“When I arrived at the IFW, I knew I was in the right place.”

Currently a Partner at the Employee Benefits Collective LLP, Charlie Goodman specialises in financial wellbeing in the workplace. He is a qualified IFA, Financial Coach, and Reward Specialist. Charlie leads the IFW’s Workplace Wellbeing offering.

Charlie was recommended for the IFW Showcase by Hiren Panchal, who says: “Charlie brings a new angle to wellbeing in the corporate world – what he does is quite unique and makes a difference to organisations and their employees on a big scale. He is also my partner in crime in inspiring the London region within IFW.”

What’s your happiest memory?

My happiest memory was the day I got married. We had such a huge party with all our friends, it was a beautifully sunny day, my wife actually turned up for the ceremony, and I got to pick the entire playlist.

What one thing do you wish you’d been told about finance when you were 15?

It’s not about the money. Which I should credit to Catherine Morgan and Jessie J.

What prompted you to join the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing?

My career has followed a trajectory of talking up the benefits of pensions and other financial products in the workplace, to providing financial education in the workplace, for me financial wellbeing was the next step. When I arrived at the first IFW conference I looked around and saw everyone whose opinions I value sitting around me, and I knew I was in the right place.

Why were you drawn to financial wellbeing as an employee wellbeing benefit?

I trained as an IFA providing individual advice to retirees, but the business I worked for asked me to take on the small corporate book they looked after. In the workplace we have access to so many people, most of whom will fall into the advice gap and may not be aware of money mindset coaching or other educational tools.

It quickly became the work I found the most rewarding, particularly when I realised that what amounted to a little guidance could make a massive difference to people’s lives. It’s great to see employers recognise the value of financial wellbeing, particularly during the struggles of lockdown, and I think this is only going to become more important during the turbulent economic times ahead.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about financial wellbeing since joining?

It’s not financial education. You need to help people understand their relationship with money, their mindset, and help them find their own individual goals and values. There were always people in the educational sessions I ran who came in with a closed views or other mental blocks. Maybe they or their parents had a bad experience with pensions, and it didn’t matter how much we tried to teach them – they weren’t going to listen or change their position.

Alternatively, there were the people who thought they were bad at maths and therefore thought they were bad with money, perhaps something to consider as we try to get financial education into schools. Now I’ve trained as money mindset coach and I am on the IFW’s Financial Wellbeing Certificate course, I hope I can find a way to convey this learning into our group workshops.

How has the way you work with clients changed since you joined?

I’m talking a lot more about mindset, strategy, and long-term objectives, and I want to engage more directly with employees throughout the process. I’m looking at working with value aligned independent financial advisers and coaches on supporting employees with the next steps, as well as investigating appropriate products to fill the gaps – provided they share our values. There’s a big employer education piece to come to convey the value of financial wellbeing.

Who or what is your favourite (general) wellbeing guru, podcast or book? Please provide a sentence or two explaining why.

I’m going to cheat slightly here by going with a podcast as there are so many great gurus and books – but there is only one dedicated financial wellbeing podcast for all I’m aware of, and that is The Financial Wellbeing Podcast featuring the IFW’s own Chris Budd and Tom Morris. I’ve been listening to it for a long time and they’ve secured some great guests, so it’s really worth going through the archive.

What are you doing to achieve your own financial wellbeing?

I set up my own business so that I could take back control of my time and work by my values. When setting up it’s hard to get to grips with the time side of things, but I remain focused on my goal which is to spend more time with my friends and family doing the things we love.