Laura and Boleslaw 'Maz' Mazur have been long-standing clients. But it was not until 2012, and a ‘light-bulb moment’ for the First Wealth team and for Laura and Maz, that we unlocked the power of lifestyle financial planning and helped them to realise their transatlantic dreams.
We began working with Laura and Boleslaw “Maz” Mazur in 2005. Laura, a freelance writer, and Maz, a retired university lecturer, were living in North London at the time. As well as running their pensions and ISAs, we also advised them on tax efficiency and costs, providing regular performance reviews along the way and achieving good financial outcomes – a very traditional financial planning relationship.
The ‘light bulb moment’ for First Wealth came in 2012. After a period of soul searching and a desire to make our own business fundamentally better balanced, we introduced an innovative lifestyle planning approach to our clients, helping us to engage with them in a unique and insightful way.
A Fresh Approach To Planning
Laura and Maz were some of the first clients to experience the new approach. We began asking them bigger questions about what they’d like to do with their lives: about where they’d really like to be. The couple were invigorated by this fresh approach and the sense of clarity it inspired, a change Laura described as “an eye-opening exercise”.
With new insight into Laura and Maz’s priorities, we were able to create a mini-business-plan for them. The key to our plans is to liberate precious insights from dull spreadsheets and present them in a way that is readily understood by clients. This helped Laura and Maz to view their future differently, as Laura commented: “When you see everything presented like that, it completely changes your thinking.”
One important thing became clear: if Laura and Maz wanted to have a big adventure or make a ‘now of never’ life decision, they were in a good position to do it.
In 2014, Laura inherited her mother’s ranch house in rural New Hampshire. Although idyllic and an exciting proposition, it needed extensive modernisation. Seriously tempted to try life in a new mellow location – a world away from their London-based home - Laura and Maz faced some serious questions before taking the plunge. Was it wise to sell their London property at this point? Would it be a new start or a wrong turn, far from friends and the UK they knew? And of course, could they afford it?
Our lifestyle planning approach helped them to answer these questions with clarity, and shone a light on the emotional biases that were hampering their decision making:
Wouldn’t their London property gain value much quicker than the property in New Hampshire? (the hot-hand effect)
What if the benefits of a new life were outweighed by missing London and their friends? (loss aversion and status-quo bias)
To help them make such a huge decision with complete confidence, we asked them to find out the actual costs of the work needed as well as the costs of private health insurance (a key concern for Maz). We then modelled a number of scenarios for them and were able to show that even beyond a realistic worst-case scenario of rising medical bills, they would be comfortable financially if they made the move to New Hampshire.
Freedom To Live
The ‘light-bulb moment’ for Laura and Maz came during this process. In Laura’s words: “We chatted over lunch and that was seminal! We said OK… we sold the house in London and there was no turning back.”
In the end they went for it, buoyed by their underlying financial security and the freedom it allows. This process gave them a proper springboard to launch the next exciting stage in their lives, free from nagging doubts about money.
Now, the couple are based in the rural peace of New Hampshire, with an ambitious renovation plan ready to turn the old family house into a bespoke home for the future. And importantly, they are living their dream.
We’re thrilled to have helped inspire their bold life change by giving them long-term financial confidence and a clear picture of just how much they could achieve.
If you’d like to discover how First Wealth could help turn your dreams and ambitions into an enduring reality, simply call us for a chat. Who knows where it might lead?