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Phil Wickenden: Start building your centralised retirement proposition now

Phil WickendenSeventy-two per cent of advisers agree there is a need for a more robust and centralised retirement income planning process.

This figures, as a) most advisers will typically be managing money for longer due to both greater numbers selecting drawdown and continued management of money post-death, alongside b) the inevitable increasing complexities of decumulation.

Yet, three years on from the pensions freedoms, only 17 per cent of advisers claim to have done something about it. Interesting. What stops us from doing that which we ought?

A few weeks ago, the Americans had Groundhog Day – a peculiar holiday built on the premise that winter is a bit rubbish, and everyone is ready for some semblance of spring weather.

Roger Bannister did the seemingly impossible by creating a series of possible steps

You may well know the film based on the day; the magic of it (aside from Bill Murray) being the realisation that our motivation is actually up to us and that, if we choose, we can change it and, if we do, stuff around us might change in response. Twee but true.

The problem is that there is always a gap between where we are and where we want to be. Many gaps, in fact, but let’s just imagine one of them. How do we see that gap? Is it fuel? Are we using it like a vacuum to pull us along, to inspire us to find new ways, to dance with the fear and maybe find joy on the other side?
Or is it more like a moat – a forbidding space between us and
the future?

American author Seth Godin said, “start small, start now”. This is much better than, “start big, start later”.

One advantage is that you do not have to start perfect. You can just start, which makes the moat less daunting and infinitely more navigable.

The late athlete Roger Bannister did something many people had said was impossible. He ran a mile in under four minutes. His approach was key: he analysed the run, stride by stride. He knew how long each split needed to be. He had colleagues work in a relay, pacing him on each and every section of the mile.

He did something seemingly impossible, but he did it by creating a series of possible steps.

And in this respect, beginning is underrated. Merely beginning, with inadequate preparation, because you will never be fully prepared. And with imperfect odds of success, because the odds are never perfect. Just begin.

Phil Wickenden is managing director at Cicero Research

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