Career Spotlight – Caroline Stuart


What is your name?

Caroline Stuart.

What is your occupation?

I am a paraplanner in my business, Sparrow Paraplanning.

Where do you live?

In a little village near Melton Mowbray (yes, home of the pork pies!)

When did you start your career in finance? How did you get into it?

In early 2000. I’d been working unfeasibly unsociable hours in a coffee shop at Manchester Airport which wasn’t really using my business studies and marketing skills from uni. I saw an advert for a 9 to 5 job on the pensions call team at a company called Royal London and decided to apply. No real idea what pensions were but they had a lake and a duck herder in a lovely part of Cheshire so it sounded ideal to me.

I got the job so no more 4am starts for me, although I would miss seeing all the celebrities at the airport – (serving coffee to Robert Carlyle is still a career highlight for me).

If you could start your business again, what would you do differently?

I’m still only 18 months into setting up my business and still loving all of it so I wouldn’t change anything (although ask me again in a year or two and I may have another answer!)

What would be your biggest piece of advice to someone coming into the financial planning profession?

Listen to others, take advice wherever you can, always be ready to learn and above all, believe in yourself as you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

How would you define your personal mission?

To help try and build a united profession – I would love for us to be universally seen by the public and our peers as the professional, qualified and trusted profession that I believe we all can be.

How would you define your personal vision?

To be happy and hopefully be considered generally a good egg!

How would you define your personal values?

Work hard, have fun, play fair, be kind.

What is your greatest achievement outside of work?

Is serving coffee to Robert Carlyle not enough?!

OK, in that case, going from never running a step to running a half marathon in six months. (I mean the training for it not that it took me took me six months to actually run it).

After being ‘encouraged’ by a friend to run it, I was part of a team that raised over £5,000 for Cancer Research. I was so proud of us and the best thing was I will never have to do it again. Ever!

What is the greatest book you have ever read that helped you in your career?

It’s very silly and not a career or professional book at all, but I just love ‘Warning – When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple’. It’s a really light hearted little book that reminds you to be yourself and do the things you want, and I love it!

What is your most valuable asset of being a NextGen Planners member?

Learning from others how to give the best service to my clients and run the best business I can.

Also, learning how to make super heroes out of toilet roll tubes.

(Only answer this one if you truly want to…) Who is your favourite NextGen Planners member?

I would have to say Dan (as he asked me to! 😂) but also Kat Mock. Over all the years I’ve known her she has been really good pal but in the last two years, she has given me so much help and support, especially with setting up the business. I would not be sitting in my little office, working with amazing clients and just loving my job without her, so Kat is my fave!

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