Photo by Emma Trotter
On May 2nd this year I got married and it was the fantastic day we hoped for (and everyone told us it would be). Before we got to the big day though, and well hidden behind the confetti, cake and questionable dancing, there was a considerable amount of effort and planning that made sure everything went without a hitch (well, only one hitch!).
Relating this to the trusteeship of a pension scheme seemed like a tenuous link at first, but as I thought about it there were some fundamental truths about getting the big day together that cross over pretty closely.
We used a large spreadsheet for wedding planning rather than 3rd party software but, no matter how you do it, the better and more precise you can be with keeping track of everything, the easier and smoother everything will run. Whether it’s venue prices, florist phone numbers and seating plans, or member records, contributions and rule amendments, quality administration is the key to everything working as it should.
2. Costs & Funding
This is a simple comparison. As with everything in life, be it Wills & Kate’s nuptials or a full buyout, it’s easy when money is no object. You could have the wedding of your dreams sorted in a week if you could throw enough cash at the problem. In reality, the starting position is something big to pay for in the future and (initially) low funding levels. So, as we discovered, setting a realistic contributions (savings) schedule and ensuring we understood the liabilities (exactly how much do fairy lights cost?) allowed us to get to the day without any nasty surprises.
3. Service Providers
These are the very important people who will make everything happen for you and as such it’s crucial to get the right ones, with a proven track record, who you can trust to do the job well. It’s also vital to make sure you keep your lines of communication open with everyone and maintain a good relationship. Whether it’s the caterer or your investment adviser, you are putting a lot of trust into them delivering on the day.
For the most part these people are professionals who are able to take away your stress and make the job look easy. That said, given how much you have invested in their performance, keeping a close eye on them and asking the right questions ensures that if things start to go wrong you can solve the problem before it gets out of hand.
When you are trying to keep costs under control and manage a whole range of different tasks, knowing what needs to happen when can be very helpful. A calendar or timeline can help to understand how things link together, what needs to be sent out when, and make sure your actuary can make the stag do…
Knowing what you want, what you can have, what you are willing to compromise on and what you aren’t is a good position for life in general. There are at least two ‘trustees’ when planning a wedding (sometimes more if family gets involved!) and all will have voices that they want to be heard. So whether you are sat round the dining table or the boardroom table, make sure that you are clear in where you stand and what you can compromise on. After all, you should all be working towards the same end point.
So in summary, ensuring you have good governance is as important for success in wedding planning as it is in running your scheme.
After all, as you’ve probably told your members in their booklet, we’re in this "till death us do part"!
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