Tara Dixon is a Chartered Financial Planner with Shipman Wealth Management (part of the Amber River group). For Tara, helping people make the most of their financial plans, and look after their financial future, is in her DNA.

Journey to financial planning

For Tara, becoming a financial planner was less of a journey and more of a natural progression. As she explains: “My dad had a well-established financial planning business for 40 years, so I was surrounded by the world of financial planning from an early age.

“I grew up in Ealing, and after school I studied Finance at university. Now I’m a Chartered Financial Planner. It was just always something I knew I would end up going into. I started working in the business five years ago, although the Ealing office has been here since I can remember. It’s very much a community financial planning business.”

It was her father Brendan’s relationship with clients that helped Tara discover the ‘soft skills’ that are so important for becoming a trusted financial adviser.

“My dad always really enjoyed the job and, for him, the best part of it was helping people achieve their goals. That has rubbed off on me. I don’t know of many jobs where you get the opportunity to really understand what matters to someone and what their aspirations are for the future. It’s very personal, and it’s a privilege.”

"I'll always be independent. I don't think you can do the best job for a client if you're not"

Independence is a valued status

Tara is passionate about being an independent financial adviser and considers her independent status as a “badge of honour”.

“Some advisers aren’t independent, which means that when they make recommendations to clients, they only have pre-selected options, which may not be the best option for the client. But being independent means I am totally free to choose the most appropriate options purely based on the client, their circumstances, and what’s best for them. I’ll always be independent. I don’t think you can do the best job for a client if you’re not.”

Another way that Tara always aims to do the best job for her clients is by guiding them through the complexities of financial products.

“For me, the most rewarding thing is having a client come in and talk through their situation, and after we go through the planning process, they feel reassured that we’ve put together a plan to get them to where they need to be. I often use drawings and visuals to help explain things to people, and make sure everything is discussed in plain English.

“There’s no cost to the client for their first meeting. And I always say to them that even if we don’t end up working together over the long term, you’ll definitely walk away from the meeting with a few ideas.”

"My job is to reassure clients, remind them that they have a long-term plan in place, and often it’s best to avoid the short-term noise"

Helping clients make sense of challenging times

Tara’s role regularly involves explaining what’s happening in the world of investment markets to her clients – something that many people have found increasingly difficult to make sense of in recent years.

“The investment landscape has changed so much,” she explains, “and it’s been a tough few years for investors. But part of my job is to reassure clients, remind them that they have a long-term plan in place, and often it’s best to avoid the short-term noise and to stay invested in the market. It can be difficult when headlines are negative, but it’s my job to help clients stay focused on the future and the plan we’ve agreed.”

This is where cash flow modelling proves extremely helpful. Tara uses it to show clients how different scenarios will potentially change their outcomes. She explains: “There’s so much we can do now with the data we have. When clients talk to me about the future, I can sit down with them and let them know how much they need to save for retirement each month, or how much life insurance they need, or help them put market volatility into perspective.”

The perfect work-life balance

Tara’s ability to retain perspective has helped her strike a balance in her own life, finding harmony between her professional growth and making time for herself. She explains: “One of the things I love about being an IFA is that there are always new things to learn, whether that includes changes to tax legislation or keeping up with the latest market developments. It keeps you on your toes, so there’s no chance of ever getting bored.”

But away from the workplace, Tara’s free time is usually taken up running with her Cocker Spaniel, Ernie. “I love living in London and being able to go to music gigs and art galleries, but I’m a country girl at heart. So, on the weekend, I’ll often take Ernie out of London for some peace and quiet and fresh air.”

Life Landscaping® from Amber River

Tara Dixon is a financial planner who values her independent status. She’s totally free to select the most appropriate choices for her clients based purely on what’s best for them. “I don’t think you can do the best job for a client if you’re not.”

Our South West team

Get in touch

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