Financial education is something very close to Adam Piplica’s heart. That’s why he’s doing his bit to help people to make better financial decisions and gain control over their lives
Much has been written about the ‘advice gap’, affecting those who cannot or will not pay for full, regulated financial advice. Whether or not the gap really exists, there is, unquestionably, a ‘knowledge gap’ about money and the advice process. Most people may have got their heads around cash ISAs, but go any more off the beaten track and knowledge about pensions and investments falls precipitately.
My entry into the world of financial services was unusual. I began as a DIY investor and shared what I had learned in the process by writing a blog at MagicalPenny.com. After attending a “Money Blogger” event in America and meeting financial planners, I was inspired to pursue the Financial Planning Diploma. I am now working in a Chartered financial planning firm but I have kept writing online too, sharing what I’ve learned.
Making a difference
Financial education has continued to grow and develop here in the UK, particularly online. Notable contributors include Chartered Financial Planners Pete Matthew of Meaningful Money, Martin Bamford of Informed Choice and Dan Woodruff of Woodruff Financial Planning. Another major contributor in this space is Damien Fahy, a former financial analyst who set up ‘Money to the Masses’ and is having enormous success and impact.
Inspiration from the US
British financial planners should also be looking at what our cousins across the pond are doing to close the ‘knowledge gap’. One American planner by the name of Jeff Rose has developed a website called ‘Good Financial Cents’. I met him at the conference that originally inspired me to pursue financial planning. He holds online seminars to share information on money topics and then allows those who feel the need for more specialist advice to approach him. His practice Alliance Wealth Management has grown considerably because of his “knowledge gap’ endeavours.
If you’re an adviser and reading this, you might be thinking ‘why should we bother educating the public?’ Certainly, financial planners are already very busy doing work for clients who value their contributions and inputs. However, educating a broader public audience is vital for demonstrating the value that planners can bring to those potential future clients who have not yet engaged in the financial planning process. Closing the ‘knowledge gap’ therefore becomes ‘information marketing’ and is clearly working for a growing number of planners, particularly online as it is inexpensive and easily scalable.
And yet, whilst online information might help fill a ‘knowledge gap’, taking action is another hurdle more easily overcome off-line. Face to face free financial planning ‘surgeries’ is one example but I feel there is potential for a more impactful live interaction that is less intimidating than a one-to one meeting. As a solution to this, I have been organising my own consumer event, Money Life LIVE, because one day really can change everything.
Money Life LIVE is a full-day event happening in central York on Saturday 14th January 2017. My aim is for attendees to be introduced to financial planning concepts and gain clarity on their money and their life through talks and workshops with sought-after experts in life planning and financial advice. I’m indebted to speakers such as Chris Budd of Ovation Finance, Financial Life Planner Andrew Hart, and Adviser Victor Sacks who have backed this vision by offering to share their messages of inspiration and information. Full details and tickets are at MoneyLifeLIVE.com. Do spread the word. With the dawn of robo-advice and the proliferation of online finance blogs and forums, it might never have been easier to start investing but, as financial planners know, financial choices, particularly at retirement have never been more complicated. Whether an online or off-line approach appeals most to you, will you join me in working to help fill the knowledge gap? By doing so we can make a real difference to people’s lives and also continue to build the profession of which we are all proud to be a part.
About Adam Piplica
Adam is a Paraplanner at PenLife Associates, Chartered Financial Planners, in York. Originally a quantitative market research analyst, Adam moved into financial planning in 2014 after running his own web publishing business full time for two years. He is a self-taught investor and financial writer and is CII/PFS Diploma qualified in Regulated Financial Planning. When he’s not working or studying for advanced exams, he is a semi-professional singer performing in choral concerts across the UK and abroad.