Gulfer Gelener explains: The importance of financial education

It is true to say we are facing challenging times, as talk of the cost of living crisis, high inflation and interest rates take centre stage on the news. Add to this the pension crisis, volatile gilt markets, real term pay cuts, etc. and you may be left thinking, “what does it all mean for me?”

Never has it been more important to be financially literate; to understand what the news means and, more importantly, how it affects you on a day-to-day basis. Just knowing the difference between a ‘cash ISA’ and a ‘stocks & shares ISA’ can significantly impact your savings outcome.

My name is Gulfer Gelener and I’m a financial adviser based in North London. I firmly believe financial education plays a crucial role in making sense of the financial choices you are presented with every day, as well as helping you to navigate and plan for the future.

There is simply not enough financial literacy being taught at school. This is either through design or a simple lack of priority. Regardless of which, the outcome is the same: many of us leave school without knowing the importance of maintaining a healthy credit rating, the consequences of borrowing money, and the benefits of investing in the future.

This lack of financial literacy results in many of us coasting through life unsure of how to progress, being blinded by jargon, making mistakes, and learning the hard way. Quite often we do not know where to turn to for financial help and advice.

Improving people’s relationship with money and learning financial literacy should be considered a life skill. Being open to challenging discussions about money should be the norm rather than taboo.

For those of us from certain backgrounds (Turkish Cypriot in my case), our upbringing teaches us that property is the only way to progress: freehold, not leasehold, and all that jazz! The reality is that property investment is just one of many ingredients in a cocktail to improve your overall wealth.

A fundamental part of being a financial adviser is helping people make informed financial decisions and to be guided through this complex landscape. This is achieved by explaining the options available in a jargon-free, easy to understand way.

With time, it is easy to build on that knowledge and install good habits, whilst removing the bad ones.

Financial education and understanding are the stepping stones to feeling confident about your finances, and keeping you motivated to better yourself.

In a series of articles to follow on T-VINE, I will be shining a light on the challenges I come across as a financial adviser and I will aim to demystify many aspects of finance and what it means to you on a day to day basis.

The three most common misconceptions I regularly encounter are:

1. “Isn’t financial advice only for wealthy people?”

A. Of course not. Financial planning is for everyone, whether it be saving for retirement, creating a nest egg through investment, organising your finances for the next generation, or protecting the family from unforeseen events. Everyone can benefit from the guidance a financial adviser offers.

2. “Financial planning sounds expensive”

A. Cost can be seen as a barrier when considering seeking advice. Financial planning can be much more affordable than people may initially assume, and many advisers offer advice with no upfront charges.

The cost is usually calculated on a percentage basis only when you proceed with the recommendations.

3. “Why plan my retirement? Won’t the state look after me?”

A. The current full state pension is £802.31 per month. Whilst the state pension provides an important contribution to our retirement income, it is unlikely to provide the retirement lifestyle most people aspire to.

For this reason, it is vital to take personal responsibility in saving for your retirement. The population is living longer and with the retirement age rising, we face the prospect of having to work into our later years.

This state pension predicament is just one of many challenges we face as we go through life. It highlights the need to take action and create a plan to ensure we achieve the future we want. Work with a financial adviser to help identify your goals and devise your plan.

To receive a complimentary guide covering wealth management, retirement planning, or Inheritance tax planning, contact Gulfer Gelener, at Gelener Financial Planning on 07983 392860 or email


Gulfer Gelener DipPFS is a fully qualified financial adviser. He heads up Gelener Financial Planning, which is an Associate Partner Practice of St. James’s Place Wealth Management PLC and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.