ME:    I’m a financial planner. I help people make sense of money.

PC:     Really...You’re a better man than me (smile). I’ve always found it to be confusing and boring. And, to be honest, I’m not sure you can trust anyone these days. So what do you actually do?

ME:    It’s kind of you to ask. Do you really want to know?

PC:     Yes I do.

ME:    Okay. I help people to articulate their goals and objectives, their aspirations if you like, and together we work out a way of making that happen for them. We start with the end in mind and work out what we need to do to get there. It can be very exciting.

PC:     That sounds pretty complicated to me, probably involves a lot of soul searching. I just tend to live from day to day, doing my best and taking my luck where I find it and rolling with the punches. It’s worked alright for us so far. Well...mostly alright. To be honest, and I don’t know why I’m telling you this, we lost a lot of money in the recession, the credit cards got a bit of a bashing and it’s been hard work pulling everything back together. Things are better now though and I know we should be making plans for the future, but where do you start...?

ME:    At the beginning. With the truth. You begin by understanding exactly where you are now – your assets, your income, your expenditure, your debts, your investments and pensions. The truth will set you free. And in my experience, it’s never as bad as you think. It will put you back in control of things.

PC:     Well, yes that does sound a bit better...and I know we should be doing it.

ME:    Would it be helpful to see where you are likely to be in 5, 10, 15 years time? A financial snapshot if you like of your future self. Do you think that would help you to make better decisions today?

PC:     Well, yes it could also be pretty frightening. I thought you guys were just trying to get our money!

ME:    Of course we are! (Smiling). The truth is that a financial plan driven by your goals and objectives will always involve savings and investments. It also involves you getting what you want, by taking control of your future...instead of trusting to luck and good fortune.

PC:     You’re right. We really should be doing something like this.

ME:    Okay. Come and spend an hour with me at my expense and I’ll show you how it works. Have you got your diary handy?