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Mr Gavurin and the “Anti- Financial Adviser”

Mr Gavurin and the “Anti- Financial Adviser”

I remember when I first met Mr Gavurin in 1999. He told me that he used a high street bank to manage most of his finances (which is typical of most people). He was of the opinion that his bank served him well, but on examining his finances I found them to be in a bit of a mess. As well as his bank, he had various accounts and investments scattered all over the place with different providers.

When I questioned him as to how much he thought he was worth, the figure he gave me, I found out later, was £15,000 short of what he was actually worth. He confessed he was a bit embarrassed that he didn’t quite have a handle on things. I was horrified to hear this – it’s not his job to! I have been advising for years and know it’s our responsibility as advisers to help people keep on top of things. I told him I would help, and for him not to worry about a thing.

About a week after meeting him I had finished sorting out his finances and was looking forward to presenting my solutions to him. The good news was that about half of his portfolio was already in the right place it just needed a little tweaking to maximize his returns. The companies were good, but the returns could be improved on. The other half needed to be overhauled completely as he was losing roughly £120.00 per month in tax alone.

He was a cautious man who wanted to protect his money as best he could but did not have much of a clue as to how to go about it. I was really looking forward to meeting him, because not only did it seem I was going to improve the performance of his investments, I was also going to boost his income whilst protecting his capital.

As you can imagine, Mr Gavurin was very pleased with my positive news and our meeting went very well. From then on I took care of everything for him. I informed his existing advisers that I was now in charge and moved the money around that needed moving around.

With my handling of his financial portfolio, Mr Gavurin’s income increased by £300 per month. The first couple of times we met after this, I would jokingly ask him what he was spending the extra money on “Nothing’’, he would reply, telling me he was old and there was nothing he needed to spend his money on. Nonsense, I thought you are never too old! But who was I to say. After all, I looked to Mr Gavurin for guidance on other things. Being 80 years of age he had a wealth of knowledge and experience that I was able to tap into for free! I came to love our chats.

We would meet fairly regularly, mainly in and around Baker Street. He used to work in the area so he liked to revisit when he could. The meetings would usually last around an hour or so, we would chat while I checked most of the post he had been sent since our last meeting. This wasn’t restricted to financial post, as he sought my opinion on other areas of his life. He would tell me about what he had been up to and seemed to enjoy these brief interludes as much as I did.

These meetings went on for some time before I started trying to encourage him to spend some of the extra money he was making as I thought it was a shame that it just sat there in his bank account. He in turn would always rib me, calling me “the anti-financial adviser”. He would ask, “what type of adviser encourages his clients to spend their money? Surely you should be telling me to invest it’’. But I didn’t then and still don’t to this day. Once you are financially sound, what is the point of having surplus money just sitting there doing nothing? He had made out a Will and would leave a pretty good legacy behind him, so I persisted with my advice of “save some, spend a little”.

One day I saw him strolling along to one of our meetings with a big grin on his face. He was wearing what appeared to be a new suit. “Austin Reed”, he shouted on his approach. He explained to me in great detail how he had got measured for the suit, how much it cost, how he felt when he first tried it on, his anticipation in showing off to me, his “anti- financial adviser”, the new purchase. He told me that he hadn’t had such a spend-up since he finished working many years before. At our meetings afterwards he would always tell of something new he had bought such as a new TV or of trips to Germany – first class of course! His spending habits had changed so much that I began to wonder how he could make £300 per month stretch so far!

Sadly, Mr Gavurin died a few years back having led a full and fruitful life. I would like to think that the boost to his income had made the world of difference to him but in truth, it probably only helped him enjoy his last years more fully. He certainly always had a bigger smile on his face in the latter years of our acquaintanceship.

The good news is that my team and I now have lots of members just like Mr Gavurin, whom we help and see on a regular basis in exactly the same way as I did with him all those years ago. Although I tend not to go to Baker Street any more I still love meeting the occasional valued member in a coffee shop.

Terry Murphy.