Episode 107

Making Decisions with Nick Elston

How can we address anxiety that often surrounds financial decisions?

In this episode we have the pleasure of welcoming back Nick Elston for the third time! The guys delve into the topic of anxiety surrounding big decisions, particularly those related to finances. Nick, drawing from his own lived experiences with anxiety, offers invaluable insights into navigating these challenges. The money saving tips have a slight twist with a dedication to Chris’ expert money saving mum. As ever a conversation you won’t want to miss!


Chris Budd – author of the original Financial Wellbeing Books, you can view all three here

Producer Tommo – chartered financial planner at podcast sponsors Ovation Finance

What’s on Todays Podcast?

The guys chat with regular guest Nick Elston! This time exploring the anxiety we often have when making important decisions.

Meany Maureen

(This time we have dedicated Tight Ass Tommo to Chris’ Mum and her lifetime of money saving tips)

Featuring no spending, making the most of tap water and a tip to spend money in a positive way.

Tip of the week – Premier Inn early check in. Perfect for those early big city starts

Interview with Nick Elston

Making decisions around money

The anxiety we may feel

  • Compulsion
  • Comparison
  • Choice

Nick’s lived experience

Our legacy

Exploring fear in decision making

How do we get our of the spiral?

Nick handing his house keys back to bank

Walking in to decisions, is it your decision?

Getting help, the role of a third party

Conclusions from the Guys

What drives our decisions and the part fear and social media plays

The role of third party help – Want to work with Producer Tommo and a like minded team? Come and have a chat with Ovation

A challenge to fellow financial planners – how often do you talk to clients about ensuring their spending is aligned with their values?

We have a great back catalogue, if you enjoyed this episode, you might appreciate Episode 55 Overcoming Anxiety with Nick Elston



Nick Elston is an award winning mental health speaker and speaking coach. Founder of Forging People helping others overcome anxiety to unleash their voices.

Come and connect with Nick Elston on LinkedIn for more information.



Transcribe of episode:

David: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode, in fact, episode 107 in our long running series of financial wellbeing podcasts.

David: My name’s David Lloyd, and about eight years ago, my good friend Chris Budd got in touch and said, david, I’ve been thinking of doing these podcasts, and I’d like you to help out.

David: Come along and be the sort of the independent voice, the man that doesn’t necessarily know anything about money and ask me questions, and we’ll do some podcasts, and we’ll kind of make it up as we go along.

David: And we’ve been doing it for over 100 episodes.

David: And I’m delighted to say that Chris Budd is still involved, as is the other member of our terrific trio, and that is Tom Morris.

David: And they’re both here with me now.

David: Who’d like to introduce themselves first?

Chris: I would, David, actually, because the reality of that conversation we had eight years ago was you said to me, what’s a podcast?

David: That’s probably true.

David: I do remember, I mean, now we, although there’s an awful lot of improvisation and chat goes on around our podcast, we do actually have a little script that we try and stick to.

David: But I do remember, Chris, for that first ever podcast, we didn’t have a script at all.

Chris: No.

Chris: And it was terrible.

David: I was really swore then, but it was.

David: Yes, it was worse than terrible, but somehow we’ve got much better at it, and we’ve got a really loyal listenership.

Producer Tommo: Now, listener being the singular, not the plural.

Chris: So, look, you said, introduce yourself.

Chris: I wrote the original financial well being book.

Chris: I met somebody last night and I said, who’s in the industry?

Chris: And I said, have you heard of financial well being?

Chris: And he said, well, yeah, obviously.

Chris: And I said, well, I invented the phrase.

Chris: And he went, oh, my God, really?

Chris: It’s not strictly true, but it’s quite, quite a good line.

Chris: Well, I did invent the phrase, but as I always say when I do talks on the subject, I didn’t realize that two people invented it before me, but I did actually come up with a title for the, for the book.

Chris: So I did.

Chris: And I do like to think I’m the guy that brought it into the financial advice profession.

David: And quick plug, very good book it is, too, as indeed is it sequel.

David: Because there are now two of them.

Chris: There are.

Chris: And actually, the first one has recently been updated, revised and reissued in paperback.

Chris: So the financial wellbeing book is available in shops now.

David: Again, go out and buy it.

David: That’s all I can say.

David: Tom, tell us a little bit about you, because you weren’t.

David: I mean, again, full disclosure, you weren’t on at the very start of the podcast.

David: You came a little bit.

David: Can you remember which episode number it was where you.

Producer Tommo: It had.

Producer Tommo: It was single digits.

Producer Tommo: It was fairly early on, but I think the general theme and what you were saying about how terrible the early podcast episodes were, it was.

Producer Tommo: They needed some talent to come in and improve matters.

David: And talking of talent, producer Tammy is with us in the background, hovering away, as she often does.

David: And she’s the one really, ultimately, that should take all the credit for this podcast.

Producer Tommo: Well, well, it’s.

David: Yeah.

Producer Tommo: So who am I, David, to your original question, because I want my moment to shine.

Producer Tommo: Thank you very much.

Producer Tommo: I’m a director and chartered financial planner over at Ovation Finance, who of course, sponsor this podcast and who are behind it.

Producer Tommo: And I just want to mention that eight year thing.

Producer Tommo: It is our 8th birthday on the 26 April.

Nick Elston: Oh, wow.

