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TCFP56: A letter from the future?

Hello and welcome to 2023, I hope you have all enjoyed Christmas and New Year.

Over the holidays I was thinking back to the start of 2020, just before the first Covid-19 outbreak. Everything felt settled and ticking along and then everything seemed to change in no time at all.

Workwise it felt like we leapt forward 10 years in 10 months. Inertia evaporated and working practices changed overnight – they had to. And then we discovered we liked the changes.

Here is what I have noticed. I think they all add up to massive productivity gains, doing more with less which is better for all of us:

  1. Instead of the TCFP office, we rent flexible desk space as and when we need it. We have a permanent postal address to appease those that insist on “snail mail”.
  2. 99% of all correspondence is electronic, including signatures.
  3. There are no paper files, everything is held securely in the cloud.
  4. If we end up with a paper document, we scan and shred it immediately. So do you, everyone has a home scanner these days. The printer, like the fax, is being consigned to the dustbin.
  5. We use secure messaging for 99% of our correspondence with you, be that via our portal or WhatsApp.
  6. All we need is a decent internet connection to be able to look after your financial plan. Superfast broadband has become hyperfast for all of us.
  7. The TCFP team work mostly from home, at the times that suit them and their families best. Everything still gets done in a timely fashion, but family life is easier to manage. There is no rushing to do the school run, make dinner, etc. and we can go for a walk / have a pilates class whenever we like. We are more energetic, engaged and enthusiastic as a result. For most white-collar workers, the “working week” no longer exists.
  8. Each of us still goes to a desk somewhere once a week; it is good to have a change of scenery, maybe some peace and quiet or just to see a colleague.
  9. TCFP Zoom each other regularly and have fortnightly team meetings in different places to catch up with each other.
  10. You, our clients, have adapted well too. 95% of all our meetings are via Zoom where we can talk about your financial plans, update your figures, etc. We have all found that really helps us to focus, we are more relaxed in our own environments, the interaction is keener.
  11. It is a more relaxed and informal meeting and all the better for it. And with the internet speeds these days Zoom never misses a beat. Superfast has become hyperfast.
  12. It is rare that we feel it essential to meet face to face.
  13. Other than to socialise that is. We are often out and about meeting you for a coffee (or something stronger), lunch or at one of our events. These have been fun to organise and offer something for everyone from the cerebral to the inane. We have managed to bring together clients with similar interests and broadened their social and business circles. It is great to catch up with you in person without financial plans and investment strategies, etc., being the reason to do so.
  14. Our webinar programmes are now fully fledged with 20 events each year. They cover a range of topics, involve other experts and have great Q&A sessions. They are light and informal and well received by you, your families and your friends and relatives that you have been able to invite along.
  15. Financial planning costs have fallen, we have just renegotiated your product fees and a vicious price war in the investment world means that portfolio costs have nearly halved.
  16. As a result of the changes TCFP made, we have not had to increase your planning fees in line with inflation as we would normally do.

Will all of the above become reality? It all feels eminently realistic to me, if anything I am undercooking it, I think.

Time will tell of course, and January 2023 will be here before any of us realise it. Must crack on, there is plenty to do!



future proofing your finances 

Town Close are expert financial planners. Our goal is the same as yours – to help you do the things that are important to you in the time you have remaining.


  • Stephen Marks says:

    I wonder what business sectors will no longer be with us, or at least very substantially diminished by 2023… airlines? travel? pubs? hotels? high street retail? oil? restaurants? And booming… Internet retail? Pharmacology? Blockchain? Technology? Surveillance? Security? Isolation suits? Chinese government bonds?

    • Hi Steve, it’s take a couple of efforts to reply to your note, tangents being what they are. The most succinct answer I have for you is anything and everything is possible.

      As ever change keeps happening. Forward/backward or better/worse is a matter of personal taste.

      In 1820 saddle soap manufacturers looked like a good investment. They were dead in the water 100 years later.

      The fax has come and gone. Everyone would have liked the look of Kodak 30 years ago.

      A lot of change is incremental, erosion. The “high street” for a place to sell durable goods had it’s death sentence signed 25 years ago. The service sector (banks, travel agents etc.) fled long ago.

      Matt Ridley makes the point that different generations experience rapid change in different areas. His grandfather went from nothing moving quicker than a horse to supersonic. He went from writing letters to emails.

      Technological advances are slowing up, he thinks the massive and rapid change over the next number of years will be biotech / gene stuff.

      As for China vs the US, that’s a one way ticket – all “empires” eat themselves in the end. The dye is cast and the US is waning, as we did before, and other European countries before then and China and India before that.

      The reasons will be the same – getting lardy, lethargic, reduced innovation, becoming more insular, arrogant etc.

      Better than China though is India I think – democracy has a lot going for it. The progress might be lumpier and more erratic but it will be free. There has to be a massive schism in China at some point – totalitarianism and capitalism can’t go together for ever. Democracy has to come, or they blow it.

      Just a few potted thoughts…..

  • Nick Murray says:

    Thought provoking but I wonder why you are being so tardy, Dec 2022 surely? think I’ll have some fun by writing a personal version, it’s always good to reset the Vision when you have achieved one!

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