Saturday, 7 November 2009

I'm looking for a financial advisor

And it's scaring me to death. This is where I have to remember to think positive, which is actually my default mode.

Let's face it, I'm finance phobic.

I should never go near a balance sheet, and as for financial planning, it gives me toe-curl, along with tax preparation.  Here is a picture of my desk.

See how organised I am?  See how much coffee I drink?  See the spreadsheets scattered around?

Here's Sophie helping out.  She's way more excited about this than I am.

But this is serious folks.  It'll take a wizard to squeeze more value out of my tiny little nest-egglet, but there's not much time to make any more mistakes, so a wizard is what I need.

So where to start?  I've never done this.  It feels like I'm staring into an abyss of shame, and the powers that be are sitting in judgement.

Click image for a full sense of the faceless, nameless terror that I feel.

I have a serious case of inferiority.  These guys are real players, man, dealing in millions:  how can I interest them in my little problem?  How can I reveal that I have been so incredibly gauche as to have got this far and have so little boodle?

Well for starters, I think I'll pay by fee, not commission.  Frankly there is not much commission potential in my little pot, and there's something about a fee that get's attention, that levels out the playing field a bit.  A bit more expensive?  Yes, but if it helps to get me that wizard I am looking for, its an affordable luxury.

Second, maybe there is someone out there who actually likes dealing with small amounts, working real magic, I mean like pulling money out of thin air.

I got a personal recommendation to the Co-op Financial Services, which was really good, very reasonable and certainly not snooty or intimidating, and I set up a new pension plan, which was what I needed at the time.  Actually I love the Co-op, and it really is getting its act together in a 21st century kind of way, so I'll probably do a post on it later (really, check this out, and if you have time, this too).

But right now I need someone to hold my hand in an on-going way, to look into my eyes and and help me through this, fairly comprehensively.

I tried the yellow-pages and the web-listings, such as, which was on the Beeb, so it must be OK.  But even though I love the web, I'm not fully with it yet:  it just doesn't seem the right way to get going on the most important relationship of my life.  After all, this is the first time.

Anyway, I got the most useful and comprehensive UK information from the Financial Services Authority, which I suppose is as it should be, while there are tons of financial blogs out there, such as The Digerati Life and  Zen Capitalist.  These have loads to say and good places to start.  Not so well developed in the UK, but the media company Cision put together a list of the top 10.  Perhaps I should just go back to the Co-op and see if they will hold my hand.

But in the end I'll probably do my usual thing, which is to walk into a few offices around here, and see if I like the receptionist.

The graphic is by Winsor McCay, 1930, uploaded to Flickr under Creative Commons by Alan Light 

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