Producer Tommo: Is it really?

Chris: Yes.

Producer Tommo: That was the first.

Producer Tommo: That was the date of the first release.

Producer Tommo: So I can believe eight years on, somehow we’re still plugging away, but I.

Chris: Was in my forties then.

David: I know, yeah.

David: And we’re still finding stuff to waffle on about.

David: So what are we waffling on about today?

Chris: We’re listening to a chat between myself and the wonderful and kind, generous man, Nick Elston, because we’ve had him on the podcast before, but I wanted to get his take, particularly now, on the anxiety around money and how we can make better financial decisions.

David: Oh, the gorgeous Nick.

David: He’s great.

David: I remember the first financial wellbeing podcast.

David: He was one of the speakers there, and he just gave one of the.

David: One of the best talks I’ve ever heard, actually.

David: Very honest, very open, big hearted.

David: Yeah, but, yeah, big hearted, absolutely.

David: But also quite, very wise as well.

David: So I’m looking forward to this chat.

David: But before we do that, we cannot go on without having the thing that I think most people tune in for.

David: And that, of course, is tight.

David: Ask Tomo a tip from Tom Morris in which he will give us a fantastic way of saving a little bit of money.

David: But before we join our monarch of meanness for his own tip, I think we ought to see if anybody else has got some.

David: I’ve got one.

David: And it just.

David: It was something I chanced upon the other day, and I thought, oh, this would be good to talk about on the podcast.

David: And it’s the notion, I don’t know if you guys have ever come across this before, of a no spend weekend.

David: So quite often the weekend comes around.

David: We’ve been working quite hard and we’re going, what we’re going to do, let’s go out.

David: So we might go down the pub, we might meet up with friends, we might go out for a meal, we might take the kids out somewhere to an attraction.

David: It invariably involves spending money.

David: And so this notion is that you don’t want to do it all the time, necessarily, but you go, right, let’s have a no spend weekend.

David: Let’s have a weekend where we still have fun, we still try and do things, you know, with family or with friends, but let’s not spend any money.

David: I’m not sure that that would extend to not buying food or anything like that, but it’s really a question of thinking, you know, instead of going down the pub, let’s go for a walk in the country.

David: How can we still have fun without spending money?

David: So that’s my tip.

Chris: That’s really interesting, David.

Chris: We’re talking about the early podcast.

Chris: One of the very early interviews we did was a lady called Michelle McGagh, who published a book called My no Spend Year.

David: Oh, yes, that was great.

Chris: I wonder, with producer Tammy, we might find her and see how she’s getting on and see if she’s stuck to any of the things she learned from that, that no spend year.

Chris: But, yeah, that’s a very interesting one, David.

Chris: I’ve got one, actually, and I’d like to.

Chris: This is just a little tribute to my mum, who, it was the anniversary of her passing of one year ago, just the other day at the weekend.

Chris: And I want to just rechristen this section.

Chris: Tight a** Maureen, just for this episode, because she really was, really was very good.

Chris: But she had loads of little saving tests because she had to, you know, because she grew up not, you know, from a fairly working class background, but one that I still do.

Chris: And the reason I thought of it as it put me in mind when I filled up the kettle this morning, is if she had to run the tap to get hot water to do the washing up, rather than waste that water, she would use it to fill up the kettle while it was running hot.

Chris: A really, really simple little thing.

Chris: But actually, if you do lots of those little simple things, they add up.

Chris: I would just share one other thing she used to do, which isn’t a financial thing, but she also.

Chris: I can’t believe she did this, but she used to.

Chris: If she wanted to wake up at, say, 07:00 in the morning when she went to bed, she used to get her finger and trace the number seven on her forehead and she was adamant that that worked as an alarm clock on whatever number she wrote on her forehead the night before.

Chris: That’s what she would wake up.

David: Well, I’ve heard of a variation on that, which is that if you want to get up at 07:00 you just bang your head on the pillow.

David: Not violently, but you tap your head on the pillow seven times.

Chris: Seven times.

David: I’ve never tried it.

David: I just use an alarm clock.

Chris: Maybe we should all try it and report back next time.

David: The podcast won’t come out because we all missed the recording.

Producer Tommo: I’d have to pick a very early time because obviously I’ve got two young children who aren’t going to allow me to sleep beyond.

Chris: You don’t need an alarm clock, do you, mate?

David: Tomoe.

David: What’s the big one, then?

Producer Tommo: Well, do you know what?

Producer Tommo: I’m just having a look.

Producer Tommo: I just wanted to mention, we started this on episode 15 and we are now on episode 107.

Chris: The TightAssTommo was episode 15.

Producer Tommo: Was it really?

Producer Tommo: I think because of, what, 92 in, is it?

Producer Tommo: Just looking at that, I just thought.

Chris: I thought, there’s a book in this, Tommo.

Producer Tommo: We definitely celebrate the hundredth.

Producer Tommo: So, my tip, I was recently away in London overnight and stayed in a premier inn hub, which was okay.

Producer Tommo: It was as you would expect, Premier Inn.

Producer Tommo: Never have a bad stay there, to be fair.

Producer Tommo: But the tip that I had was from a friend of myself and Chris, Phil Bray, who mentioned that if you.

Producer Tommo: You can check in from 03:00 with Premier Inn, but it costs an extra tenor to check in at 11:00 which, if you’re on a business trip, that’s really helpful.

