Our finances were in a mess. We had money but did little with it except spend large quantities. I went to my bank and was advised to open what proved to be the worst performing ISA ever devised. We knew we had to do something but had no idea what. Luckily, we had a friend who wrote about personal finance for a serious, pink newspaper. With characteristic bluntness, she told us that most financial advisers were “performing monkeys”. We needed Julie Lord. And she was right.

One meeting with Julie was enough to convince us of quite how urgently we needed her. Within a month we had all those money things that we’d not previously bothered much about – adequate insurance, pensions and, most importantly, some sort of plan for the future. As time passed we got used to seeing the ski-slope chart of our financial future. Some years we were chastened by the threat of being broke before we were 65. More often we were reassured that our money would probably last longer than we would.

It wasn’t long before we thought of Julie more as a friend than a financial planner. We felt she was someone we could trust. She was always completely straightforward with us and is not a person to mince her words. A short conversation with her invariably helped us to clarify our plans for the future and galvanise us into putting them into action.

Julie’s great quality is to look at what we want from our lives first and then to suggest how we can organise our money to make this possible. We spend more time talking to her about holiday plans than stock market performance. Having said this, we have never doubted her astuteness when it comes to our investments and she never fails to check whether our wills and powers of attorney are up to date.

We’ve been guided by Julie for fifteen years. There have been changes for her along the way. Her new company Magenta seems the perfect vehicle for her. The company is big enough to provide an efficient and responsive service but small enough to retain the personal touch and have a unique personality.

It seems slightly disrespectful to say that Julie is our financial Mary Poppins but it’s not entirely inaccurate. She is brisk, efficient, wise and works a sort of magic. She’s full of surprises and hidden talents. It’s possible that she goes tap-dancing with penguins too. We’ll ask next time we see her.