How to get the most out of your financial planning session

If you’ve recently scheduled a financial planning session with Octopus MoneyCoach then you may be wondering what to expect. For many people, speaking to a financial coach is their first ever experience with financial planning so it’s natural to have questions.

Below is a summary of what to expect from your first financial planning session, and some top tips for how to get the most out of it.

What is a financial planning session?

Octopus MoneyCoach is a financial coaching service, which means that we help people identify their big life goals, build a financial plan to show how to achieve those goals, and then take action. Your first financial planning session is a chance to start this process off and although you won’t get a full financial plan in just 30 minutes, you will leave with greater clarity of the big financial goals in your life and an initial assessment of the opportunities you have to improve your future finances.

Here’s how the sessions usually work:

  • About You
    The first 10-15 minutes are for you to let your financial coach know more about your current circumstances and any financial goals you have in mind. If you don’t have any financial goals, your coach will help you come up with some that are important to you.
  • Initial Thoughts
    Once the coach knows a bit about you they will be able to suggest which areas of your finances most need attention, and highlight the opportunities and challenges in front of you. This will be relatively high level since the coach will be giving only their initial thoughts.
  • Next Steps
    Finally, you will work with your coach to agree some next steps. That might mean that the full (paid for) Octopus MoneyCoach service is right for you, but if your circumstances are more complex or you need a specialist then we will help you find the right help for you. 

Everything you discuss with your financial coach will remain completely confidential and will not be shared with your employer (or any other third party).

How to prepare for your session

1. Think about your goals

One of the key things to understand about financial planning is that there is no one ‘right’ way to manage your money. It all depends on what goals you have and what you hope to achieve in the future. That’s why the first part of your financial planning session is all about understanding who you are and what you want to do with your money.

Common goals include things like starting a family or buying your first home, but you can also include more unusual things like going on a round the world trip, or starting a business. When thinking about goals it can be helpful to put yourself in your future self’s shoes: What would you like your life to be like in 10 years? Or 30 years? Who are you with? Where are you? What are you doing?

If you can’t think of any goals in advance – that’s okay! Your financial coach will help you think through the different areas of your life to help you think of some.  However, if you do already have an idea of the big life goals that are important to you, that will really help. If you are married or have a long term partner then you may also want to discuss with them in advance of your financial planning session.

2. Get up to date information about your current finances

As mentioned above, it’s difficult to tell you how your finances could be improved if your coach doesn’t have a good understanding of your current circumstances. You don’t necessarily need exact figures in your bank account, but a rough idea of the following will greatly help your coach to provide accurate guidance:

  • How much you typically save each month (or how much you typically spend).
  • The amount you currently have in savings, investments and pensions.
  • Details of any insurance or protection you have in place.

3. Learn more about the power of a financial plan

A great financial plan can make you hundreds of thousands of pounds better off down the line. If that sounds too good to be true, we recommend checking out the story of Sally and John – a couple who were earning an average London salary when we showed them how they could be nearly £500,000 better off by retirement. This video explains how, and shows how our financial planning software works:

4. What if you’re approaching retirement, or have complex circumstances?

We designed our service to ensure that we can help the vast majority of people, however if you are approaching retirement, or have particularly complex circumstances, then your coach might be limited in how much help they can give.

You can learn more about the limitations of financial coaching here. Please do get in touch with your coach if you’re not sure if financial coaching is suitable for you. They’ll do their best to help as much as they can, and can refer you to a specialist financial adviser if you’d like them to do so.

5. Make sure you know the time and place of your meeting

Finally, our last top tip is to make sure you know the time and place of your financial planning session! Most of our sessions are held via Zoom, but your coach will be more than happy to hold the session over the phone if you would prefer.

If you aren’t sure about the time or place of your financial planning session, or have any other questions, please send us an email at [email protected]