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Phil Wickenden: Protection and procrastination

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The following sorry stanza embodies procrastination on a whole new level:

“Hello there, my name’s Phil, 

I rap like a small bear writing a will [diligently]. 

Estate-planning, ninja-whooping IHT, 

Shame I’m not as bizzie [urban affectation] with the RLP.”

These words were penned in response to Wickenden Senior’s short verse sent to me via text message in March, enquiring as to the status of my relevant life policy application. (FYI, the status was very much “on my desk” at the time said rap was spat.) That such creative lengths can be gone to and still yield no immediate results highlights the challenge facing advisers, for most of whom faux rap battles are not an appropriate means of client contact.

Our latest straw poll reveals that over half of advisers spend less than 5 per cent of their time on protection. Is this enough for those purporting to deliver holistic, joined-up plans?

Perhaps, being far more aware of the business cost of time, many are less keen to engage the procrastinati. I can understand the frustration, having been the source of much of it for both my financial adviser and my dad for the past year. But is it acceptable?

That’s up to you.

There is no doubt more can be done. On a practical level, people drastically overestimate the cost of life cover. 

When respondents were asked by the Life Foundation to estimate how much it would cost to insure a healthy 30-year-old for £250,000 with a term of 20 years, not only did most overestimate the cost but they did so by between nearly three and seven times the actual amount.

But for many people, life cover just is not regarded as a priority.

Half the respondents stated they were more concerned about having enough money for retirement than not having enough life insurance, while 26 per cent said they were more concerned over losing money on their investments. 

The irony, of course, is that without proper coverage, the family that is left behind would almost certainly not have enough to retire, and may not even be able to pay the rent or mortgage.

The real, and often unpleasant, challenge is getting clients to associate more strongly with a mental image of the future that is much more vivid, concrete and focused on the specific, detailed problems (and potential problems) that need to be solved.

Phil Wickenden is founder of So Here’s the Plan – phil@soherestheplan.com

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