Important Change to Towards Prosperity

Thank you for your support of the Towards Prosperity website and blog which has been much appreciated.

I have decided to change the name of the website from Towards Prosperity to Useful Money Guide and you should use the following link for the website in future

Why have I made the change?

I chose the original name because I believe that most of us would wish to enjoy a prosperous life and in so doing bring prosperity to our loved ones as well.

I qualified this, of course, by stating that I fully appreciate that there is more to living a prosperous life than having enough money, but there are others who can point you in the right direction in terms of your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

I still believe that prosperity, in it’s fullest sense, is something for which most of us aspire. However I have become increasingly aware that for many of my readers who are Christians the word prosperity has developed negative connotations.

This is because of the particular emphasis on what is called “the prosperity gospel” by many large church groups in the United States in particular. Their message seems to imply the need to be rich in monetary terms to somehow prove that you are a real Christian. This is far from a Biblical position and I have decided that I don’t want my website to give the impression that it is in any way promoting this.

The Advice Gap

I trust that you will continue to read my blog and visit from time to time. I will continue to add new information and update the existing information. There has perhaps never been a greater need for honest, knowledgeable and impartial information about money, investing and pensions.

The advice gap is a well-documented phenomenon. According to the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives 2020 survey only 8 per cent of adults took regulated financial advice in the preceding
12 months. In fact 68 per cent of adults did not receive any form of financial planning support in that period frame, despite the broad definition of such support that includes information and guidance, as well as regulated financial advice.

The reasons for this gap are many and will include:

Cost – The cost for a financial advice firm of adding a new client will obviously vary with the complexity of the client’s circumstances. However, according to research carried out in 2019 by NextWealth and the Personal Finance Society (PFS) the average cost to onboard a client is £1,543. The majority of adults are simply not able or willing to cover these kind of costs.

Investable capital – Even if someone is willing to pay the required fees they may not have sufficient investable capital to make paying them sensible. According to a recent survey carried out by VouchedFor of 423 advisers from 263 firms the average initial fee charged by advisers is 2.06%. In order to cover the average cost to onboard someone as a client they would need investable assets of at least £75,000. Many Independent advice firms will only take on new clients who have considerably more investable assets than this, and sometimes up to ten times this amount.

Distrust – Most financial advisers work very hard to provide trustworthy, suitable, client-centred advice, but there is still a strong theme of distrust around the impartiality of advice and the value it provides.

The Starfish Story

This is now a very well known story but worth repeating as the message is so powerful. Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907–1977)

What can hope to do with an advice gap into which millions of adults find themselves? Well nothing really except help one person here and another there.


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