Producer Tommo: You know, if you’re getting the train and you’re getting in, it’s an extra 4 hours of being able to get in your room, sit down, do some work.

Producer Tommo: So, yeah, those who are listening, who go on business trips, it’s really quite a cheap and useful way to be able to get some.

Chris: Yeah, I actually used this just the other day when he.

Chris: When he posted this little tip, and it was brilliant because I had a lovely nap.

David: Well, I think that’s a great tip.

David: And I’m actually going to challenge as to whether or not that’s a.

David: That’s a tight a** tomo tip, because you’re not saving money, you’re spending more money.

Producer Tommo: Well, you say that, but all you.

Producer Tommo: If you need to go somewhere to do some work, you might be going to a coffee shop.

Producer Tommo: And if you’re sat down for 4 hours in a coffee shop, I think it’s expected of you to buy a coffee an hour or if you are having to rent some space in London to work quietly.

Producer Tommo: So I think ten quid to be able to have 4 hours of, you know, quiet space to be able to work and a space for naps.

Producer Tommo: As Chris said, I think it’s terrific value if you’re on a.

Producer Tommo: On a business trip or something of that nature.

David: You’ve convinced me.

David: Excellent as ever.

David: Right then.

David: So let’s get on to the Nick Elston interview.

David: Chris, tee it up for us, would you?

Chris: So for those that haven’t heard of Nick, and I can’t believe there is anybody that hasn’t heard of Nick.

Chris: He’s a guy who has done a number of things in his life but had a major breakdown and as a result of that he has become an expert in the subject of anxiety, as he always is.

Chris: It pains to stress.

Chris: He’s a lived experience expert, but by goodness, he knows some stuff and he’s very wise.

Chris: He’s also.

Chris: David, you’ll appreciate this, he’s a Bristol Rovers fan, so that must make him a good guy, right?

David: Not necessarily, but obviously we all have.

Chris: Our flaws and he’s just a big hearted, lovely, lovely guy.

Chris: He’s also an expert in speaking because he’s had to overcome an awful lot of issues, his own speaking.

Chris: He’s now a superb Davidnd runs training courses for speaking.

Chris: But I particularly wanted him to talk to us about anxiety around financial decisions, whether they’re small decisions about spending or bigger decisions about changing job or retiring or what have you.

Chris: So enough of me waffling.

Chris: Here we go with my chat with Nick Elston.

Chris: Nick, thank you for joining me again, mate, on the podcast.

Nick Elston: My pleasure.

Producer Tommo: Thank you for inviting me.

Chris: Well, look, you’re now the most frequently appearing guest, this being your third time.

Chris: The first chat that we had with you, I have listened to four or five times myself.

Chris: I was absolutely extraordinary.

Chris: And anybody listening to this who hasn’t gone back and listened to your first episode, please do so, because it was, I mean, genuinely life changing.

Chris: Some of your tips and advice there.

Chris: So it’s always great to have you back, but I want to make this chat really specific.

Nick Elston: Okay?

Chris: So I want to talk about making decisions and how people make decisions around money.

Chris: Now this could be when you don’t have much money and you’ve got to allocate your money carefully or it could be something like retirement or selling a business.

Chris: So I want to keep it fairly broad, but I also want to keep it specific about making decisions.

Chris: So when people make big decisions like this, are you able to talk us through the sort of process they might go through and sort of anxieties that they might start to feel?

Nick Elston: Yeah, sure.

Nick Elston: I think certainly it’s from, certainly from a mental health perspective.

Nick Elston: So for those who have met me before, I have obsessive compulsive disorder.

Nick Elston: So actually decision making around things that install fear, which money absolutely is one of those things I need to question every single time this decision, this spend, whatever im doing at the time, is this through obsession, as in, am I doing this just because I feel I have to do it?

Nick Elston: Is it through compulsion?

Nick Elston: So am I doing it to keep up with the Joneses?

Nick Elston: Am I doing this to kind of get a bigger car, that kind of stuff?

Nick Elston: Or actually, is it a choice?

Nick Elston: Is it a pure choice which is actually going to have a benefit at the end?

Nick Elston: Because it’s amazing how many choices we make which actually isn’t gone through that same process.

Nick Elston: We don’t realize that we are compelled to do things without even recognizing.

Nick Elston: It’s all about part of that conditioning piece that I’ve spoken about at your conferences over the years, that our relationship with money is formed at such a young age and dependent on our own kind of fiscal background as well, that a lot of decisions we make without going through any process at all.

Chris: So let me just clarify then, or recap what would be on your checklist.

Chris: Compulsion.

Chris: Am I doing this because it’s habit comparison.

Chris: Am I doing this because somebody else is doing it?

Chris: What else do we have on that list?

Nick Elston: Well, actually, is it a choice?

Nick Elston: Do I choose to do this?

Nick Elston: Because again, if you are, shall we say, more subservient or maybe even that kind of people pleasing mentality.

Nick Elston: Very often we do things because other people want us to do them.

Nick Elston: And I certainly see this in a lot of environments that are working or we feel that we need to do things to keep up with people, or we need that kind of bigger house, that kind of stuff.

Nick Elston: And we never go through the checks and measures, really.

Nick Elston: We do things because they feel good sometimes, which can be its own checks and measure itself, but very often it can be fueled by our experiences.

