The story behind The Money Plan: why, who, what, how?
My new book The Money Plan recently launched and in its first day it hit No1 bestseller in financial planning paperbacks on Amazon – absolutely amazing, and thank you to everyone who is reading and (I hope!) enjoying it. Here’s the story behind the book.
Why did I write it?
I feel very privileged and grateful that I run a wonderful financial planning practice with some amazing clients. I enjoy meeting and speaking with every single one of them, without any exaggeration.
But I also recognise that the people I work with generally share something in common: they’re wealthy.
There are thousands and thousands of people struggling financially who don’t get to see a financial planner, although they could greatly benefit from one – because either they don’t earn enough money, they don’t have enough money, or they’re intimidated by the thought (a ‘wealth management’ firm implies that you need to think of yourself as wealthy, this isn’t the case, but it can be the perception).
I wanted to give back, do something for the wider population and try to make a difference to as many people as possible.
Who is it for?
It’s easier to say who it’s not for! If you’re financially savvy, you set goals and follow through on them, and you have no unsecured debt, The Money Plan is not for you: you’re already financially well organised and hopefully enjoying that, congratulations.
But if you regularly have more of the month left over than there is of your pay cheque, or if you just don’t seem to get on financially when everyone around you does, or if you’re a bit disorganised, or if when it comes to your finances, they’re a bit of a minefield, then it’s for you. You need to read it!
The simpler your understanding of money, the more disorganised you are, the more you need help, then the more value the book will bring to you.
The reviews on Amazon have blown my mind. When people say things like ‘I’ve read it and can implement it and use it’, then that’s music to my ears. The book isn’t rocket science or opening the lid on secrets, it’s sharing things we do every day in the financial planning world to reach more people.
I was interviewed by Pete Matthew for the podcast Meaningful Money by Pete Matthew, who is also writing a book. He said I read your book, I loved it, it’s just like mine – there are no secrets, it’s the fundamentals, the basics, the things everyone should know. I love that description.
There are five stages in the book:
Step 1 is to set yourself goals and know what you want. If you’re struggling, that might be simply to pay the bills every month without having to worry and lose sleep every night. It can be as simple as that or it could be I want to retire early, travel the world, ensure my kids come out of university without debt. What’s your goal, what’s your outcome?
Step 2 is about getting organised, making sure you know what you owe and what you own, what’s coming in and what’s going out. There are some great and simple systems to use, like the Bank Accounts System or a clever strategy for paying your children’s pocket money and how you can educate them at the same time.
Step 3 is about financial foundations – eight of them in total – from insurance and emergency cash to wills and power of attorneys. These give a structure to building and protecting your wealth, which I call the House of Wealth.
Step 4 is about paying your unsecured debt down rapidly, we give you a strategy and a way of doing that including a spreadsheet to help you do it the most efficient way possible (there are many free resources to help with the steps of the book).
Step 5 introduces investing. It’s interesting because most things out there, magazines and this podcast, start with the investing, which is strange; it’s like a diet magazine, all you see are fit people on there, people who work out and look fantastic and should be on Love Island! But really it should be about the basics, and that’s what I cover here.
The book’s consumable, usable, it’s easy to read and light-hearted. You get the information and you can implement it, and it WILL make a difference.
How does it work?
It’s about creating a new lifestyle. If I relate it back to nutrition and diets, there are hundreds of fad diets out there that tell you to ‘do this and you’ll lose 50 pounds!’ Well you might, but how long can you keep it off for?
Instead, plenty of research shows that a balanced diet, exercise and drinking water over the course of your life will keep you healthy. That’s what The Money Plan is: a plan for life, not for the next six weeks. It’s a way of saying: ‘This is how I structure things. I set myself goals, I’ve got my banking system in place, I’ve got my WAM, my children have a strategy for their pocket money and know what they’re going to get and what they have to do to get it.’
It’s a strategy, a plan, and it’s not something you’ll do and forget, it’s something you’ll keep doing. We don’t get fit by going to the gym once, we get fit by going regularly over time. That’s what this book will do for you and your money.
I think psychology underpins everything we do. We’re emotional beings in a physical body, we’re run by our emotions. A third on the book is on the psychology of money, most of the first third is about this: understanding yourself, your outcome and what you’re trying to achieve. If you get the wiring right, you’ll be fine, and that’s what the first third’s about.
Why listen to me?!
Good question! I’ve been a financial planner now for over 20 years and I’ve done over 10,000 client meetings, solving their problems, crunching their numbers and giving them solutions to achieve what they want to do. I’m a Chartered Financial Planner and wealth manager, I’m a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment and I’m the current Financial Planner of the Year for the UK. I’ve also got a master’s in financial planning.
Put simply, I love it. I started back in 1995 and at the same time I started learning psychology. That was more of a hobby whereas financial planning was my profession, and I discovered just how intertwined those two worlds are. I’m a Master Practitioner of NLP and a trainer, and I’ve also studied many other areas of psychology and personal development as well.
What I’ve done over the years is interwound the psychology of money, belief systems and values into financial planning. This, I believe, helps my clients make better money decisions and enjoy the journey more.
We are currently going into companies and schools doing training on The Money Plan, we have a corporate wellness programme that trains the five-step process and it’s going down very, very well. I’m also working to develop The Money Plan into a home study course so that people can read the book, and when they need more, rather than coming to see me or another financial planner – that was never the intention – they can take control, DIY and go through the process themselves. I hope that will be out later this year.
My next project is turning to the younger generation: The Money Plan for kids. That will be all about raising money-smart children, how to help them with finances, how to instil good financial habits, your approach to pocket money, how to plan for education fees and so on.
So there’s one or two things going on! I love it, I just want to help more people. The feedback from this site, the podcasts I’ve done and on social media has blown me away. It’s made me realise there’s a real need and desire for this information, and that I’m doing something right by sharing it.
If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover, then please just get in touch via the site or social media and I’ll be happy to help.