Raj Shah is founder of Blue Wealth capital and has been shortlisted for Financial Planner of the Year and Investment Adviser of the Year. In his first unLTD article he shares how his inspiring father gave him a ‘real sense of purpose’
In February, my dad passed away suddenly. My world and that of my family changed overnight.
My parents, like many Indians, came to the UK in the 1960s from East Africa with very little. They worked hard, building a profitable business that provided well for our family. Dad was well known in the business and wider community in Hull and in the immediate aftermath of his death, the family took immense comfort from the many stories about his generosity, kindness and real passion for helping others. We often joked about what Dad would do when he retired (if he ever would have retired!) because his business was him, his life, our family’s life. It was Dad’s sense of purpose.
I started my business in 2009 with a small loan from Dad. In 2011 my wife and I had our first child, shortly followed by his brother in 2013. The next few years passed by in a blur (long hours, sleepless nights, soft play centres – you get the picture!) Dad’s sudden death this year jolted me and, as the eldest son and an executor of his will I went into ‘solution-mode’.
After dealing with all the practical matters that need to be dealt with after a death, I have now had time to reflect. I’ve thought about my dad’s purpose and I’ve questioned what my own is. Right now, that is to work hard to provide for my family. But I’ve also realised that my sense of purpose really is to do well by doing good.
Over the last four years, I’ve been helping young adults who have difficulty accessing mainstream education with financial, literacy and general life skills. I was privileged to be invited to Buckingham Palace and to the House of Lords in recognition of this. Last week I, along with 20 other financial planners (out of 30,000), became founding members of The Institute of Financial Wellbeing, the focus of which is improving people’s relationship with, and understanding of, money. I feel happy that I am doing well by doing good.
Many people come to me as a financial planner when they are at a certain point in life, usually where they are starting to think about selling or passing the business on. They don’t want to be sold financial products or investments, they want the peace of mind of knowing where they are heading financially and the security of knowing they can maintain their lifestyle. Once we have shown them that they have ‘enough’ or what they need to do to get to a position when they have ‘enough’, they then have the confidence to be able to do the things that will enable them to live their life to the full. After all, life is not a rehearsal!
For some people, knowing they have ‘enough’ is enough. For others, along with the security of knowing they have ‘enough’, they need help to define and maintain a sense of purpose. We all remember the famous Mars bar tag line ‘work, rest and play’. When work is taken out of the equation i.e. the business is sold, ‘rest and play’ remains but there is a void where ‘work’ once was.
Engaging a high quality financial planner who can work with you to ensure you have ‘enough’ and who understands the importance of maintaining a sense of purpose could be the key to your personal and financial wellbeing well into the next phase of life (note I didn’t use the word retirement!).
Blue Wealth Director and Principal