Dragonfly operates from Beckenham, just outside of South London. The company started trading in 1984, and I joined in 1988 from Barclays Bank. We operate a boutique financial planning office, operating on the principles of a Family Wealth Office, with a clear service difference: integrating Life Planning techniques into everything we do.
In essence our service is to help clients understand their key goals and objectives, and then to help them arrange their affairs using cashflow planning software before finally implementing Financial Planning. The clients then engage our services on an annual basis to manage their money and affairs ongoing. We have evolved our suite of services and outsource many aspects of work. The team consists of two planners, two para-planners, one administration support and one communications officer. I became a Registered Life Planner in 2007, having started my training with the Kinder Institute in 2006.
Q: How has life planning made changes in your personal and professional life?
Embracing Life Planning as taught by the Kinder Institute has brought about a fundamental shift in both my personal life as well as my business. It has enabled me to align Vision, Goals and Objectives which has consequently brought about clarity and a sense of purpose for me as the business owner, as an advisor to my clientele, as an employer, and most importantly as a husband and father.
Q: What helped you to decide to enroll for your first Kinder Life Planning workshop?
I was intrigued by Georges book the ‘7 Stages of Money Maturity’ and thought that it could be something that would make me stand out from the market place. However as I went through the trainings it soon struck me how I could personally benefit and grow from the experiential training in a way I had never encountered prior.
Q: How does your Life Planning Practice differ from the other Financial Planning Practices in the area?
Firstly our business has clear goals and objectives, which are shared with all the staff. We are far from perfect but we are creating “a prototype to a franchise”–not that we necessarily want to franchise but we wish to create a caring business based upon solid systems and processes. Secondly we seek to enable clients to obtain “freedom” and therefore our relationship is with the client not their money. We price for service rather than sales–a far healthier way to do business and one that demonstrates authenticity, honesty, and trust–-exactly what people are seeking in this current climate.
In reappraising our business model and implementing Life Planning principles, we have re-engineered our business completely to center on creating a “Wow” experience for our clients. This has brought about a sense of fun and excitement with me, my staff, and my clients alike.
Q: Describe a client situation where LP made a difference.
For many years a wealthy second generation business owner would simply look at me blankly when it came to discussing his retirement strategy. His lack of response really frustrated (and annoyed) me. I couldn’t see how I could set an effective investment strategy etc. Not long after attending the Kinder 5-day Advanced Training, it dawned on me that perhaps his emotional reaction to the concept of “retirement” was paralyzing his response out of fear for what was next. I decided to reframe my question at the next review meeting. Instead of asking him “what does your retirement look like?”, I asked him to explain what “freedom” meant to him. His reaction was utterly different and we had a highly productive conversation. He has now retired and is thoroughly living a life fulfilled. I have one happy client who pays me a significant fee on a monthly retainer to help coach him in & through his Financial Life Plan.
Q: What were the most significant challenges you have overcome?
I face problems day to day. Business would not be business without its challenges! For me, KI workshops helped sharpen my focus, vision and clarity around what I wanted in my life, and how my business could serve that effectively. Being mentored through my work with KI has ensured any changes I have brought about are small steps, with careful and delicate changes–much more effective and safe than big bang change!
Q: What personal impact has life planning had for you?
I have more time for family, for me, for health and growth. My business no longer consumes most of me. My fee retainer income is close to meeting all of my business and personal expenses before any ‘projects’ are written. This new found ‘space’ has enabled my creativity to flow, and I am now considering complementary areas to enhance my work.