20 April 2023

Spotlight Series - James Stirling, Financial Planner

Talk us through your career to date

I graduated from Heriot Watt University in 2014 with a degree in economics. I spent a large amount of my time there training for the University rowing team. This is what I enjoyed most at University and it taught me a solid routine, something that has served me well throughout my professional career.

After graduating University, I was fortunate enough to land a job at a well-respected Wealth Management firm in Edinburgh. I earned my Diploma in 2016 and I am now a Chartered Financial Planner. I have also worked for an International Financial Adviser providing advice to people all over the world.

I am one of the newer recruits at Carbon, having joined in late 2021.

Tell us about your role and Carbon and why you wanted to work for the business?

I had met a number of the Carbon advisers over the years. I was always impressed with how they conducted themselves and respected them as individuals. I had also had a number of lively discussions with them about the optimum investment process.

These type of discussion drove me to look for a role within an evidence-based financial adviser. I was fortunate enough to interview at Carbon and it was clear it was at the heart of what they did.

Since joining, I have had the great opportunity to join the other advisers in their meetings. This has been a really interesting process to take advice/strengths from the different advisers and personalities.

What is it about your role that excites and inspires you?

As someone who works in a client-facing role, what excites and inspires me the most is the opportunity to help people achieve their financial goals. It's fulfilling to know that I can use my expertise to make a positive impact on their lives.

I also value building long-term relationships with my clients, getting to know them on a personal level, and providing tailored advice that meets their unique needs. Hearing about my clients' successes is a great feeling.

I had recently taken on a new client and they assumed it would be years until they could retire. Turns out they could afford to retire imminently. Just last week, I received a photo of their latest trip to the Seychelles. That feels good.

From your perspective, what are the key financial issues to be aware of over the next 5 years?

The direction of travel so far with the current government is that we are all going to be paying more tax. It is therefore even more important that you are kept up to date with all the products that are available to you in order for your circumstances to be as tax efficient as possible.

Pensions contributions are the typical route to lower your tax bill but you lock the capital away until your retirement. A lesser well known but useful range of products are EIS/VCTs. These are not for everyone as they can carry a higher degree of risk. That said, they can attract income tax relief of 30%, can be free from capital gains tax and VCTs receive tax free dividends.

With the capital gains tax allowance and dividend allowance both reducing, this could be a really interesting option.

What is the most important piece of advice you give to your clients?

The most important piece of advice I can give is to prioritise financial well-being while finding a balance between saving, investing, and enjoying your life. The sooner you start receiving good advice the better. Never underestimate the power of compound interest and time!

What do you love most about working for Carbon?

My colleagues and the clients. It's fantastic to work with such talented and dedicated individuals who are passionate about what they do. We also have a really nice client base. Helping them achieve their financial goals and witnessing their successes is incredibly fulfilling.

What would you like to achieve next in your career with Carbon?

Ultimately, my goal would be to build a successful and fulfilling career with Carbon, one that allows me to make a positive impact on clients' lives while also challenging me to grow and develop as a professional.

I really enjoy coaching. In a previous life, I was a snowboard instructor and so coaching new advisers coming up through the ranks would be extremely rewarding for me.

If you would like to have a chat or a coffee with James to find out more about what he has been up to since joining Carbon please get in touch.

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