Lester is 58 and retired a year and a half ago. He previously worked for a multinational telecoms business in IT and engineering roles. He’s married with two teenage children, one of whom is at university.

About four years ago I started thinking about when and how I could give up my professional role. I wanted to give myself the time to do other things. I had enjoyed my career, but it did not define me.

So, I needed to understand how and when it would be feasible for me to retire. I had built up a sizeable pension ‘pot’ with my employer’s scheme but I knew that I wouldn’t have access to advice once I stopped working.

After asking a few friends, I drew up a shortlist of four financial planners. All the shortlisted provers were smaller players, as I wanted a personal rather than corporate service. After meeting all four, I opted to work with Martin and HDA. In an industry that often seems to pride itself on complex and opaque charging models, I found the HDA offer clear and straightforward to understand.

Martin took the time understand our needs and priorities. He helped me adjust my mindset from prudent accumulation to making my pension work as efficiently as possible to meet our future needs.

I’ve found Martin to be knowledgeable, patient, reflective and responsive.  He is conscientious and diligent in checking I understand the possible downsides as well as upsides of any decisions made. I think Martin is acting in my best interests, and I feel I can trust him. I have confidence that he understands what I want to achieve.

Martin makes himself available to talk things through and I value the personal relationship we have. Being in the same town also makes it very convenient as we’re able to meet Martin face to face, either at his office or at home.

I’m happy with the stewardship of our money, knowing that there’s a good balance of risk and return.  Self-managing my SIPP may have been cheaper, but I definitely see the value in HDA’s advice around my investments.

Now that I have retired, I can spend more time on voluntary work, riding my bike, walking the dog, and looking after my bees. It’s also great to put more time into being a husband and a dad; my work took me away from home a great deal and I’m glad not to do that anymore.

Electing to finish work is not the same as being made redundant or reaching a pension age ‘hard stop’. It’s a big adjustment and you need to put as much effort into planning ‘life after work’ as you do your professional life. Otherwise your retirement won’t give you what you want. HDA has helped me get started in this new chapter of my life.

Lester, Cheltenham

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