Nick Elston: So, for example, I grew up under a company, sort of a family business, and for me, that family business was going to be my future.

Nick Elston: And that family business unfortunately went bust.

Nick Elston: There was a lot of negative fallout from that situation, which still can ripple out today, actually.

Nick Elston: But for me, that was going to be my future.

Nick Elston: So actually, for the vast majority of my career, without even checking in on why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Nick Elston: I was h*** bent on having a mahogany desk, mahogany walls and chairs.

Nick Elston: I wanted to have a factory.

Nick Elston: I wanted to have the workers and the factory, and I didn’t at all.

Nick Elston: What?

Nick Elston: I didn’t realize I was caught up on somebody else’s mission.

Nick Elston: Why do I do what I do?

Nick Elston: I was doing it because I was trying to, like, do some medieval quests to correct the family name.

Nick Elston: It wasn’t what I wanted.

Nick Elston: And I think that’s kind of the thing that.

Nick Elston: Why do we do what we do?

Nick Elston: Is such an important question.

Nick Elston: Why am I doing this in any given situation?

Nick Elston: It’s a really healthy thing to take a step back because I can be as impulsive as the best of them, especially when it comes to things like purchasing.

Nick Elston: But I also know very often that comes when it’s a period of high stress.

Nick Elston: So I’m looking to buy happiness, and that just cannot be that way.

Nick Elston: So, yeah, I hope that makes sense, Chris.

Chris: It always makes sense coming from you, mate.

Chris: I think there’s a lot to unpack here.

Chris: So there’s also the process that people go through without realizing it, which is kind of these money stories that you’re talking about.

Chris: There’s also the decisions that we make not to do things.

Chris: So I’m thinking, for example, not to retire or not to sell a business, or not to older people not giving money to their kids because they think they need it themselves, when actually they don’t.

Chris: All these kind of things.

Chris: What’s going on there?

Chris: Is it the same process or is there something else at play as well?

Nick Elston: I think so.

Nick Elston: I think it comes down to legacy.

Nick Elston: You know, I think it’s like, what legacy are we trying to.

Nick Elston: Are we leaving a legacy here?

Nick Elston: Or is this.

Nick Elston: Very often, we don’t make choices that are purely selfish.

Nick Elston: We’re usually keeping people in mind, whether it’s people that during our life or after our life.

Nick Elston: But my way of legacy as having no children and just a small shih tzu, my legacy.

Chris: You said that before, haven’t you?

Nick Elston: What makes you laugh every time?

Nick Elston: Laughing at your own jokes?

Nick Elston: Quality sign of a person.

Nick Elston: But I think when it comes to legacy, for me, legacy is the work that I do.

Nick Elston: So therefore, the question then is, what am I doing to get to a certain point, what does that legacy look like?

Nick Elston: And actually, is it for me or is it not for me?

Nick Elston: It’s like that kind of old quote about, there is no such thing as a selfless act.

Chris: You need to expand on that one go on.

Nick Elston: So we had this conversation the other day about kind of the difference between happiness and pleasing.

Nick Elston: So, and this was, I was speaking at a police conference, actually, and it was actually about the four.

Nick Elston: So you got policeman bringing doughnuts, in, which I know is a stereotype, but genuinely, this happened.

Nick Elston: A policeman bringing doughnuts into the office.

Nick Elston: He said it makes him happy, but does it make him happy?

Nick Elston: Is he just pleasing other people or is he genuinely happy?

Nick Elston: And it becomes quite a deep conversation.

Nick Elston: What difference in pleasure and happiness?

Nick Elston: And I guess it’s the same line as happiness, being in the journey, not the destination, as someone really wise and not, like me said once, those kind of things.

Nick Elston: And I think so bringing it back onto the point, the happiness question and the pleasure question needs to really be addressed when it comes to things like legacy and actually, why are you doing what you’re doing?

Nick Elston: Very often it’s fueled by fear.

Nick Elston: Actually, it’s fueled by the fear of something, fear of not leaving things to people, the fear of not being able to make retirement, the fear of, and the amount of decisions we make based on fear.

Nick Elston: It’s.

Nick Elston: It’s kind of crazy, really.

Nick Elston: But very often bad decisions are made from a position of fear.

Nick Elston: Now, I know this wouldn’t have happened to a fine, upstanding member of the community like you, Chris, but if you’ve ever been caught out doing something you shouldn’t be doing mouth shut, then very often the first thing you do is you make a really bad decision, again based on fear.

Nick Elston: So you double that kind of impact, you guess.

Nick Elston: And I think thats the problem.

Nick Elston: We get so wrapped up in fear.

Nick Elston: If you look at in the spirit of honesty, you know, youll always get that with me.

Nick Elston: At my worst, I made very, very bad decisions when it comes to money.

Nick Elston: I compounded that by spending more money I didnt have.

Nick Elston: It was very much the decade of free and easy spending.

Nick Elston: I bought a house I couldnt afford.

Nick Elston: I just continually kept on spending.

Nick Elston: I knew it wasn’t the right thing, but I was so afraid of everything being kind of caught out, the stature that we expect to have as human beings.

Chris: So there’s a bit of a spiral happens there, isn’t it?

Chris: Yeah.

Nick Elston: Yeah, I think so.

Nick Elston: And like I said, I think that’s kind of the problem.

