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Debbie Stone

I’m Debbie Stone, and I’ve been working with Mark Thewlis at Simple since autumn 2021.

My partner is due to retire next year and so we needed to decide what to do with his and my pension. We both have defined benefit schemes as part of our pension pot. We wanted to have both of them reviewed at the same time to make decisions about what to do. That prompted us to start looking around for somebody to give us advice.

When we started looking for an adviser, I spoke to a friend of mine who works for Pensions Wise. She pointed me towards the Money Helper website and told me the kind of things I should look out for in our circumstances. I went onto the government Money Helper website and looked for the right kind of adviser. We needed somebody who could advise on transferring defined benefit pensions. My friend told me to look for somebody who’s got the gold standard. That was important, and Simple came up on that list.

We had an initial interviews with several different advisors, but what we found when we spoke to Simple was that it was very simple. We felt an instant connection. We spoke to John initially and felt a connection with him. We like the kind of questions he asked, which made a lot of sense to us. Then, when we had our first conversation with Mark, it was similar, we felt a connection; this was somebody we could trust, and we could have a relationship with and work with. So, that was important to us and really helped us to make the decision.

Now I’m working with Mark at Simple I feel much happier about my financial future. I did feel quite anxious about the direction that we were going in and whether we would have enough money to live on once we were retired. But I think the way that Mark has talked to us, the questions that he’s asked and the information that he’s laid out for us have given me a lot of confidence. I definitely feel much more confident and reassured moving forward.

If I think about working with Mark at Simple, three phrases come to mind. One is “straightforward”. The information provided was straightforward, easy to understand and clearly laid out. Two would be “reassured,” as working with Mark has made me feel much happier and reassured about our financial future. A third phrase would be “thought-provoking”. He did ask some questions that we wouldn’t have thought about on our own. It’s really made us think about how our lifestyle might look after retirement, and what we wanted to achieve. With some of the information that he gave us, I don’t think we would have ever discovered it on our own. So working with Mark has definitely been thought-provoking.

For me, the best thing about working with Simple is that I’m working with an adviser I can trust, and can have a relationship with in the long term. It’s not just about paying them a fee to get some advice, and then it’s done and dusted. It’s a longer-term conversation and commitment than that.

The best piece of advice I had from Mark, which may sound a little bit peculiar, is in regards to my pension. It was “don’t do anything yet”. I won’t retire for a few years yet, but I was starting to think about what I need to do about my pension. Well, actually, I don’t – I can leave it for a couple of years before I need to make a decision. So, that’s been really useful information and really helpful.

I’d definitely recommend Simple. Their advice is simple, straightforward and clear. I think with Simple, you don’t feel like they’re just in it for the fees. They really want to help, and they want to be involved with their clients long-term. And I think that’s really important, particularly when you’re talking about pensions, because pensions aren’t a short-term thing. We’re hopefully going to be around for a while, so we will need to have further conversations. For me, that’s been a really important factor and I would definitely recommend them to other people.