I first came across Oakworth Financial Planning when I attended a pre-retirement course they were running where I worked as a senior pharmacy manager. I was in my late 50s at the time and had been thinking about retirement, so this gave me the opportunity to look into it.
It was extremely informative. Bill Douglas, who was the company’s director at the time, explained everything about pensions – what you needed to look at and roughly what you would need in terms of a minimum and maximum lump sum. Really, when you think about it, you realise it’s something you know nothing about, other than the fact that you’ve been paying into it for quite a long time!
Oakworth Financial Planning are interested in you as people, not just in your investments. They find out about your situation and advise you accordingly.
The presentation confirmed what I really wanted to know – that because I had the mortgage paid off, I could afford to retire a bit earlier, which made me feel very lucky. Then it was a case of needing to know what to do with my money. I knew it was no good putting it into a bank and wondering what – if anything – would happen to it, but other than that, I had no idea.
The chance for early retirement
Less than a year after I attended the course, I got the chance to apply for a mutually agreed resignation scheme, so I decided to take early retirement. That gave me my pension and lump sum, so I contacted Oakworth Financial Planning.
I was instantly impressed with them. Ricky came to the house to discuss everything – in fact I’ve never been to the office – and he came across as a very gentle, lovely man.
I don’t know that much about these things, so I had lots of questions, but he was never pushy at all. He gave me options and time to think about everything, until I decided for myself what I wanted to do.
He asked how much risk did I want – I wanted a bit, but not too much at the age of 59! He explained that I’d need some money to remain accessible for things like going on holiday, buying a car, or getting jobs in the house done. And he stressed the importance of having enough for a rainy day.
Regular communication is key
Oakworth Financial Planning are a very small firm, which means they’re really attentive. Ricky corresponds regularly with me to let me know what action they’re taking with my investments, what’s doing well and what could do better – unlike in the past when I’ve invested something with a bank and not heard from them for 5 years.
You get the feeling that no matter how much you have, they would give you the same level of service, and that they just want to do their best for you.
They always fit in around you – making appointments at a time to suit you and helping in other areas. For example, before my husband became a client he was concerned about his pension plans having seen disruption in the markets. So Ricky talked to him, looked into it for him, and sent him the relevant information.
It’s great to have someone who gives you this personal approach. With some financial advisers, because they know their job so well, you feel a bit intimidated, but Ricky is just so patient.
Oakworth Financial Planning are interested in you as people, not just in your investments. They find out about your situation and advise accordingly. They’re knowledgeable, very supportive and they explain everything clearly. You never feel rushed, it’s always just a nice exchange – we actually look forward to our meetings!