Within Nicholls Stevens we spend a great deal of time talking to clients about planning for retirement and over the years I have discovered that the one word not to use in these discussions is the word “pension”

If you are anything like me when you say a word to me it immediately conjures up a picture in my head. If you say the word “pension” it conjures up a vision of a very old person sitting by a fire. The picture in my head is conveying a number of ideas, a pension is something I will need when I am very old, a pension is something I will need when I am no longer able to have a social life, a pension is something I will need because I am in some way disabled, this is why I am sitting by my fire.  These are all very negative thoughts.

If you now sit me in front of a financial adviser who suggests that I should save for a pension, how may I feel? , will I really want to take money which I can spend today on consumables which make me feel good and set it aside for a time when I am simply going to sit by the fire and do nothing. I think the financial adviser will be fighting a losing battle.

If you want to persuade a person to change their normal habits you need to show them the result of making the sacrifice. Take for example the person who is overweight, in order to persuade them to change their eating habits and to give up all the sweet food to which they are addicted, you need to show evidence of the slimmer, healthier and more attractive person who will emerge from the diet and exercise regime you propose. As we see daily from advertisements this is possible to do and many people who are dieting are advised to place a photograph of a slim person on the fridge door as a reminder of the goal which has been set.

At Nicholls Stevens we take a similar approach when talking to clients about saving for “later in life”.

Depending on the age of the person to whom we are speaking, we ask the client to describe the person they would want to be at say age 40,50,60,70 and 80. We frequently discover that they do not want to do their current job for ever. Recently a client of mine who has a very interesting and remunerative occupation admitted that he had always wanted to fly planes! We have discovered over the years that clients want to move abroad, take up boat building, run a restaurant, cultivate an amazing garden, there are a myriad of interesting and exciting things which people want to do with their lives and they can achieve these dreams if they have thought about it well in advance and put in place a financial plan.

Our clients have pictures of holiday homes, seascapes, airplanes, yachts and beautiful gardens on their fridge doors to remind them why they have an investment plan for the future.

People need evidence that solutions work. If we go to weight watchers, we will be able to see with our own eyes other members who have lost weight by following the various menu ideas. At Nicholls Stevens we can provide evidence of hundreds of clients who have given up working and are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s and are still thoroughly enjoying this period of life where they are no longer obliged to go to work in order to generate income. It is not a fairy land, it is a place they have arrived at because they put aside income during their working lives to fund these retirement years.