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How Advisers Can Get Involved in Financial Planning Week

The IFP's Sue Whitbread explains the ideas behind Financial Planning Week (November 24 - December 1) and how advisers can get involved

Jon Standring 24 October, 2013 | 2:17PM

Jon Standring: Today I’m going to be talking about Financial Planning Week with Sue Whitbread, the Communications Director for the IFP. Welcome, Sue. 

Sue Whitbread: Thank you, Jon. Good to be here. 

Standring: So, first of all, could you give us an overview of what Financial Planning Week is and its goals?

Whitbread: Yes. Financial Planning Week is a consumer awareness campaign. It's been run by the IFP; now this will be our sixth Financial Planning Week, and it’s really aimed at education, at making sure that consumers have the right ideas, tools and tips to develop their own financial planning, just taking some simple steps to make sure that their finances are as fit as they possibly can be. 

Standring: So this is an IFP initiative. Does that mean it's just for IFP members to get involved with? 

Whitbread: Certainly not, no. We encourage IFP members to get involved as much as they possibly can. They will be doing lots of things during the week. But it's by no means constrained to the IFP and to our members. It's an industry-wide campaign, whereby we would encourage anyone who is operating in the financial services space; any advisors, any product providers, service providers, even agencies like (Edge UK) or Citizens Advice Bureau; previously the debt agencies have all got involved, Credit Action and so on. So the scope of it is that if you are operating within the financial services scope in some way, then you have some expertise which can be used during the week to help consumers to improve the way they create their own financial plans. 

Standring: How can financial advisors get involved in the week? 

Whitbread: There is lots of ways really. They have an open door to potential consumers and clients themselves. So we would strongly encourage them to just perhaps do financial surgeries themselves during the week, open the doors, invite people to come along perhaps for an hour session, and find out a little bit about what financial planning is all about. 

Other than that, if they were able to write blogs or engage with the media, perhaps even talk to their local radio stations, local newspapers, and just try and raise the profile as to what financial planning is all about during the week, the more noise we can make together, then the more impact we're likely to have on people. Let’s face it there has never been a more important time for people to make sure that their finances are on track, because times are hard out there. 

Standring: This year, are there any new angles that you are approaching? 

Whitbread: Mostly, they will be the same angles; it will just be down to good, basic financial planning and I mean planning rather than just what pension should I have or which ISA should I have. We're looking at things like budgeting, have you got well, are your family covered in the event of something unforeseen happening to you. But this year in particular one thing that we're going to be looking at is education. 

For many, many years now, there has been so many campaigns to introduce financial planning into the national curriculum, we're so delighted that from next year it actually will be a part. So secondary school children from next year will actually be taught how to organize their finances and, hopefully, it will help them to run a much more smooth course through life as a result of having that bit of knowledge. So this year we're looking to focus a lot on how people can help youngsters to develop those skills, what resources are available, and to make it a little bit of more fun for them, because let’s face it, it can be a little bit of a dry subject, but it’s so important that it cannot be left to chance. 

Standring: Finally, any investors that are watching this, if it's not Financial Planning Week, how can they access this and when is Financial Planning Week? 

Whitbread: Good question. It takes place from the 24th of November and it runs through to the 1st of December. For private investors, whether they take professional advice or not, it really doesn't matter. There are lots of simple steps that they can take themselves. It's just a matter of recognizing the fact that you've got to take action. With the current access to information online, that is not a difficult thing to do. 

The IFP's website, for example, we have a Wayfinder site for consumers; there are lots of tips and tools on that. We've even got some videos to just try and promote thinking at different stages of life as to some of the areas that perhaps you would want to be considering if you are in that particular lifestyle segment. It sounds terribly technical, doesn't it? 

So other than looking online, there are all sorts of basic things that people can do at any time of the year and look online for some great tips. If you are really looking for some guidance and direction, then I would strongly recommend that people seek the services of a professional advisor who can start them at least on the right track.

Standring: Thank you very much, Sue. 

Whitbread: Thank you.

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

About Author

Jon Standring

Jon Standring  is Adviser Liaison with Morningstar UK.

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