Spotlight: Jeremy Deedes, MBA, MPFS, CFP®, FIFP, RLP®

Jeremy Deedes is the owner of Planning for Life Ltd, based in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, UK. He has worked in financial services for most of his life and employs 2 core administrators and 3 paraplanners/researchers on a contract basis.

Q: What would you like to say about how life planning has made changes in your personal and professional life?

I attended the first ever UK Seven Stages workshop in July 2004. This was enough to start me thinking in an entirely new direction, and to realise the weakness of conventional financial planning, which does little to take into account the deep seated emotional issues surrounding money that can do so much damage to a financial plan. The subsequent Lighting the Torch workshop which I attended in Boston in June 2006 had a major impact on both my personal and professional life. From a personal point of view it started the process of helping me to overcome a deep integrity block that I now realise had been holding me back for a number of years. From a professional point of view, life planning has led to a radical and ongoing restructuring of my business. Providing a life planning service to clients has required significant changes to our marketing, processes and services.

Q: What helped you to decide to enroll in your first Kinder Life Planning workshop?

I met the late David Norton, a deeply professional and enthusiastic CFP, who had heard George Kinder speak at an FPA Conference. David persuaded George to deliver a two day course in the UK which attracted my attention. I flicked through George’s book and saw many parallels with my own Catholic, Benedictine background and upbringing, so decided to attend the workshop with just 11 others and never looked back.

Q: How does your Life Planning Practice differ from the other Financial Planning Practices in the area?

Significantly. We market to a specific niche–free-forming entrepreneurs who became entrepreneurs for reasons of freedom and integrity, rather than simple monetary gain. Many find it difficult to achieve that freedom, so life planning fits well with their needs. We charge on a pure fee basis and have developed a range of service standards and fee levels. Ours is a relationship business, in which we help clients plan their lives, finances, investments and tax, whilst farming as much of the product specific stuff out to outside agencies or firms. We have integrated life planning with financial planning through the use of sophisticated financial planning software which we bring in at the obstacles meeting, and use for modeling “what-if” situations, as well as dealing with the emotional side of budgeting.

Q: What are the top 2 actions you have taken to spread the word about your Life Planning practice?

I write occasional articles in the financial press and respond to internet forums. I also present at local, regional and national conferences run by the Institute of Financial Planning in the UK. I am happy to talk to and guide any planner interested in life planning. We are in the process of developing a new website which we hope will serve to promote LP to consumers in the UK. I also run occasional free seminars for clients and consumers. I am also a founder member of Project Eve, a fledgling collaboration between six UK life planning business owners whose goal is to increase public awareness of life planning and the benefits it can bring to consumers.

Q: What were the most significant challenges you have overcome in your practice and how did you overcome them?

Marketing and promoting is still a challenge, which we aim to address through virtual and real networking. We want to make LP widely accessible, but we find that LP can take significant time since for clients the process and the underlying seven stages theory is usually brand new territory. The time involved in educating clients and getting them to adjust to a new mindset is time consuming, and so at the moment LP is a premium service available only to those on the highest service standards. We need to find ways of communicating the concepts widely and cheaply to the public, and this will be a key role for our new website, www.planningforlife.org. We are developing thought leadership, social networking and brand strategies to help raise and maintain our profile and in these days where “zero” is the new, fashionable price to charge, we basing our strategy on the basis that the more you give, the more you get back.

Q: In what ways is your practice more successful since you have added Life Planning?

We have stronger client relationships and a larger, more robust and more certain income stream. We also have more fun as we spend more time in deep conversations with clients and less time dealing with tedious financial products.

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The overarching vision of the Kinder Institute is to bring Life Planning to everyone in the world by increasing the public’s knowledge about and demand for Life Planning, and by training Life Planners and helping them continue to develop their skills and practices.

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