A club I never wanted to join!

By William Offen

This week I joined a new club – well it was new for me! After hundreds of flights over the years I turned my usual habit of arriving at the airport very early into arriving at the last minute – and missed my flight!

After much queuing (something I try to avoid like the plague), visits to several different counters and witnessing much head shaking, I realised I was looking forward to an extra night at Gatwick.

So, I am now a fully paid up member of the ‘embarrassed flying fools club’.

An exclusive membership

Now, apparently this is a very large club – large enough to have its own counter at the airport (although I think purposely undermanned so we have sufficient time to contemplate our stupidity) a club which has some of the most amazing members.

As I waited, I witnessed a young lady that was so late for her flight that if she could have got a new one immediately, by the time she got to where she was going it would have been time to come back, and a guy that couldn’t understand that he wasn’t entitled to a full refund and a new free flight even though the late connecting flight was a different airline, and was prepared to argue the point long enough so that he would miss the next available flight.

From the conversations I overheard (I promise I wasn’t purposely eavesdropping) it does appear that membership is exclusive to people who never do anything wrong, are able to argue completely illogically and have a divine right to special treatment – oh, and are very unlucky!

Apart from feeling that I was involved in one of those airline documentaries that I am sure most of have laughed at, I began to get a feeling of familiarity. I recognised many situations I have been involved in over the years in my work, which included versions of the same conversations, attitudes and demands.

The similarities are caused in so many cases by a lack of one thing – planning! (We can throw in a bit of procrastination for good measure). What’s the old saying? ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’.

Membership can be avoided!

So, “I’ll have another cup of coffee”; “I have plenty of time”; “I’ll check the details when I get there”; “I didn’t know how long it would take to get through security”.

Sounds a lot like, “I’ll start my plan when I get older”; “I didn’t check the details”; “my friend said there is too much risk”; “I’ll let my wife and her friend look after my money”; “I thought the government looked after that”; “I’ll worry about that when I need to”; “I haven’t got time”.

So often we have a problem that could have been avoided by taking the time and making the effort to think something through – i.e. making a good plan. It’s bad enough when bad planning causes us inconvenience and a little extra money, but failing to plan our finances is really serious – this will mean much more than losing a little money and some inconvenience, this can produce real hardship and affect our lives in major ways.

Planning is important therefore to our daily lives if we want to smooth out all the bumps and enjoy peace of mind, but it is vital to our lives in general if we want to enjoy financial well being and long term security.

Even at my somewhat advanced age, I am still surprised at the number of people I meet who believe they don’t have enough money to need a financial plan! In reality, whatever the sums involved, we all need careful planning to make effective use of what we have, indeed, it is often easier to plan with large capital amounts because there is more choice of solutions and therefore more opportunities. There are greater challenges for people with ‘ordinary’ amounts of money to get the best returns, and yet it is these very people that will often try and work without a plan.

There is no doubt, however much we have and whatever the circumstances we are working with, we all need a solid financial plan – one which is designed by a professional who has built sufficient knowledge about you and your needs to advise you correctly and one that will be reviewed regularly.

This facility is not suitable for all expatriates, and we recommend that advice is sought before one makes any commitment. As an Independent Financial Adviser, Blacktower seeks to ensure that our clients receive the advice suitable for their specific circumstances. Please contact us for further details289 355 685

||[email protected]

William Offen is Blacktower Financial Management (International) Country Manager, Portugal