About Us

The PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning Academy was founded by Neil Parker who developed the system over many years working with thousands of clients (yes, he counted) to deliver real improvements to their lives.

Neil spent his younger working years in hotels and restaurants and starting out as a pot washer he soon learnt about the value of process and the importance of building systems. Using high tech methods such as sticky tape on the counter, he quickly created an efficient workflow of lanes and sections for everyone to follow and noted that his process outlasted his time in the role.

Moving up into the world of cheffing he soon realised that it was less about cooking and more about preparation, systems and process. A great cook can serve the same delicious meal to a dinner party of 6 in an evening but a great chef can deliver a variety of delicious meals to a restaurant of 60 in an evening.

Accepting that he was a better chef than he was a cook and that the culinary arts were never going to be his long term passion, he requalified as a civil engineer at night college and enjoyed several years in the profession designing and managing projects across the UK.

During his time in Civil Engineering he learnt the importance of best practice. In its simplest form, this is the very human preference for driving over a bridge that has been built to the same design as one that previously stood up, rather than design of one that previously fell down. In engineering, best practice is enshrined in a series of documents called ‘British Standards. This is a technical bible of the proven best way to calculate, specify and test your structure design and is used by all. If a method is improved upon then the best practice document is updated to reflect that.

Moving into the world of Financial Services and becoming a ‘traditional’ financial adviser, he soon realised he was spending more and more time talking about what his clients REALLY wanted out of life and less time talking about products and investments. He then discovered that there was a whole community of like-minded advisers who proudly proclaimed themselves as Lifestyle Financial Planners, led by original visionaries such as Paul Armson, Bob Veres, George Kinder, Maria Nemeth to name but a few.

Using the Lifestyle Financial Planning philosophy he built his IFA firm (Joslin Rhodes) into a regional practice in the North East of England with over 50 staff, a turnover of £5m and over £200m of clients funds under management – illustrating the power of great Lifestyle Financial Planning!

He remained frustrated however that Lifestyle Financial Planning was an intangible concept for many advisers who were inspired about WHY they should be delivering great lifestyle financial planning but struggled to implement the HOW in their own business.

For someone who had come from hospitality and engineering professions that depended on process, systems and enshrining best practice, it seemed strange that such a great system as Lifestyle Financial Planning remained an almost ethereal concept for many who wished to implement it. After all, telling a trainee chef WHY their customers need to eat isn’t as helpful as giving them a recipe. Inspiring a young engineer WHY their bridge needs to stand up isn’t as useful as giving them a document of British Standards with the process, design and structural calculations required.

And so, inspired to design and develop a great, structured and repeatable process for delivering lifestyle financial planning, the PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning process was born. Neil honed and refined over many years in his meeting room with clients until he had a ‘best practice process’ that stood the test of time and was proven to

Remembering how his sticky tape system that he created as a pot washer many years ago had outlasted his time in the role, he set about collating the PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning process into a documented system that could be used by others.

He segmented the Lifestyle Financial Planning process into a series of stages. Each stage was then broken down into modules for each step of the process with video guides and best practice documents in an easy to follow format and PlanHappy was born.

The PlanHappy Lifestyle Financial Planning process was used for many years in his IFA firm to train new entrants to the profession how to deliver fantastic lifestyle financial planning with great success. PlanHappy allowed new advisers to train and learn and be in the meeting room with clients delivering fantastic lifestyle financial planning in as little as three months.

After interest from other IFA firms who were keen to implement the system and with PlanHappy systemising his IFA firms process to an the extent that Neil was no longer needed operationally, PlanHappy was spun out of Joslin Rhodes as a separate company in 2018 with a mission to create tools and software to advisory firms and the Lifestyle Financial Planning Academy was born.

Neil now spends his time working in PlanHappy, designing software and systems for advisory firms. Since the launch of the Lifestyle Financial Planning Academy the PlanHappy team have been hard at work developing a supporting Case Management System within built automation for the Lifestyle Financial Planning reports so look out for that when it launches in Spring 2021!

Neil is available for conference speaking and webinars – please email hello@planhappy.co.uk for info.