Financial Planning

Craig Gardner promoted to Financial Planner in Madrid

10th March 2020

The Author: Diana Dinu

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Diana has financial sector experience in Insurance and Private Pensions and works within our Client Relationship Manager team.

We are pleased to announce that, after four years with United Advisers Group, Craig has been promoted to Financial Planner. Over the past year, he has joined Director David Cooper in launching our new Lifestyle Financial Planning service which is designed for those living or working internationally.

Craig is now our financial planning specialist in Madrid and is an expert in using Truth, a state-of-the-art cashflow modelling software that allows Craig to deliver highly personalised and fully flexible financial plans for UAG clients who are principally expats.

Combined with his experience as a Client Relationship Manager, this makes Craig the go-to guy for top-level financial planning in Madrid, Geneva and Luxembourg. We caught up with Craig in Madrid to talk about his new role:

So, Craig, what are you most excited about for your new role?

I really like meeting with clients face to face, helping them to improve their financial plans and giving them confidence in their future. It’s always interesting to watch the reactions clients have when they can actually visualise their financial future. Because we can use the Truth software to create scenarios based on real data, the results are far more accurate. For some, it’s a real shock as they genuinely have no idea of what to expect. I’ve witnessed genuine relief and a change of countenance once a client can see how their financial future can be mapped out up until the age of 100. It’s quite a fulfilling experience!

Do you think working as a Client Relationship Manager before becoming a Financial Planner for expats is an advantage?

Yes. It’s helped me learn the details of the business and the ins and outs of financial planning and the investment world. While working as a CRM, I would often be in the background doing a lot of research to find the best way of achieving clients’ goals. This knowledge and understanding are invaluable as a Financial Planner.

You’ve been working as a Financial Planner with expats for a few months now. What has been your best moment so far?

Introducing our existing clients to the software, which is the most advanced of its kind on the market. Using Truth, we can give our clients a financial map of their future based on all income, spending and future changes, and we can build in different scenarios. With this, you can risk check worse case scenarios such as death and disability as well as finding options for a better lifestyle and earlier financial independence. We can help clients to see their financial future clearer than ever before.

financial planning for expats

When it comes to financial planning, how do you think you can most help clients?

By helping them have a greater understanding of the tax and pension systems in their respective countries of residence, so they can take advantage of all the benefits available such as pension allowances and tax benefits. I currently work with clients here in Spain as well as the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg and Geneva.

From personal experience, I know just how important it is to have robust financial plans should the unexpected happen. Last year, I had a serious skiing accident and was unable to work for a period of time. Fortunately, my experience in Lifestyle Financial Planning meant that I was better prepared than most, but it was a valuable reminder to always be prepared for any possible situation!

What do you think the biggest challenge is for the finance industry in 2020?

It’s fair to say that the current coronavirus crisis is causing challenges for the industry, and there are still many uncertainties surrounding Brexit and China–US trade. The challenge for us is to ensure our client’s financial plans are flexible enough to cope with any eventuality. Within the cashflow modelling software, there are ways to check how a crisis like the coronavirus can impact your future financial plans. It’s just one of the many real benefits of the software and Lifestyle Financial Planning in general.

In your role as a Financial Planner for expats, what is the one piece of advice you would share with expats living in Madrid?

Enjoy the great lifestyle Madrid has to offer but don’t neglect to put something aside for a rainy day. We can help you manage the details of your financial planning to make sure you do, so give us a call!