Nick Elston: It’s that, Ken, it’s the pursuit of happiness.

Nick Elston: And I think it is fueled by popular media and social media.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Nick Elston: Very often, people are posting the stuff that they have, things that they’re doing, and people just think that they’re failures if they’re not doing the same things.

Nick Elston: But just remember that people only post for inspiration or desperation.

Nick Elston: Very rarely do they post in between.

Nick Elston: And that’s what we compare ourselves against.

Nick Elston: You’ll compare your spun version of the truth against somebody else’s spun version of the truth.

Chris: So this spiral, I’ve seen this a few times in my life with people close to me where something happens.

Chris: In this case, you said you talked about spending.

Chris: In the case of my father, who went bankrupt, it was the case of not being able to pay the mortgage.

Chris: And then you make another decision, which actually compounds that almost in a self destructive way.

Nick Elston: It’s quite similar, actually, to if anybody’s ever experienced self harm or aware of self harm, kind of.

Nick Elston: So as part of my OCD tendencies, I started to develop something called dermatillomania, which is a compulsive skin picking, essentially.

Nick Elston: It’s kind of like a form of self harm, but there’s a perfectionism to it.

Nick Elston: So if you have any kind of spots or opens, you just kind of pick yourself and that kind of stuff.

Nick Elston: A lot of people, especially women, do this in their hairline, so nobody else can see.

Nick Elston: But it is a form of self harm.

Nick Elston: And I think very much it’s the same with money.

Nick Elston: You also find it with, and I’ve experienced this with weight loss, my relationship with food.

Nick Elston: You know, that you’re not making the right decisions, but actually, at the moment, that’s kind of not what you want to know.

Nick Elston: So it’s kind of.

Nick Elston: It is quite an anarchic kind of approach to life, I guess.

Chris: So the key question comes to my mind then it’s, how do we get out of that spiral?

Nick Elston: I think there’s a few things I do need to doff my cap to.

Nick Elston: Doctor Emma Treby, who I saw speak at a conference recently, the same police conference we were speaking at, and she was saying about the ability to delete, or as you would an inbox.

Nick Elston: So as these things come in, you kind of delete, delay.

Nick Elston: No.

Nick Elston: Yeah.

Producer Tommo: Action.

Nick Elston: Delete or delay.

Nick Elston: So.

Nick Elston: And I’ve used that since, and it works brilliantly because I am very much a reflector and a ruminator, and I will let these things go around in me, and it shapes the way that I then go forward.

Nick Elston: So I’m dealing with everything now in the moment, delete and delay, and that helps a lot, I think also, we’ve spoken about this before, but very much that acceptance piece is acceptance.

Nick Elston: And anyone who’s been through any form of counseling or therapy will know this, that acceptance is one of the toughest things to achieve, but the most crucial thing to achieve, to fully accept that everything that you’ve ever done has led to this point that you are right now.

Nick Elston: But very often our inclination is to put our heads into the sand.

Nick Elston: But if we can find acceptance, we can then start to move forward.

Nick Elston: But sometimes that acceptance is brutal because you’ve made really bad decisions and you are not in a great place.

Nick Elston: And that’s where things like professional help, mentally, emotionally or financially needs to come into play, where you reach out for help.

Nick Elston: And as opposed to we bury our heads in the sand.

Nick Elston: And then once you find acceptance, you can then start to work out a timeframe, actually.

Nick Elston: How, how long can I stay here whilst I make some changes?

Nick Elston: And the final piece is actually changing your relationship with change, because actually, in every period of change, every period of chaos, there’s always magic, there’s always opportunities.

Nick Elston: But attitude is everything.

Nick Elston: Very often when we reach that kind of bottom rung, we don’t feel we can go any lower.

Nick Elston: We kind of give up.

Nick Elston: And I think it’s when you lose hope or the hope of something better, that’s when the world gets quite a dark and dangerous place on any level.

Nick Elston: So its the ability to maintain attitude, to find opportunities even in the worst of times, and then the ability to then go through that period of change.

Nick Elston: But its tough.

Nick Elston: And I know its a massively overused word, but resilience is exactly where its that, whether its financial resilience, emotional resilience, physical resilience, and theres no one fix.

Nick Elston: All thats the beauty of all this stuff.

Nick Elston: Youve got to find your own way forward, and different things work for different people.

Nick Elston: For me, it wasn’t just a one fix.

Nick Elston: There was medication, there was therapy, there was counseling, there was coaching.

Nick Elston: All of those things got me through the challenges that I’ve had back in the day with the money stuff.

Nick Elston: I walked back up to the building society, gave them my keys and said, I cannot do this anymore.

Nick Elston: That was my acceptance.

Chris: Literally gave them your keys?

Nick Elston: Literally give them keys, that I cannot do this anymore.

Nick Elston: That was the final acceptance piece and actually drawing a line then.

Nick Elston: And you can deal with stuff from there on in, but even now that will send shivers.

Nick Elston: Actually gave me goosebumps talking about it because that’s the relationship we have with things like finances.

Chris: That moment that you decided to do that, what was the trigger that made you walk into the building society and do that?

Nick Elston: I think the trigger was that month on month, I just felt increasingly scared I felt increasingly anxious that this was only compounding, this is only going to get worse.

Nick Elston: It was absolutely snowballing.

Nick Elston: Debt collection agencies, they scared the h*** out of me.

