While establishing your own business at just 31 might seem a daunting prospect, Charlotte Walters is unfazed by it all – setting out to bring something different to the world of financial advice with a focus very much on making things happen for her clients. With over ten years’ experience behind her, including the last four or five as a financial planner with another St. James’s Place Practice, Charlotte Walters knew that she was ready for the next step.
Under the St. James’s Place Practice, Avail Financial Planning is able to offer personalised financial planning, from investment and retirement planning, to intergenerational financial planning, corporate services, inheritance tax planning – and was the perfect fit for Charlotte as she embarked on her new venture.
“I thought about it a few years ago and it wasn’t the right time,”
“Now I know I’m ready, I’ve got the experience, I’m now a Chartered Associate of the London Institute of Banking & Finance, I’ve got a good client base and I’m good at what I do. But, more importantly, I want to do things my way.
“I care very much about my clients and the people I work with, and I love listening to people’s stories. Most people think you can only go to a financial planner if you’ve got thousands to invest, which is simply not the case. I had a relative who sadly took his own life a number of years ago due to potential money worries. I never want that to happen to anyone else because they think they can’t get advice. If I give them a bit of my time, rather than always wondering what’s in it for me, then I’m happy that I’ve done my job.”
Charlotte chose the name Avail Financial Planning because her intention is to show that her services are available to everyone, whether that’s just as a sounding board at first, to get some straightforward advice, or whether they want help in putting plans in place to set them up for their long-term future.
She was technically self-employed in her previous role which meant she could carry on serving her existing client base as well as building on it, which she is doing by networking to raise her profile and get in front of potential new clients. Her ambition is to grow the company, eventually employing trainees or apprentices so that she can shape a new generation of financial planners who share her personalised approach.
“There’s nothing special about what I do, I’m just someone doing a job, being good at what they do and helping individuals and business owners to achieve their goals,”
“Around 90% of my client base are business owners, but I also work with individuals. With business owners, we sit down together and look at everything from what insurance policies they have in place, their bank accounts, historic pensions from previous jobs etc. Then we talk about their goals and their aspirations before I go away and do some research and come back with a plan that I think will deliver what they want, when they want it.
“With individuals, it’s slightly different. That’s more about facilitating financial plans, so that they can do what they want to do in life. Some want to leave a legacy, to make sure their children are OK; others are making plans for their retirement. They might not be able to afford what they want yet, but we can get everything in place to help make it happen.”
For Avail Financial Planning clients, Charlotte will often spend half a day or so at a client’s premises, so that employees can drop in to discuss their own financial plans. It doesn’t cost the employer anything, and brings Charlotte into contact with people who might not have considered speaking to a financial planner before.
“The client has nothing to lose,”
“If someone benefits from talking to me, that’s great. If I end up getting a fee from that, all well and good, but that’s not why I do it. Of course, I need to make a living, but I’m confident I’m already doing that and if that means I can give some time to help people, then that’s what Avail is all about.
“Too many people think a financial planner is not for them because they don’t have enough money, and that’s simply not the case. We work with anyone, to help them organise their finances and plan for the future.”
Find out more about Avail Financial Planning on 01525 654771 or 07508 810753 or visit www.availfinancialplanning.co.uk
Avail Financial Planning is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products
The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representative