Why family values are Gemma’s personal motivator to give her clients the best possible service.
It was the unplanned birth of her son, Josh, at the age of 18 that changed Gemma’s life forever.
“Sadly, the relationship with my partner had broken down,” explains Gemma. “Fortunately, my mum stepped in, initially supporting me financially and emotionally, helping me to cope with this abrupt change to my life direction. It meant I was able to complete my education while Josh was happily ensconced at nursery.”
By 2004, at the age of 23, Gemma had taken the first step of her career, joining Northern Rock as a trainee mortgage adviser.
“My choice of a career in financial services came from a time when I’d helped a friend who was heavily in debt; he’d on credit cards and loans, all with really high interest rates. I worked out a way for him to consolidate everything onto one loan and save a significant amount of interest. It set me off on my career path. I’d really enjoyed the process; it gave me a great boost to think I’d turned it around. He still had the debt, but it was far more manageable.”
Gemma says bringing up Josh as a single mum, while financially supporting them both, wasn’t easy.
“Josh was diagnosed with the neurodevelopment disorder ADHD in primary school, which meant managing his behaviour was challenging to say the least. His inability to focus, alongside occasional bizarre, impulsive behaviour, meant attracting unwanted attention from those who made me self-conscious about the fact I was such a young mum.”
She continues: “I must admit to feeling paranoid at times, believing people were constantly judging me for what I perceived to be thought of as an irresponsible young mum. This gave me the determination to succeed and provide Josh with not just with a safe, loving home but also a secure financial future.”
Gemma’s career notched up a gear when she joined RBS as a financial planning manager in 2006. Caring for Josh meant she’d been unable to go on to university, so she was determined to become chartered. The next five years was spent studying in her spare time, taking exams while simultaneously gaining hands-on experience across all areas of wealth management.
“I left RBS in 2011 to join Wesleyan,” says Gemma, ‘initially specialising in offering comprehensive financial advice for lawyers, including their personal and business planning. Later, I added to my specialisms by providing advice to doctors working within the NHS and in private practice. I also worked as an adviser at both Towry and Prudential to gain more experience.
“After so many years of head-down working, studying and caring for Josh, you can’t imagine the sense of pride and achievement I felt when I was able to move out of our flat and buy my first detached house in Manchester for us both.
“In April 2018, I founded Darcy Financial Planning Ltd, with an amazing team behind me. My focus is on financial lifestyle planning and guiding my clients towards their financially secure future.
“This year, I hit the grand age of 40 – and Josh, 22 – with the financial goals I set for myself all those years ago now achieved. We’ve come a long way together, Josh and I, much of the journey at times difficult and challenging, but I am so very proud of the young man he has become.”
“What I’ve gained from the experience has been extremely beneficial. It’s shown me just how people’s lives can take them down a vastly different route to the one they envisaged, but that it’s not the end of the world.”
Having experienced so much throughout her journey so far, Gemma loves that she is now able to empathise and relate one hundred percent to whatever her clients are going through:
“I derive so much pleasure helping my clients find solutions that work for them so they can look positively into the future.”
And what about Gemma personally?
“Well, I have, of course, set myself new financial goals. But this time, with built-in flexibility to ensure I enjoy a work-life balance; giving myself space to breathe, to do the things I love and to spend time with my family and friends.
Why not get in touch with Gemma for an informal, no-obligation chat and a coffee?
Darcy Financial Planning Ltd is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website www.sjp.co.uk/products.