Nick Elston: Its the first time ive experienced anything like that.

Nick Elston: So actually I just wanted it to stop.

Nick Elston: And thats what I chose to do and I did.

Nick Elston: And its interesting, though.

Nick Elston: Very often the thought of these things is far more daunting than reality, because what had happened was when I gave the keys back, it went through auction and actually I ended up with a small profit.

Nick Elston: So it wasn’t a total loss, but in my head that was it.

Nick Elston: That was the end of everything.

Nick Elston: But it wasn’t.

Nick Elston: It was just another learning curve along the way.

Chris: Yeah, but you mentioned the word fear quite a few times, and we’re talking about people making a financial decision, which could be, it could be a decision to buy a bigger house or a first house.

Chris: It could be a decision to simply try and not spend so much money.

Chris: There could be lots of different versions of this, but I absolutely get that fear piece.

Chris: The fear of not keeping up with somebody else or expectations of other people, have a view, all sorts of things.

Chris: Am I right, would you say, in thinking that the enemy of fear is information or one of the enemies of fear is information?

Nick Elston: Yeah, I think so.

Nick Elston: I think it’s also big.

Nick Elston: I think it’s self awareness as well.

Nick Elston: But extreme self awareness, maybe awareness is.

Chris: A better word than information, but in your case, if somebody had told you, actually, if you sell your house, you come up with a small profit, that might have reduced your anxiety in the first place.

Nick Elston: Yeah, absolutely.

Nick Elston: But I wasn’t.

Nick Elston: Bear in mind, I wasn’t reaching.

Nick Elston: I went straight from reaching out for no help, to give it.

Chris: Middle ground.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Nick Elston: There is a lesson in there.

Nick Elston: Not necessarily recommend that to people, but I just said.

Nick Elston: But, yeah, I think it is.

Nick Elston: But it’s also.

Nick Elston: Why do you want that?

Nick Elston: I think, why do you do what you do?

Nick Elston: Is such an important question, and shared at the last conference that conditioning.

Nick Elston: We were a product of our environment, really check in.

Nick Elston: Is it your decision?

Nick Elston: The narrative is not about how you’re talking to people, it’s about how you talk to yourself and the perspective, actually, what is this bigger belief?

Nick Elston: Is it shaped by social media or popular media, or is it kind of by family members keeping up with the Joneses?

Nick Elston: I mean, chap I used to know on the speaking circuit, he said that if you want an eight bedroom house, and you’ve got a four bedroom house now, and you don’t go in one of those rooms, you’re just going to have five rooms, you’re not going to go, why do you want to do that?

Nick Elston: And I think that’s a really important question.

Nick Elston: Why do you want that?

Nick Elston: Why do you do what you do?

Chris: I’ve got a couple of quick stories to share.

Chris: One of them is a guy I met who’s a property developer that’s been his business as a charter surveyor.

Chris: And they were told he bought a second home down in the Devon coast and talked to his wife about how they should rent it out in August.

Chris: And his wife just turned around and said, no, that is not why we’ve bought this house.

Chris: And he said it was really tough for me to have a property that didn’t make money for me because that’s what I do.

Chris: But she was absolutely right.

Chris: Now, we’re not all lucky enough to afford a holiday home.

Chris: So it’s a little extreme example, but I just thought it’s an example of we kind of walk into decisions because it’s just what we do.

Chris: At the other end of the spectrum, my own spending.

Chris: Over the last year or two, I’ve started buying and selling vinyl at markets and my own collection has started to swell once again.

Chris: And I’ve got a habit.

Chris: When we were talking earlier on, the listeners won’t know because it been profession edited by Tammy.

Chris: But my doorbell went and it was a delivery of a record.

Chris: And I’ve got way more records than I could ever listen to.

Chris: But I’m still buying more.

Chris: Now, this is a habit.

Chris: It’s poor spending habit.

Chris: But you know what, Nick?

Chris: I can afford it.

Chris: It’s okay.

Chris: I buy secondhand vinyl at kind of 1015 quid a time.

Chris: It’s not causing me a problem.

Chris: So I think there’s also an awareness there needed about is this decision going to cause me a problem?

Chris: Is it going to make me happy?

Chris: Why am I doing it?

Chris: But also, is it a poor decision?

Chris: I think that’s in the mix as well.

Nick Elston: It is.

Nick Elston: It’s not about not making a decision, it’s about making better decisions.

Nick Elston: Yes.

Nick Elston: And better decisions doesn’t mean he’d say he’s going to make you money.

Nick Elston: Better decisions could be that it makes you happy and you dance around your kitchen, you’re vinyl and that’s.

Nick Elston: That’s good enough.

Chris: And I literally do.

Chris: Literally do.

Nick Elston: Whatever happened is, I’m going to say.

Nick Elston: But so it’s not about not making a decision, it’s just about making better decisions.

Nick Elston: Because I think very often we’re talking about potentially the risk of making decisions.

Nick Elston: But as we said, the other side of that is we stay in our comfort zones, which also is really unhealthy.

Nick Elston: Somebody once explained the comfort zone to me as the maximum that you’ll tolerate in life.

Nick Elston: And I love that.

Nick Elston: That is literally written on my whiteboard.

Nick Elston: It’s the maximum that you’ll tolerate in life.

Nick Elston: And actually we need to start to break out of that kind of comfort zone.

