Joanne has a talent for explaining complex financial structures in simple terms that are easy for her clients to digest. She says this is vital when creating a financial plan. If clients understand the ‘why’, they’re more likely to stick to the plan for the long term.

Stumbling into the right career

Joanne left school at 18 and accepted her first job in the Bristol office of a financial services product provider. Two years later, she realised she wanted more from her career and decided to apply for a place at Plymouth University to study International Business. After graduating, Joanne was searching for a job and, as she puts it, “stumbled into” a role as an administrator at an independent financial services company.

It wasn’t long before Joanne was looking for a more challenging position. She applied to become a paraplanner – a financial expert who supports financial advisers with research, technical and administrative tasks – within the same firm.

“It was after five years I began to imagine myself switching from a technical to an advisory role,” says Joanne. “I’d already achieved the qualifications required to become a financial adviser, and after five years working behind the scenes, I knew I had the confidence to do it.’

"I like to take my clients on a journey, educating them on all aspects of their plan"

Bringing the technical to the table

Joanne’s skill lies in simplifying the technical aspects of financial planning for her clients. “Thanks to my years as a paraplanner, I understand the inner workings and intricacies of a financial plan and relish applying this knowledge to solve problems for my clients.

“However, there’s no point coming up with a solution if the client doesn’t understand the ‘why’. This is why I like to take my clients on a journey, educating them on all aspects of their plan, so when it comes to making decisions, we both end up with the same answer.”

Giving her clients the floor

“Whether it’s an initial meeting or an annual review, I always give the floor to my clients,” says Joanne, who places real value on letting clients lead the conversation.

“I allow them to voice their concerns, explain any changes in their circumstances, and express their goals for the future. I find this is the best way to truly understand what’s going on in their lives and allows me to focus on what they really need.”

Many of Joanne’s clients are nearing retirement and harbour concerns about pension access and minimising tax liabilities on inheritances.

“Even though they may all be approaching retirement, every person has a completely different set of circumstances,” says Joanne. “Many have built up retirement savings over the years, accumulating multiple plans, each one with differing options. One of the trickiest parts is understanding which plans and solutions are best for them and, at the same time, calculating the complex tax treatment that inevitably comes with pension drawdown.”

“In some instances, pensions may be best left untouched for the time being, instead relying on income from other investments or taking a phased approach to retirement. This could be to retain pension funds for future generations – or to take advantage of inheritance tax relief on assets held within in a pension wrapper.”

Joanne also acknowledges that financial advisers often need to consider their clients’ emotional well-being, as well as financial.

“I recently helped a retired couple manage their finances. The husband had traditionally managed the family’s money but could no longer cope after a recent bout of serious ill health. His wife was understandably daunted by the task of taking on the finances. I was able to sit down with her and take her through their plan to the point at which she could understand it. She’s now able to make informed decisions whilst knowing that I’m always here if she has any questions.”

"Financial planning is a long-term endeavour, so I always make clients aware of the inevitable bumps in the road ahead"

A growing demand for detail

Joanne has seen a rising demand for in-depth financial information from clients – something she sees as a positive – although she regularly finds herself providing a more balanced context for topics they may have read about elsewhere.

“The internet and social media play a huge role in educating people about their finances. By the time they consult a financial adviser, they often have a decent foundation of what they think they want and need.

“This is fantastic, and I’m happy to use my technical expertise to drill right down into the detail. However, the knowledge they accumulate from the internet isn’t always right for them and, in some instances, is completely misleading. Increasingly, part of my role is to correct or debunk some of the wilder claims they’ve encountered online.”

Sticking to the plan in a volatile market

“Younger families have, in particular, been adversely affected by rising mortgage rates, escalating childcare costs, and high inflation. Everything is more expensive than this time last year,” says Joanne, reflecting on a difficult year for both consumer household budgets and financial markets.

“Financial planning is a long-term endeavour, so I always make clients aware of the inevitable bumps in the road ahead, driven by life and markets. Clients shouldn’t look solely at the performance of investments over recent months. Instead, they should focus on the journey – from when they started, where they are now, and where they want to be.

“In most instances, this puts everything back into perspective, the reason why we devised the plan in the first place and why they should stick to it now.”

Away from the office

Joanne is a busy new mum with a two-year-old daughter, who occupies most of her time outside of work. When she does find time for herself, Joanne takes the opportunity to indulge her passion for sport, participating in competitive netball and occasionally running half marathons.

Another of Joanne’s passions is her appetite for self-improvement and life-long learning. Having attained her Chartered Financial Planner qualification just before her daughter was born in 2021, she’s now decided she wants to take on the challenge of a PhD. “If I can find the time!” she adds.

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Joanne Dale is a financial planner who likes to take her clients on a journey by educating them on all aspects of their financial plan, so they know the reason behind each and every decision.

Our South West team

Get in touch

To arrange an appointment with Joanne, or another Amber River financial planner in your area, call 0800 915 0000. Alternatively, use our contact form here.