The Value of Guessing

When building a financial plan with my clients, there are many assumptions which underpin it (investment returns, inflation, longevity, income, expenditure – the list goes on). The chances of all these assumptions being accurate year on year in real life is incredibly unlikely and so to suggest the plan is what will happen is not reasonable (life is anything but a straight line in my experience).

You might be thinking what is the point of the plan then?

Well, the power in Financial Planning is in the process of planning and not the plan itself. Given the sheer number of assumptions we are making these are really guesses about the future. Yes, they are educated guesses but guesses nonetheless. What is important, though, is the guesses are the best we can make with the information we have at the time. As we move forward in time we receive new information and incorporate this into the plan – this is where the value lies, keeping on course for whatever destination we have set (retiring at 60, etc).

The planning process helps us to think about what we want to achieve, where do we want to go, what do we want to be? The human mind is a great tool for solving problem when it is aware there is a problem to solve (and for me, the best way is to forget about the issue and then the answer comes at some point – often when walking or driving, inspiration then arrives from nowhere). When our minds are “tuned in” to something our awareness increases. A good example is when you are looking at a new model of car and suddenly see this everywhere, these cars were always there but unless we think about them, we do not see them. Therefore, thinking about what we want from our lives increases the chances of having fresh ideas about this.

We are therefore committed to a process of continually guessing and not the guesses themselves. This is why a financial plan is not a one-time event and the plan is never “finished”.

A good metaphor is driving at night in the fog. You might not be able to see very far ahead but with an engine (investments & pensions), a map (the financial plan) and a driver (either you or your planner – you then relax as the passenger!) you can make it to your destination.

Warm Regards

Neil

This article should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any product for sale, it contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily the Firm and does not represent a recommendation of any particular, strategy or investment product. Information contained has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.

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Testimonials
Mortgage Services / Paul - Bristol
Through this whole process it's been David and team, that have been the only ones on the ball and working efficiently to answer my questions and deal with my case. When other parties were delaying proceedings or changing things, they were always first to keep in touch and sort it out. Thank you for your service. 
VF - Devon
Lee is easy to talk to and very confident and knowledgeable which makes you feel at ease.  He explains things in a way which is not condescending, but is precise and easy to understand. I was slightly nervous about re-mortgaging my property in order to raise capital for my daughter but after an unhurried, relaxed meeting with Lee I felt much happier about the whole process. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lee to anyone seeking financial advice and will be returning to him myself for some investment help in the future. What could they have done better?  Nothing, he's already brilliant! Maybe some chocolate biscuits on the desk.
VF - Somerset
I first sought financial advice from Lee about 15 years ago, advice which I stupidly ignored at the time. Lesson learned.. Over the years I have benefitted greatly from Lee's knowledge and experience, along with his skill of ensuring that whether it is in relation to mortgages, insurance, pensions or savings, I consider all the options open to me.  Lee is professional, approachable, hugely experienced and ensures that he he keeps up to date on market developments and fully informed about what products / services are available.
VF - Somerset
I inherited a substantial sum of money and needed some advice as to how to make the most of it.  Simon was very friendly and down to earth, simplifying the monetary jargon so that I could understand exactly what was going on and therefore make an informed decision. Simon was a wonderful advisor, who answered all of my questions (no matter how silly) and made me feel in control of my finances again. He is always available to answer any queries and I would highly recommend him to anyone.
VF - Somerset
Simon is extremely knowledgeable in all areas of financial planning and is always happy to explain things further if his clients are unsure. He is professional in every aspect, from his face-to-face contact to completion of paperwork and I cannot recommend him highly enough. I would have every confidence in placing any of my financial business with him. Simon takes the time to get to know clients and then provides suitable advice. I am very happy to have Simon guiding me through the world of financial issues and would happily recommend him.
Avril, Devon
I am a pensioner and when I first saw Neil I was extremely worried about how to keep my savings safe but also have a good return from my investments.  Neil was very kind and explained everything in detail to me for the best way to go forward with my money. I have now been with him for three years and my portfolio has grown and I feel confident with all the advice he has given and the investments that he has done for me, I know that if I have any worries I can contact him and he will always get back to me immediately, I now feel confident with my investments and all the advice that Neil has given me and I am enjoying my retirement. I am extremely satisfied with everything Neil has done.
Donna Noll
Simon, is so easy to talk with and he ensures you understand completely his suggestions to help you create more wealth! I bought my buy to let property without stress and i can honestly say that was down to Simon's advice, help, support and knowledge. I could not recommend Simon highly enough.
Nick Girone- Maddocks, Gibbins Richards Estate Agents, Wellington
Many thanks to David Blair and all at Blackdown Financial for their inventive and pro-active assistance in a recent tricky transaction. With David Blair the ball is kept FIRMLY in the air, Thank you!
Euan and Jane Barker, Wellington
We have been clients of Blackdown Financial for over 20 years.  During that time we have found them always approachable and willing to take the time to understand our situation, viewpoint on risk and what we were looking to do for short, medium and long term financial planning.  They have then advised us on appropriate decisions and investments.  This advice always appears well considered and accurate, and we have generally followed it on that basis, almost always with good results (so far!). The feedback and ideas presented by Blackdown always have some relevance to our situation.  If we are uncomfortable with some or feel them too risky they have never pushed them hard at us so decisions on which direction/proposals to follow always feel well suited to us. At times some of the advice given by Blackdown is clearly not going to benefit them in the short-medium term which has led us to build a better level of trust in them.   We hope to continue using Blackdown over the next 10-15 years as we continue to plan towards retirement.
Leigh, Taunton
My wife and I were 1st time buyers. David and his colleagues removed a lot of stress and provided much needed experience to the process. He was able to provide insight and advice for all areas of house buying, and we often used him as a sounding board. David was always honest with regards to his fees/commission and also not afraid to dissuade us from ideas that he didn't believe were the best option - although we never felt pressurised or subject to a hard sell. David was able to find mortgage deals that we were not, with better rates, and explain the pros and cons of each option. He was always careful to make sure we understood what he was telling us, without using blinding us with numbers and technical language. David also ensured that we were able to afford the options in the long term, exploring potential changes to income and circumstances that would affect us. When we had submitted the paperwork for the mortgage and subsequent life insurance/income protection, David and his team were invaluable for chasing the other parties, solving issues (of which there were quite a few!) and generally took a large portion of stress away from us. I would thoroughly recommend using David and his company.