Nick Elston: So it’s not about not making decisions, it’s making better decisions.

Producer Tommo: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, I like that.

Chris: I also think a comfort zone can be okay sometimes.

Chris: I guess that it’s definitely, by definition, on a comfort zone.

Chris: Anyway, look, there’s one final thing that you’ve touched on quite a few times, which is the third party element to this.

Chris: The importance of getting a mirror to yourself.

Chris: I guess by talking to somebody else to get help on this kind of stuff.

Chris: I mean, whether that’s just a decision about a pension that you can get for a financial advisor.

Chris: Or whether it’s something much more serious that you need to get some coaching and counseling help.

Chris: Talk about the role of the third party in all of this.

Nick Elston: The third party is crucial, so that can take many shapes.

Nick Elston: It could be making sure that you’ve got the Samaritan’s number on your phone.

Nick Elston: That’s a really important step.

Nick Elston: It can be having good relationships with your local support networks in terms of a mental health perspective.

Nick Elston: Or looking on the BACP for an approved accredited counsellor or psychotherapist.

Chris: Sorry, on the what?

Nick Elston: On the British association of Counselors and psychotherapists, BAcp.

Nick Elston: They have a website full of accredited counsellors and therapists.

Nick Elston: So.

Chris: So I’m going to share one thing here, Nick.

Chris: Through some personal tough times I’ve had over the last year and a half, I did that myself.

Chris: And I used that very directory to get a local councillor.

Chris: And I had six sessions.

Chris: And wow, the difference it made to me.

Chris: I don’t have anywhere in my life that I can sit and talk to somebody just about me.

Chris: And that’s not a complaint, by the way, because why would anybody want to listen to that?

Chris: I have to pay somebody to listen to that.

Chris: But just those six sessions were just.

Chris: And she only made three or four comments.

Chris: But they were such insightful comments that made me turn my head completely as I walked out and just did so much good.

Chris: So, yeah, that’s a website I’ve used myself.

Nick Elston: Yeah, absolutely.

Nick Elston: And thank you for sharing that.

Nick Elston: I think that’s really important to stress.

Nick Elston: I guess the other thing is build up a relationship well before you need it with these things.

Nick Elston: It’s the same with the financial side of things as well.

Nick Elston: You have, obviously, the Institute for Natural Wellbeing.

Nick Elston: Amazing resource of contact materials.

Nick Elston: If you are lucky enough to work for a large organization, then there will be signposted services, there will be employee assistance programs.

Nick Elston: All of these things are in place to support you, but you can have all the initiatives under the sun.

Nick Elston: Unless you get the engagement.

Nick Elston: Absolutely nothing changes.

Nick Elston: And not exclusively, but especially with men, there could be a real challenge around this.

Nick Elston: So very often it’s getting this stuff well ahead of when you need it.

Chris: Yeah.

Chris: Nick, as ever, you’ve so insightful, because you’ve just reminded me that I went to see a counselor after I went for a walk with a dog, with a mate of mine.

Chris: And I was in tears most of the way around the dog walk.

Chris: And he just said, what are you going to do next, Chris?

Chris: And I said, I think I need to speak to a counselor, don’t I?

Chris: So actually, it was just talking to a friend first and getting it out in the open.

Chris: That was a starting point to that.

Chris: So this wasn’t about my vinyl issue, by the way.

Chris: Nick, as ever, fascinating stuff.

Chris: I could talk to you for hours, but we wanted to keep this really, really tight and talk about financial decisions, whether that’s causing anxiety, whether it’s struggling to make a decision.

Chris: You’ve given us loads of great tips.

Chris: Thank you so much for joining us, mate.

Nick Elston: Thank you very much, mate.

Nick Elston: Cheers.

David: So, as ever, what a great speaker he is.

David: I remember he was at the first financial wellbeing conference and gave, I mentioned this earlier, gave a really, really inspirational talk.

David: And he’s done it again there, hasn’t he?

David: That’s fascinating stuff.

David: Why do we do what we do?

David: What drives those decisions?

David: I was particularly taken by him talking about how we make bad decisions because of fear, because we want to be seen to be doing the right thing.

David: And we’re worried about people thinking our house might not be big enough, the car might not be shiny enough, and therefore it’s fear of what other people might think of us.

David: And I was particularly taken by when he talked about how that fear can be fueled by social media as well, and the extra pressure that that’s put on people.

David: Certainly, I think more so with the perhaps younger people than me.

David: Certainly.

David: And indeed, I would argue that all of us, that pressure that young people are under now, and it’s fueled by social media and it’s fueled by fear of being seen to do the wrong thing.

Producer Tommo: Whenever I hear Nick, I find it incredibly difficult to add anything of value on top of what he said.

Producer Tommo: I’m there listening to it, nodding along.

Producer Tommo: And what I really enjoy about Nick’s perspective on things like money is that he’s not a financial advisor or planner.

Producer Tommo: Yeah, you know, he’s coming it from the other side of the fence, which I find always insightful, because, you know, we can get lost in doing it as a job, actually seeing it from somebody on the other side of the fence.

Producer Tommo: I think it’s fascinating.

Producer Tommo: So, do you know what?

Producer Tommo: I’m just going to say, I really enjoyed it, and I shall be listening to it again to soak in what he had to say.

David: Yeah, fascinating stuff.

