Madeleine showed us that we would be able to live a good life and encouraged us to spend some more money too!
Madeleine was recommended to us by a friend. I was heading towards retirement and I didn’t have a company pension; I had a personal pension and I basically wanted to make sure we could survive on it.
I had a huge volume of paperwork I’d built up over many years and when we went to see Madeleine, she basically took the whole lot and said, “let me take care of that for you”. I came away with just a few sheets of paper and it was great to have passed it on to someone else! But it was more than that… it was someone making us feel they were in control of things. Before that, I was just putting money away but with no real idea of whether I was doing enough or the right things.
The bottom line was we wanted to be able to live our life to the full. Our son was killed in a motorbike accident in 2010 and it makes you realise the important things in your life. It makes you reassess your priorities.
I was a decorator and a handyman, I’d always worked very hard, but after my son died, it made us reassess what was important.
When we first went to see Madeleine, she basically gave us three sheets of paper with a question on each: The first one said, ‘You’ve got all the money in the world, be as outrageous as you want to be… what would you like to do?’ The second one said, ‘You’ve got ten years yet to live, what do you want to do?’ And the third one said, ‘You’ve got three months left to live, what do you want to do?’
We went away and filled them in. The key on all three of them was I wanted to retire as soon as I could and spend more time with my family. All the other things were nice, they were nice-to-haves, holidays and things like that, but not that important by comparison.
I wanted to be able to spend more time helping my daughters as they’d both gone through divorces and had children to care for. I thought, the sooner I retire, the sooner I can build on my relationships with my grandchildren and invest in their lives.
The good news was, Madeleine said, “Well, you can retire now.”
She showed us that we’d be able to live a good life and encouraged us to spend some money too! We’d been wise in our investments, we’d invested in a house and rented it out. But we’d always lived on essentials most of our lives and we enjoyed what we’ve had. So spending money now is a hard habit to get into, to be honest. We’ve never been like that. We went away the other day and stayed in a Travelodge and my daughter said, “where are you going to have breakfast in the morning?” And I said, “we’ve brought some cereal with us! Eating out is for dinner, not breakfast!”
But I have bought myself a boat. That was my luxury. When we had the news from Madeleine that I could retire, my wife said to me, “you haven’t prepared for retirement. You’re going to be following me around at home with nothing to do!” And she asked me what I wanted to do. We’ve always lived near the river and now I love being on the river. The grandchildren love the boat. They come out on it with us and sometimes stay overnight there with us and it’s all good bonding time.
I had always wanted to build a Caterham but it wasn’t very practical. It has no doors and I’m 65… I can’t be sliding in and out of that much longer! But I’m looking at other projects now.
I’m enjoying my life. It’s that old adage… I don’t know how I had time to go to work before I retired!
Madeleine has helped us to help our children out and as they are moving away, we’re now thinking of moving towards the seaside to be near them. I’ve already spoken to Madeleine about it. This could also free up some capital for us to invest.
Madeleine’s given us so much good advice over the years. When I first went to see her, I was thinking about drawdown rather than investing in an annuity… that was the old-fashioned way with pensions. Madeleine helped me understand how it all worked and that drawdown was the better option for us. It means if we don’t spend all our money, our kids will inherit it.
And she’s put all our funds into a wrap so our funds are under one banner and we can see what it’s doing. I’m a risk-taker and my wife likes security so we talk a lot about what level of risk we’re happy to take. One idea Madeleine recently put to us was to put some funds in an ISA and place it in a higher risk fund. She’d talked us through everything before we went ahead and we were happy to make the move. That fund has grown significantly in the last six months since lockdown.
Madeleine is about the same age as my eldest daughter. We get on really well. We have a good relationship, lots of banter! I see her now as a friend. We talk about the things we all want to achieve and Madeleine and I both wanted to do a 100mph zip wire - I’m an adrenaline junkie! Madeleine beat me to it in the end!