A FORMER civil engineer had a distinct change of direction after he decided to retire from a successful 27-year career in engineering to set up a design company making bespoke furniture.

Richard Frost went back to the drawing board and swapped the vocational hustle and bustle for the more laid-back atmosphere of a carpentry workshop.

The 50-year-old, who lives near York, swapped the world of engineering for furniture design after he took redundancy.

Before taking the plunge, he turned to his financial advisors, Explore Wealth Management, to ensure any decision made wouldn’t be damaging to his monetary situation.

“With any big decision I wanted to talk through my options to make sure I’d have financial security when starting up my new venture," he said. "Explore Wealth played devil’s advocate as we weighed up the pros and cons. It was decided if the time was right and the appropriate measures were put in place then why not. What’s the worst that could happen?”

He used some of the money from his redundancy to fund a year’s woodwork course at the Waters and Acland Furniture School based in Staveley in Cumbria.

The businessman is particularly proud of three recent commissions, a console table made out of walnut, a chair containing interconnecting curves with an art deco influence and a highly patterned oak media unit with scallop shell inspired sliding doors.

The craftsman uses locally sourced materials from Duffield Timber near Ripon and the average commission can take up to eight to ten weeks to complete.

Initially he brought in the services of North-East based Explore Wealth Management for their expertise with pensions and investments.

He said: “When it comes to making big judgements about your finances it’s always worth getting advice. In my case it was Explore Wealth who helped me towards making the right decisions. Their guidance has ensured the pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and I can pursue my dream job.”

Stephen Sumner, director of Explore Wealth Management, said their task was to ensure the would-be entrepreneur didn't damage his personal financial situation.

He said: “From a human point of view you need to be really sure that this huge change is right for you and your family, and obtaining financial advice is a very positive move.

“A financial adviser can always help you collate this information to see whether your plan is realistic, both now and in the future, without the risk of running out of money no matter what happens.

“When initially meeting Richard, we looked at his existing assets, savings and pensions.

"We were able to analyse whether he could afford his career change without harming his financial security.

“Richard is really enjoying his new job and experiencing a much better work-life balance.”

For further information about Explore Wealth Management please visit their website www.explorewealth.co.uk

People can also visit the newly launched www.richardfrostdesign.co.uk for information about Richard Frost Design.