David: And again, I like the way he talked about changing your relationship with change, and how sometimes people are frightened of change.

David: They go, oh, I can’t change.

David: I can’t do that.

David: And therefore it sometimes stops us growing.

David: And he made the point, and I think it’s a very good point, that change can sometimes lead to chaos, but chaos in itself shakes things up and can often move us forward into a new state of being.

David: But if we’re not prepared to accept a little bit of chaos in our life that can lead to change, then we can quite often get stuck in the same place and we’re not able to move on.

David: And I thought that was very perceptive of him.

David: And of course, you know, you, Chris, and he talked about the importance of third party advice, you know, be that, you know, a counsellor.

David: Chris, you talk very honestly about your recent experiences with that.

David: And certainly I’ve gone through tough times in my life where I’ve had counselling as well, and I found it hugely beneficial, but also the application in the wider context.

David: And certainly in terms of what we talk about on this podcast is about getting advice about your money.

David: And I’m sitting here with the two guys who have given me the best advice I’ve ever had about money, Chris and Tom.

David: And Chris started off as my financial advisor, has elevated himself into a wider sphere of being now, but Tom now fulfills that role for me and gives me really sound advice, not just on how to spend my money or to save it, but also just on how to live my life in a way.

David: So I think a good advisor, and I’ve been blessed to have them, can be both financial adviser and therapist as well.

Chris: I wanted to pick up on that point, actually, David, because we have a lot of financial advisors who listen to this podcast, and I would just like to gently offer them a little challenge.

Chris: How often do you discuss this stuff with your clients?

Chris: If somebody wants to set a cash flow forecast for a particular objective, that is about buying a status symbol, do you challenge them?

Chris: Is this going to make you happy?

Chris: What are your reasons behind this?

Chris: I know Tomo and I have been joint meetings with clients where they’ve been talking about buying something which just sounds against their kind of values that we know of them, and we’ve just gently challenged.

Chris: And after a little chat, they’ve gone, you know what?

Chris: I’m not sure I do need that expensive thing after all, whether it’s collecting art or whatever it might be.

Chris: So, financial advisors have these conversations with your clients, and clients, if you’re not a financial advisor, as a listener, ask your financial advisor if they could challenge you on these things.

Producer Tommo: Yeah, I just get to the nub of this.

Producer Tommo: If you’re a financial planner or you’re somebody who gets financial advice, don’t be an order taking financial planner.

Producer Tommo: Don’t just think Chris had plugged something into cash flow planning, and I’m a wonderful financial planner based on what somebody has superficially told me they want to do, that could have bad outcomes for an individual.

Producer Tommo: So what I mean by order taking is simply taking the first thing that somebody tells you, plugging it into your fancy software, and go, look, you can afford to do it.

Producer Tommo: Fantastic.

Producer Tommo: Off you go.

Producer Tommo: There’s more to it than this.

Producer Tommo: Don’t be an order taker.

David: I think that’s great advice.

David: And you, Tom, and I think Chris before you, Tom, as well, you know, you sometimes challenge me.

David: Why do you want to do that?

David: Why do you want to spend your money on that?

David: Or actually, usually it’s, why don’t you spend money on that?

Chris: Also true.

David: Yeah.

David: Which is even better, because I can sometimes hear your voices in my head now, when I come to make a decision about what I’m going to do, I kind of go, all right, okay.

David: What would Tom, I say about this?

David: Why am I making this decision?

David: Why do I want to go buy that thing or not buy that thing?

David: And so I guess it’s also about, you know, from the client’s perspective.

David: It’s about learning from the advice that you get and hopefully not repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Chris: Yeah.

Producer Tommo: I must stress, it’s not.

Producer Tommo: It’s not an adversarial discussion.

Producer Tommo: It’s a friendly, open discussion about just, you know, the challenge is probably the wrong word.

Producer Tommo: Just delving into it a little bit more, delving into why somebody has said exploring.

Producer Tommo: And it’s not about adversarial because we might come to the conclusion, oh, that has absolutely right path for you, and that’s okay, but it’s right to explore it.

David: Yeah, definitely.

David: And I think we shouldn’t be.

David: We shouldn’t be scared.

David: And again, this is something that Nick has drawn out.

David: We shouldn’t be scared of having those conversations either.

David: And we shouldn’t allow ourselves, we shouldn’t allow our fear of being judged by other people or our fear of becoming bankrupt, or whatever it might be, to stop us being able to have honest conversations with each other and ourselves about money.

Chris: Can I just finish off by just mentioning we have an awfully, awfully big back catalogue.

Chris: There’s some incredible conversations in there and some amazing episodes where we explore some stuff.

Chris: But the one I always return to is the first chat with Nick Elston, episode 55 please.

Chris: If you enjoyed this chat with Nick today, listen to episode 55 because that’s where you get the full Nick Elston and it’s absolutely amazing.

David: Great.

David: Okay, well, on that we’ll draw things to a close.

David: I think, as ever, it’s been absolutely fascinating.

David: I hope you’ve enjoyed our chat today and that you will join us again at an indeterminate point in the future for another one of our financial well being podcasts.

Do you have any financial wellbeing questions you would like us to answer? Or do you have a #tightasstommo money saving tip you would like to share with our listeners?

If so, let us know by going to Twitter @Finwellbeing or email – contact@financialwell-being.co.uk

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