Hi, I’m Kim Stephenson

To give you a bit of background, I went into finance straight from school. There weren’t any financial planning exams then, so I did the insurance exams (Chartered Insurance Institute). I moved through different jobs, insurance broker, Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) specialising in professional clients (dentists, accountants, solicitors etc.), the High Net Worth and Private Banking sides of a bank and finally, a fee based IFA.  So I spent about 12 years as a financial consultant.  And by then, the first set of financial planning exams had come out, so I got the highest qualification available at the time (Diploma in Personal Financial Services) in the first sitting of examinations.

But, while I liked solving the client issues, I actually got bored with the money!  Money is always the same, while the people are unique. And money doesn’t get depressed, have retail therapy and spend itself. A coin doesn’t go to Relate because it keeps arguing with its partner about itself. A fiver doesn’t spend itself now and fail to save itself for retirement. People make the decisions, take silly actions, get emotionally burned. People have feelings, cognitions and behaviours and their inappropriate actions, thoughts and emotions are what get them into financial trouble.

And there’s a whole science of human emotions, thoughts and behaviour – which is psychology.

So I did an honours degree in psychology, a Masters in Occupational Psychology and then went through the chartership process. On the way I picked up various other things like a post-grad diploma in computing, lecturing in neuroscience (rather like psychology, but with brain scans that look great on T-shirts) and an MSc dissertation on the effectiveness of occupational stress interventions that was published in the Journal, “Work and Stress”. I also got interested in and now practice and teach, mindfulness.

I’m still a Chartered Psychologist and also registered with the HPC, which is the regulatory body for psychologists who work with the public (i.e. that don’t purely do research, or teach) in the UK.

The stress studies, mindfulness and wellbeing, psychology, neuroscience and finance all seem to mesh together. It’s the way people think, feel and behave that dictates not only whether they have wellbeing or become depressed or have healthy habits or unhealthy ones. They also dictate the decisions they make and the habits they have with their money.  And those in turn dictate whether they have “enough” for a happy, stress free life, or constantly struggle to manage money.

As far as I know, I’m the only person in the world who has experience and professional qualifications in both psychology and finance. It’s as if I was always intended to do the job I do.

I genuinely like helping people to have a better life, to be happier, to manage their money better and to achieve things that really have value for them. I’d like to help you, too.