life and maintaining the ability to pass on more capital to their children when they are no longer around.

Once a decision of this magnitude has been agreed in principle, it’s imperative that we explain and explore the implications of actioning any decision, ensuring that our clients are fully informed and have a whole picture understanding of any eventualities that may occur. We ran through a number of situations with Mark and Catherine to ensure that they were still comfortable with their decision, even if unexpected eventualities were to occur. What would their future look like if the investment returns didn’t meet their expectations? What if Mark were to die prematurely? How much excess do the couple have, and what is their capacity to absorb these situations?

Working in partnership, we explored an extensive list of possible eventualities to ensure that Mark and Catherine fully understood the associated risks of their decision. Knowing Mark and Catherine’s priorities and the things that they want to achieve, we were able to recommend that their objectives would be best met by transferring the final salary scheme. Having explored a number of eventualities, Mark and Catherine felt informed and confident in actioning this decision.

Mark is now able to focus his time and energy on qualifying for the Senior Open Championship and bringing his handicap down. Mark and Catherine are also enjoying the freedom of time, which is enabling them to complete projects around their house and spend more time with their children.

We have taken Mark and Catherine from a place of uncertainty to one where their lifestyle dreams and aspirations have been realised - what would your dream reality look like? If you’ve been inspired by Mark’s experience, get in touch to see how we can help you to achieve the things that are important to you.

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Can I retire early?
10 April 18  /  Case Studies