This time last year pensions tax was a major issue for many of our clients. A survey by the Royal Colleges revealed that nearly half of doctors were planning to retire earlier than expected, citing pension concerns as the reason. In fact, in the last decade, the number of doctors in England and Wales taking early retirement has tripled.
And then came the pandemic and we all had a new concern to focus on. We watched proudly as many of our clients worked on the UK’s frontline or returned to help former colleagues, and doctors we have helped for years popped up on news programmes and radio interviews.
Inevitably, chatting with clients now brings renewed discussions of leaving the profession for a life less stressful. A chance to take on new challenges or kick back and relax. Of course, not everyone wants to move on – some have expressed a restored faith in the medical field, buoyed by a year of witnessing less red tape (hospitals can now be built in weeks not years!) and more time for compassion.
Our clients have the support of a financial plan and a robust structure in place so are able to make the choice that is right for them. They have gained or are working towards financial independence and can decide their future based on desire not need. This gives us the greatest pleasure and a sense of a job well done.
One positive to come out of the last year has been the use of technology for the greater good. We have all embraced the video call to stay in touch (note that Zoom is now worth more than ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies) and I welcomed the chance to enjoy longer summer evenings in the garden rather than battling the homeward bound crowds at Victoria Station.
I have been thankful that our IT systems have allowed us to not only survive as a company, but to thrive in this toughest of years. We even took on new members of staff while in lockdown, managing their interviews and training remotely.
Nevertheless, I miss the camaraderie of my colleagues in the office and the chance to sit opposite clients who have become valued friends while chatting through their life’s latest developments. It is often the minor points, mentioned in passing, which can lead to important opportunities.
We are therefore delighted to be reconfiguring our office to allow for the best of both worlds in the year ahead. We will have new safe-working pods and meeting spaces for clients who prefer to meet in person, and a digital technology suite where we can host webinars and online interactions. We intend to embrace the new ‘business as usual’ while retaining our commitment to client service.