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Does Lagom have a place in financial planning?

9 August 2018

When you create a financial plan for a client, try and remember this Swedish phrase, says Jacqueline Lockie CFPTMChartered FCSI, head of Financial Planning, Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.

I have been reading more about how to get more balance in my life.  Long hours and lots of travelling being away from home and my family, all take its toll me.  I used to do half ironman triathlons, but an accident saw me out of action for three years, until March this year.  So how do all the things we do in lives, work, exercise, family and socially help us become rounded people?  Rounded people, aware of our own biases, as we have read so much about from the FCA, will give us a better balance writing financial plans for clients.

You may have heard of a Swedish saying ‘Lagom’. It can be translated in a few ways such as “just the right amount”, “in moderation”, “in balance”.  Now these phrases don’t all mean the same to me.  I like “just the right amount”.  In essence it is trying to express that we should pause and enjoy the good parts along the way on our journey of life.  A recognition of small achievements, a good job done for your clients, or new knowledge gleaned.  A little of polishing ones’ halo or a pat on the back.  I don’t know about you but I feel we live in a culture of always striving forward.  Forward to retirement, forward to the end of something; a baby, a milestone age or a bigger house.  Whatever it is we are always striving.

The process of financial planning for clients lets them pause and take stock of what’s what in their lives.  This is an important part of life.  So being able to get expert help in recognising the good parts and reset where they want to go, and how to make their money work of them to meet those goals, is a real benefit.  When you create a financial plan for a client, try and remember Lagom.  Give clients the opportunity to pause, appreciate and reset.  But it doesn’t just help clients.  It can help you too.  Now I know that many of you feel being a paraplanner is a hugely enjoyable job; I certainly found that in my time too.  But there are always ways we can improve ourselves both professionally and personally?  When I was a paraplanner at a large firm of accountants, I used to shy away from going into client meetings because I felt a bit of a geek.  I feared accidentally baffling clients with my technical knowledge and in doing so, I’d feel silly and so would they.  You probably know from reading various client reviews and client questionnaires like the recent CFA report that showed clients value the guidance on discussing and setting lifestyle goals.  Giving assurance and peace of mind is all important rather than getting ‘the right’ investment.  Don’t get me wrong, not getting the right investment will see your clients disillusioned, disadvantaged and likely lead to a complaint, but your good technical knowledge is a given as far as clients are concerned.

Pause and reset

So, my challenge to you is to pause and reset.  Think about what is going well for you professionally and personally and recognise your achievements.  Don’t forever be striving for the next thing, the next goal.  Today I paused.  I ran the fastest I’ve run in two years since my accident and when I was younger and much fitter. Plodding about in all this heat has helped my jump in fitness to run faster now it is a little cooler.  It’s not a big thing for you maybe, but to pause and realise that one of the most important things in my life for health and sanity, is coming back together with friends to run; it’s all now happening.  A bit of lagom for me.  How about you?  What can you do to get a little lagom?



Professional Paraplanner