I needed to change my work-life balance, but you can’t change your work-life balance if you don’t know what you’ve got.
I first met Madeleine via a recommendation from my accountant. I had had a long career in the oil industry initially as an exploration geologist and then progressing to more senior management roles but had reached a point where the long hours, the commute to London and excessive amounts of overseas travel were losing their appeal. Essentially, I needed to change my work-life balance, but you can’t change your work-life balance if you don’t know what you’ve got. When I went to see Madeleine, primarily I wanted to know whether I could take early retirement but at the same time live comfortably and leave some money for my children.
Madeleine’s approach is different to other financial advisers that I’ve consulted over the years. She’s the opposite of the dry, rather dull, old style of financial advice. What Madeleine does differently is she’s interested in you as a person, what your aspirations are, what your attitude to risk is and so on. Her approach is more holistic, by that I mean, she takes an interest in who you are, what is important to you and what you want to achieve, not just your money. I only see her once a year but she always knows what’s happening in my life, how my kids are, what I’m planning. She remembers.
I’ve never been very interested in money for its own sake; obviously, it’s essential if you want to have a comfortable life, a nice home and you want to look after your children, but it has never been something that has driven me. I’ve never found myself worrying too much about it but I was aware that I could get more out of my assets and what Madeleine offered was a more interesting way of going about that process. Madeleine’s company is small but very efficient. She is always light-hearted and upbeat, but she really knows her market. Overall, my track record from her input has been great, and I’m really pleased with the investments she has set up and the trust funds for my four children are all doing well. I have recommended her on to friends and family and am very happy to continue to do so.
Thanks to the work I did with Madeleine, I was able to retire early from full-time work at 62. I then did some non-executive and consulting work for a few more years as it suited me to work like that. It gave me the time and resources to do some long trips abroad, including six weeks in Patagonia, 10 weeks in a camper van in New Zealand, trekking in Corsica, mountain biking in Morocco, all of which allowed me to indulge my passion for the mountains and wilderness. I’m 67 now and fully retired – and still have the resources and energy to travel to remote places.