Dave Lamb of Gibson Lamb explains how undertaking the Financial Wellbeing Certificate equipped him to help a client with cancer handle some of life’s most challenging decisions.
We have always prided ourselves on the fact that we deliver summaries and reports that our clients can actually make head or tail of. From the easy-to-understand annual cash flow plan to the plain English planning report covering the usual topics like IHT, CGT, dividend income and sustainability of drawings. You know, the bits that might seem boring and mundane, but are the important facts about a person’s finances.
More recently, we’ve been looking at ways to incorporate financial wellbeing into everything we do. At Gibson Lamb, we are firmly of the belief that life is to be enjoyed doing whatever it is you love to do. Over recent weeks I have completed the Financial Wellbeing Certificate – an accredited programme designed to grow my understanding and skill and in turn improve the service we provide.
In a recent conversation with a client who had just been diagnosed with cancer, we were going over some financial planning points to ensure the paperwork was in order should the worst-case scenario arise.
Having established that bank accounts were all in joint names, I raised the topic of utility bills. It often seems to be the case in my experience (including my own, I hasten to admit) that these accounts are split between spouses with few of them having both names on file. It turned out that this was the case for my client and that this specific question was one aspect of ‘sorting out my paperwork’ that hadn’t occurred to them.
This wasn’t a subject I’d intended to raise but who can predict what you might end up talking about at such a significant time in someone’s life. But, it’s a good example of one of the five pillars of financial wellbeing – clarity and security for those we leave behind. Just moving the utility accounts into joint names reduced the stress that the client was feeling.
Hopefully the treatment plan will be a success and it will be many years until anyone needs to worry about who is named on the household utility accounts. But by taking time to have the conversation with my client we’ve added something useful to their to-do list for putting everything in order and I know they were pleased that we’d thought to ask the question.