Timeline – The Financial Equivalent of a Well-Fitted Bra
Timeline allows us to give our clients both the support and the confidence they need to make sound decisions about their future. In many ways, very similar to the support and confidence a woman would get from a well-fitted bra!
As a firm, we are strong advocates for the power of true financial planning, and we use two key apps to help deliver financial planning to our clients. One of which is Timeline.
Having started developing our understanding of the software in earnest a little over a year ago, we now use Timeline with nearly all of our new clients. We also place Timeline at the centre of the overwhelming majority of our annual client reviews.
So, what makes Timeline stand out from the crowd?
- The output from Timeline is unique and the perfect accompaniment to the more “traditional”, cash flow tool which we use. While this other tool provides projected numbers alone, Timeline gives our clients an idea of the potential variability in outcomes that they may see in the future, and ultimately, how likely it is that their money will live longer than them.
- The use of both a historic analysis and a dynamic model projection gives clients an ideal counterbalance between relying upon history to make their decisions and a, deliberately, more pessimistic model.
- With continual testing and refinements, we have developed both the format and the language of how we explain Timeline’s output. The result is that once a client has grasped the key elements, they can see the likelihood of success for their plan boils down just one number – something which is easy to comprehend as well as track going forward.
- Once you as a planner or paraplanner have got to grips with the software, it is effortless to create alternative versions of a clients’ plan; allowing them to stress test their plan live during client meetings.
Incorporating the use of Timeline within our financial planning process has provided numerous benefits to us as a firm and, more importantly, to our clients:
- Firstly, our review meetings with clients have come alive! Like many advice firms, we treasure our great longstanding client relationships; however, sometimes reviews with these clients run the risk of becoming somewhat repetitive. Introducing Timeline to these discussions gave a new focus to a now more in-depth and closer conversation.
- Now, more than a year in, we are getting great feedback from clients who, having first reviewed their Timeline plan during the start of 2020, can now measure the progress they have made over the last twelve months against a single metric. This is much simpler and more intuitive to understand than investment performance, while also providing some much needed context to the uncertainty which many felt during 2020.
- For those clients, new and existing, who are mulling over a change of direction in life, for example, early retirement, we have certainly seen a marked increase in clients feeling confident in moving forward with such changes. While you could attribute at least part of this to the bizarre Covid-19 world of lockdowns etc., we know that being able to weigh up the pros and cons of such momentous changes with a simple tool makes an enormous difference in the decision making process.
- We charge a fixed fee for a financial plan for new clients, which incorporates a full cash flow analysis. The outputs from Timeline have allowed us to demonstrate more value to new clients, and, as a result, feel able to charge higher fees for our work.
- Crucially, our client relationships are stronger than ever. Having Timeline in our toolkit really helps us ensure that our clients will not get the same experience from any other adviser, which they will gladly pay higher ongoing fees for in return.
In summary and most importantly, Timeline has helped us to provide our clients with clarity as to what their future may hold, thereby helping them to more effectively plan their journey for the future. This is to my mind a privilege to be a part of and the most important outcome which we, as a profession, can deliver to our clients.
This article was written by our great friend, Timeline user and renowned financial planner Eleanor King from Ian King Financial Planning. You can check them out right here.