Jack Tideswell has always been good with money.
While it took a bit of life experience and years of study to understand the theories that underpin investing, he’s always been “pretty responsible” on the fiscal front.
When it comes to the mechanics of cars, however, it’s a different story.
“I’m not a car guy, I don’t know how cars work, yet I rely heavily on them almost every day,” he notes. “Because I don’t understand them, they scare me. My lack of knowledge combined with the industry reputation for overcharging [for service] leads me to panic whenever something goes wrong.”
It took a friend who worked in a mechanic’s shop to rid Tideswell of his fear.
“He shopped around and found a place he wanted to work in and this place was the bee’s knees,” Tideswell says. “They were knowledgeable, they would often assist other garages when jobs were too tough, and they charged a fair rate.
“Knowing I had this kind of help improved my life beyond having a reliable car, it removed a constant source of anxiety.”
It was also the impetus Tideswell needed to become a financial planner.
“I know what it feels like to be scared of something you depend on,” he says. “And that was the peace of mind I wanted to provide people with in relation to their finances.”
Tideswell says many of his clients come to him with scant understanding of the way money works.
“We’re all forced to participate in a financial system that many people don’t understand and that, on the whole, doesn’t interest them,” he says. “Because of this, people are often scared.”
Tideswell set up his own business, MoneyGeeks, four years ago. It’s an online planning business that helps consumers find the right financial products and investments.
“I looked at what research told us was holding the financial advice industry back, from both a supply and demand side,” Tideswell says. “I saw supply issues, such as conflicts of interest in the form of licensing arrangements, related products and insurance commissions.
“On the demand side, I saw two major issues, in that people didn’t think they had enough money to warrant financial advice and people considered financial advice too expensive.”
So Tideswell resolved to create a reputable business with no conflicts of interest that is based on servicing the clients’ needs.
In order to keep his overhead low, Tideswell provides his MoneyGeeks services solely online.
This allows him to offer a fee-based service at a reasonable price.
“I don’t want to give clients a single reason to doubt my advice, related products or insurance commissions, as doubt creates stress and I don’t want that,” he says.
Tideswell spent more than 100 hours developing fact-finding tools that provide him with information about clients’ existing products, along with in-depth understanding of their goals and priorities.
“In return, I provide potential clients with a report that outlines the benefits they are likely to receive from my advice, as well as the cost,” he says. “This allows potential clients to make an informed decision before they commit to the services.
“I specialise in retirement planning; however, many people find my commission-free insurance offer beneficial.”
Since MoneyGeeks was established, business growth has been only through word of mouth among clients; however, Tideswell says he is hoping to form “strategic partnerships with like-minded accounting firms” in the future.
Name of firm: MoneyGeeks (services online only)
Name of licensee (if not self-licensed): MCA Financial Planners
Time in the industry: Nine years
Academic qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in finance
Professional association memberships: Financial Planning Association