When it comes to personal finance, trust is everything!

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When it comes to personal finance, trust is everything!

You don’t get to know people until you spend some time with them. And spending time, discussing their money questions can be extremely revealing. This week, for four days, my 1:1 financial counselling sessions which were conducted in person, face-to-face for 30 minutes per person provided an opportunity to engage, interact and discover. The sessions were over-subscribed and fully attended which means there is a lot of personal demand for the right type of service.

What I have learned over the years is that people are willing to share information if they feel they are not being sold one financial product or another.

Where the session is about the financial wellbeing of the individual attendee, their willingness to engage takes a 180 degree turn for the better.  

This is all part of a financial wellbeing initiative that leading employers have embraced as part of an overall staff wellbeing drive.

When it comes to money, employees often don’t know where to turn. The reputations of the leading banks remain rock-bottom, and trust is a key concern. Despite their best efforts, most people simply don’t trust banks to put their individual wellbeing ahead of the banks own drive for improved profit & loss ratios. This shows up on the most recent brand trust surveys where the main pillar banks remain near the bottom of the pile.

But back to this week.

What I know is that people are prepared to trust. If the key focus is on their financial wellbeing and how they can achieve it, then they will engage and share information.  

Generally, some of the more popular topics include:

  • Pensions
  • Investments
  • Tax
  • Mortgages

More specifically, the following are examples of specific situations attendees seek direction on:  

  • Managing a separation
  • Managing sibling expectations when parents age
  • Understanding Power of Attorney
  • Buying back years for a UK pension
  • And many more!

Every financial counselling session is as unique as the person attending. The framing of the questions can mean there are multiple issues being raised and this needs to be carefully factored into the answers and engagement.

But what is most important is the language used to engage. It MUST be simple. Any temptation to revert to the language of the Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) exams will become a barrier since is it overly reliant on technical terminology. The use of industry terminology and acronyms are a conversation-killer. Some people comment that its use is off-putting and sometimes appears as ‘winging it’.

So, Irish families are prepared to engage when it comes to personal finance questions. It’s just they want to do so with someone they feel they can trust, using language they understand and on their terms.  

Frank Conway is Founder of MoneyWhizz and a Qualified Financial Adviser

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