Meet us & our clients

This is us and some of the amazing people we work with…

Matt Bradford

Founder of Financial Freedom Sooner, financial planner, beer enthusiast who runs a bit

Matt Bradford

Founder of Financial Freedom Sooner, financial planner, beer enthusiast who runs a bit

Work life

I’ve worked in financial services for nearly 20 years…although there was a year gap whilst travelled around the world and experienced so many amazing places and cultures.

I developed my passion for real financial planning whilst working at Harvey Curtis Financial Planners.  I’ve been in the role of a qualified financial adviser since 2015.

I started Financial Freedom Sooner to enable me to deliver a financial planning service the way I think it should be done.  No meaningless predictions or market commentary, no flogging expensive financial products…just honest advice to help people with their financial lives.

I’m really excited about the challenges ahead and, hopefully, meeting and working with lots of amazing people.

Passions and interests

I’m a keen runner and compete for Lewes Athletics Club at a fairly decent level locally.  I have also done some guide running for a blind athlete, Chris Goodwin, most recently helping him run an inspirational 2:43 marathon in Frankfurt.

I love being out in the countryside either running or on a long walk with friends and our dog, Damson.

Continuing to learn and develop is important to me and I spend quite a bit of time reading.

Last, but not least, I have a keen interest in beer!

One bit of advice you’d give your 20 year old self

Don’t compare yourselves to others or care too much about what they think of you

Book recommendation

Ego is the Enemy (Ryan Holiday) – valuable insights into how our ego can get in the way of living the best life possible

Lewis and Helen

Humanitarians, parents…and runners

Lewis and Helen

Humanitarians, parents…and runners

Work life

Lewis – I am a humanitarian consultant and currently also Director of the Humanitarian Learning Centre at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University. I have done humanitarian work for most of my professional life, starting off in a refugee camp in Central Africa and then working for many years in the immediate aftermath of big disasters. Once we had a young family I switched to more policy work, and trying to improve the quality of the aid we give, although I still get involved in disaster responses from time to time too.

Helen – I am currently studying for a PhD in Ecology at the University of Sussex. I’m investigating how disused landfill sites can be restored to provide new habitats for plants and insects, particularly pollinators like bees and butterflies.

This is a completely new direction for me.  Having worked in International Development I put my work on the back-burner while our children were small so that I could be at home with them.  Studying again is an intellectual challenge to say the least and I hope to work locally in conservation when I finish.

Passions and interests

Lewis – I’m passionate about humanitarian work. I believe it is within our grasp to eradicate hunger and easily preventable diseases. Acute poverty and the type of vicious wars that we see in Syria today should be consigned to history.

Apart from this I love running! My greatest joy is getting out onto the downs and running in little explored corners where you see wildlife or the passing of the seasons. I’ve been known to have a go at a few road marathons too, although I’m never entirely sure why.

(Lewis has a marathon PB of 2:36 and has represented England in his age group)

Helen – I love nature, outdoors and green space.  I think it’s important to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Like many other people, I’m very troubled by the loss of biodiversity and wild places.

With three teenagers life is busy helping and supporting them, hoping they will stay happy, healthy and go on to do interesting things.  I’m passionate about giving them a good start in life and providing a stable home.

But…I always make time to run!  We’re lucky to live in a beautiful part of the country with the South Downs on our doorstep.  I love to run with friends, or on my own plugged into my playlist!

(Helen’s marathon best is 3:08 and she has also represented England)

How financial planning has helped you

Lewis – Financial planning is liberating, because it gives me control of my work life. Prior to doing financial planning properly I was unsure how much I needed to save, or how long I needed to work for. As a result of planning I’m much clearer about this aspect of my life and actually it turns out I don’t have to work as much as I thought I had to!!

Helen – Financial planning was an eye opener! We didn’t really understand before what our options were or how to make projections about our financial security.  With the kids hoping to go to University, and other financial commitments it’s a relief to be clear about how we can afford it.

One bit of advice you’d give your 20 year old self

Lewis – Chill out!  Life’s a lot longer than you think.

Helen – You can do it!  With energy and perseverance, you can achieve all sorts of things.

Book recommendation

Lewis – This is much harder. I think something like William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, although I also love – same period, same American stylised – Steinbeck’s Cannery Row

I also love George Orwell’s essays. I love the language, and the peculiar blend of proud to be English and imagining a more egalitarian world socialism.

Helen – Last year though I read “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante, I enjoyed it so much I read her next four books.

Ben and family

Ben and family

Business owner, Brighton fan, family man

Ben and family

Ben and family

Business owner, Brighton fan, family man

Your work life?  

​I run a building company which undertakes projects in East Sussex. We specialise in providing very detailed Schedules of Works with open and honest pricing so client’s can always understand what they are paying for and how they can make changes that give them what is best of them, not best for the builder.

http://www.crbcontractors.co.uk/

Your interests and passions?

​My kids are still young and my main passion is spending time with them. I carefully plan my diary and fully utilise the flexibility of self employment to ensure I don’t miss anything important to them or me.​ Beyond family it’s cars and football. I love performance cars and racing, this interest is likely delaying my future financial freedom, though! I’m also a season ticket holder at Brighton & Hove Albion which in recent years at least, has actually been quite rewarding.

How financial planning has helped you?

​It’s helped me understand where my weaknesses lie, debunked some myths I’ve been telling myself for years, and also taught me what not to worry about. Knowing I am making the right decisions about my family’s future​​ allows me to be more content with life now.

One piece of advice you’d give your 20 year old self?

Ignore your father’s views on solicitors and do a law degree. That film degree will be needless piffle.​

Book you’d recommend and why?

​I have the attention span of a gnat and rarely finish any book I start (I am currently part way through 6).  As such I will recommend a film​: About Time. It’s about family, fatherhood and remembering what’s important, and it’s about time of course.

Deniese

Fitness instructor and history student

Deniese

Fitness instructor and history student

Your work life?  

I am a fitness instructor and personal trainer and have been doing this for 25 years. I am also studying for a history degree with Open University.

How financial planning has helped you?

​Financial planning has enabled me to reduce working hours as I get older and to give me the opportunity to enjoy the work/life balance more. We have been able to afford to go overseas more and enjoy our passion for travel.

One piece of advice you’d give your 20 year old self?

Start saving as soon as possible with a pension and/or an investment product.  Doing this has provided an additional income that has allowed my three children to go to good schools and for us to take two holidays a year etc. ​

Book you’d recommend and why?

At the moment I am reading Charles Dickens’ ‘Little Dorrit’ to further understand the social dynamics of the British industrial revolution’s impact on all classes of society, contrary to European thoughts, and Homer’s  ‘Iliad’.  Not only is it a great story but it still gives value to today’s society, particularly in the academic world, to shape contemporary thinking.

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