JAMIE REED wants to help professional footballers - old and young - come up with a lifestyle financial plan to safeguard their futures.

Reed read about former Wrexham defender Kieran Kennedy wondering whether footballers should be able to access their pensions given the current financial climate and the state of the game in the lower reaches.

Those footballers joining the pension scheme after April 6, 2006 having to wait until 55 to access their money and Kennedy said: “No-one wants to lose houses and things like that because they can’t pay the mortgage.

“It’s not ideal having to access your pension early, but it’s your money.

“The PFA can only do so much and there is no point waiting until 55 to get your money if you haven’t got anywhere to live by then.”

But Reed, who came through the ranks at The Racecourse before playing for the likes of York City, Cambridge United and Chester, offered up an alternative.

Reed, currently plying his trade with Cymru Premier outfit Cefn Druids, said: “What is a lifestyle financial plan? Well put simply, it is a long-term plan, designed and built around the lifestyle you want to lead. It is ongoing and adaptable as your circumstances change in both the short and long term.”

The striker wants people to ask themselves some important questions.

He continued: “You cannot plan for the future if your current situation is impacted by losing your job or being ill. How would your family survive if you or your partner can’t pay the bills due to being made redundant, a serious illness or worst of all, death? Do you have an emergency fund? Aim for at least three months, ideally six months of your daily living expenditure.

“Concerning your personal situation, are you maximising your tax allowance or using the tax relief available? Are you maximising your savings, potential growth and tax efficiency?

“But the conversation that always tends to prompt a blank face is when I ask about what people expect in their future. The conversation usually goes something like this:

“Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, retirement? Yes be realistic, but if you have the time why not raise the bar, set bigger goals. Retire at 67? Why not earlier or later? Could your pension be in a better place, at a lower cost or invested more appropriately? Could you enjoy your life on state pension - £175 per week? Who knows if the state pension will even be there when you retire.

“These are confronting questions for a young person stepping in to the world of work, whatever that may be, but the question they should always come back to, is what happens if this doesn’t work out? These are the things you should ask yourself and if you don’t like the answer, you should look to do something about it.

“I think the current situation we all find ourselves in shows that anything can happen. I’m a Liverpool fan for my sins and never did I think a virus would come along and potentially ruin a 25-point lead in the Premier League!

“A ‘Plan B’ or ‘what if’ scenario always helps. I make sure my clients understand the different possible scenarios and stress test their plans to make sure their goals are truly viable.

“My life so far is living proof of the importance of having a plan, but it doesn’t stop now. I regularly monitor my plan and those of my clients, which is essential for adapting quickly as circumstances change. Who’s to say they won’t again?”

Reed believes having a financial plan in place is a much better option than accessing pension money early.

“My initial reaction was that it’s a terrible idea to be able to access your pension earlier than 55,” said Reed a financial planner at Sanlam Wealth.

“A lot of players would use it to help themselves in times of hardship, but as with everything in life, there are people that can’t help themselves.

“I have seen first-hand, without naming names, the implications of an ex-Premier League footballer exhausting their pension on the old scheme, which ensured a protected early retirement age of 35.

“I had to say to this particular client, who was in his late 30s at the time, ‘yes, you can access your pension but once you have taken this, you will no longer have the funds available when you really need it and will not have long enough to save for your future needs, never mind the lifestyle you want. You are currently working, so do you really need it?’”

“To which he replied: ‘Yes, my friend is the manager of a club - I’ll get a job there soon on decent money’. I advised against taking it all due to the tax implications, because it wasn’t essential, the significant impact on his future planning as well as the fact that he may not actually get the job he mentioned.

“He decided to directly withdraw all the funds off his own back. Needless to say his friend got sacked, he didn’t get the job and he had wasted the funds he had needlessly paid over 45 per cent tax on.

“For most people, you leave school and either start on an apprenticeship or go to sixth form/college and university, and then go on to a career for life. As a footballer it is very similar path albeit your career is dramatically shorter.

“You leave school as a 16-year-old and start your apprenticeship. It is then a case of finding your feet and trying to make your way through the U23s/reserves, to the first team.”

Reed turned to financial planning after arriving back in the UK from Australia - where he was playing football - after his wife found out she was pregnant with their first child.

A three-year deal in full-time football with TNS was taken up by Reed, but he quickly realised that he needed to start thinking about life when he would hang up his boots.

Starting a second career in financial planning and playing semi-professional football worked for Reed, who said: “The starting salary was not great, but I was able to top it up with part time football. The plan was that over time, my ‘day job’ income would increase whilst the football income decreased.

“This plan helped me enjoy football, concentrate on increasing my knowledge in my new career and most importantly, support my family.

“I have had a mixed footballing life with plenty of ups and downs along the way, but because I set out plans, it secured the future for me and my family. I enjoy helping people and in my current role. My job is to help people realise their goals and create a pathway to meet those goals.

“Everybody wants something in life, whether that is their first or next house, a new car, boat or financial freedom in retirement. Personally, I loved being a footballer but when I really think about it, the security of my family is my priority.

“As football has always been my passion, I find nothing more rewarding than helping out the younger players. There is nothing better than watching a player take my advice and then go on to play in a first team while having a sound backup plan in place.”