We spoke with our Independent Financial Adviser (IFA), Joe McGovern, about finding his calling in Financial Services, striking the work-life balance and his passion for helping every age group to meet their financial goals.

How did you get into Financial Services?

“I guess you could say I took the long way round. I started working part-time when I was 16 at a sausage factory. This was a great experience and whilst getting up at 3am taught me discipline, I realised that I wanted different hours.

After speaking to Phil, he asked if I would like to do some ad-hoc scanning and admin jobs to help out and gain some office experience. A vacancy in the administration team became available so I moved into the back office, liaising with clients and taking care of day-to-day paperwork. This was a great learning curve – although I still had no clue about pensions or financial advice!

At 18, I moved away to study Geography at the University of Worcester. Whilst studying, I was still working with MPA on a remote basis on the finance and commissions side. Geography was a brilliant course, which allowed me to visit some amazing places, but I knew that standing in rivers for a living was not where I saw my career!

Having graduated, I wanted to “stand on my own two feet” and was offered an opportunity on the Graduate scheme for a Cheshire based IFA. I spent just shy of three great years there, working on the client services team, supporting advisers with their high-net-worth clients.

When did you join MPA?

“I decided to come back to MPA in 2017 as I was moving back to the Midlands to be closer to my (now) fiancé. Phil had offered me an opportunity to come back and look after a client bank from some recently retired advisers. There was some concern about coming back to MPA as I wanted to try and forge a career independently from my Dad, however, this was an opportunity which was too good to pass up. I agreed and I can say, hand on heart, it’s been the best decision I have ever made. That was five years ago – today, I am advising on a client bank of £50 million.

I enjoy the job, especially getting to meet lots of people and help them reach their individual financial goals. I’m a natural facilitator, so helping people do what they want is really rewarding.”

How do strike the work-life balance, particularly working with Phil?

“I’ve known my fiancée, Zoe since she was 11. Zoe, is also in the industry, working as a Paraplanner for another firm – so it helps that she understands our industry. As you can imagine, our chats over the dinner table are riveting…! We’re getting married in a couple of years and have a baby girl called Lily who has just started nursery. Work and a young family means life is pretty busy at the moment!

I’ve got a good working relationship with Phil, and it’s always professional. We keep our boundaries, and I am treated the same as any other employee. I want to prove myself every day and I think the dynamic between us works well.

It’s hard not to take the job home with you. Money is so personal, and my job is one of trust. I often emotionally connect with my clients, which can stay with me beyond working hours, but I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

What is your area of expertise?

“I generally tend to work with clients in retirement, but I don’t have a particular niche at the moment.

I do really enjoy retirement planning side of the role. Helping clients develop a sustainable income plan and realising their retirement goals is the most rewarding part of the job.”

What is your most memorable case so far in your career, and why?

“I took on a new client who was referred by one of my biggest clients. She came to me in a real financial mess in her head; she wanted to retire very soon and was keen for her husband to cut down his days at their garden business for health reasons.

Together, we assessed what she had, listed her assets, worked on her goals and identified that she had more than enough money to survive on. She retired, he cut his days down and, two and a half years later, they are really happy. She claims she wouldn’t have slept as well at night if I hadn’t helped, which is a really satisfying outcome for me.

Sometimes you need someone to calm you down and put things in place. For many, retirement is a daunting time and people do not want to mess it up – it’s a worry that increases massively when you realise that you need to look after what you already have without a steady, regular income.

My role is to help ‘unmuddy’ the water and help clients to meet their goals.”

For any clients considering financial advice, what would your advice be to them?

“It depends on your goal. Roughly speaking, you need to know where you want to get to. Most people want to have a certain amount of money per year so they can still go on holiday and pay the bills – it’s about setting a definitive goal and an ideal timescale.

Remember that the longer you invest and save, the more likely the pot will be larger at the end but don’t be afraid to ask for professional advice. Advice is not just for the wealthy; good advisers can support anyone.

A big passion shared between me and MPA is financial education. Finance is not taught in school; there’s no understanding of credit cards, investments, pensions and personal saving accounts. I’m passionate about supporting any age group and all levels of wealth. We offer a free ‘Discovery Meeting’ to prospective clients at MPA. There’s no obligation to work with us but it means we can point people in the right direction.

If I can offer three parting pieces of advice, it would be: Have a plan, give yourself more time and talk to a professional.”

For more information about MPA’s range of financial advice services, visit: https://www.mpafm.co.uk/services/.