29-03-2019

A day in my life, by Jillian Thomas

Our Head of Wealth Management, Jillian Thomas, who is also MD of Future Life Wealth Management, tells us about her typical day. The article was first published in the Yorkshire Post.

The alarm goes off at 5.50am every morning and the first thing I do is check the financial headlines and see what has happened overnight. The investment markets in the USA, Australia and Asia will have closed and what has happened there may have some effect on our clients.

I need to be ahead of the financial news so we can advise our clients if there is anything they need to consider, or sometimes we need to be ahead, so we can calm their nerves.

Screaming headlines in the press can worry our clients and we need to know whether to advise them to act or to not over-react. Of course, all the talk at the moment here is of the B word, Brexit; but it is important not to get spooked by all the noise.

Assuming the financial world is not going crazy, I get to the office by about 7.15am and the first thing I do is check our bank balance. I check what payments have come in and what we need to pay out. I am a financial planner, so of course finance is top of my list every day!

I make sure we pay the bills from our suppliers as they come in. It helps other businesses and I think that is vital in the business world. I never understand organisations that make their suppliers wait weeks for payment for goods or services they have already supplied. After all, when you buy a coffee you don’t expect 60 days’ grace before you have to pay! So why do we do that to other businesses?

Once I have checked the cashflow situation, it is about 8am and our head of paraplanning Sam comes in to the office. We usually sit down and have a chat about any particular issues we need to deal with and anything we need to do to help our clients. Sam brings in Elmo the pug and by 8.30am our office manager Keeley is in. She’s just taken on a puppy called Vinnie, which is making an appearance at the office (while still being house trained!). Add to those two Barney who loves to sleep on my desk, and some days I feel more like I am running a kennels rather than a financial planning company.

But the dogs have made a real difference to the atmosphere in the office. It feels so much more relaxed. And if things aren’t going quite right you can just go in hunt of one of them and have a cuddle!

Clients know I am in the office early and stay late, so they do often ring me outside normal office hours just to check things out. And that’s fine, because our job is to be there for them and to look after the money they may have spent years earning.

The morning starts in earnest from about 9am when I usually have a series of meetings and conference calls with clients, providers and partners, like solicitors and accountants. I tend to have the meetings at our offices, because I have everything to hand there; but I can find myself visiting clients all over Yorkshire, the Midlands and further afield.

All the time I need to keep across what is happening in the financial world. For example, I have an app on my phone that shows me what is happening with the stockmarket. You can’t allow yourself to take your eye off the ball; although I do allow myself a break at lunchtime and I definitely encourage my staff to take a break from their desks.

I am also mindful that all of us need to keep up to date with legislative changes and what is going on in the financial world, so we are very keen on CPD and make sure we are always across what trends there are, so we can advise accordingly.

For example, in Quarter 4 of 2018 there was a convergence of five or six issues, that individually would not have been concerning, but we knew that all of them coming together at the same time was a problem. So we were on the front foot advising our clients as soon as we could to minimise any issues. This job does keep you on your toes.

I never leave the office until I have cleared all my emails. I think that is good practice and means I can go home at put my feet up.

Once at home, if it has been a tough day, I must admit I will do a bit of TV watching. I do love a good documentary, but recently I have got into binge watching the ‘Real Housewives’ programmes, whether it’s the US or UK brands. I don’t mind if it’s Beverly Hills or Cheshire, I just love to look at all the dresses, handbags and shoes. And then I wonder if these rich ladies are getting the right financial advice from their advisers. I guess I never really switch off.