The Humble Advisor
Why would anyone consider financial planning as a profession?
Even before you begin the rallying cry of others intent on undermining trust in an adviser is deafening.
Media articles splash scandals and opinion pieces. Industry fund run blitz propaganda campaigns implying advisors will erode your retirement returns. Authors of general advice = all care no responsibility, promote manta’s that it’s better to do it yourself, ‘if only you buy their book’. Get rich spruikers lord their conflicted schemes while dispiriting the need for any other advice and lastly the well-intended opinion and concern of friend or relative who believe they know better and should be more trusted because <insert ego driven reasons>.
Cutting through all this negativity, let’s say someone still considers contacting you.
Personal communication skills aside and regardless of how empowered you make your enquirer feel, they are still required to reveal to you; a stranger all their personal information, read pages of legal documents, signing authority requests and be judged.
We all judge each other. We judge if we/they are worth the risk. We judge if we/they are worth our time and we/the judge if the relationship is worth the emotional investment. That’s enough to raise anxiety levels in everybody.
You may have a generous spirit. You may have a desire to help your client and make the world a better place. The reality is that we live in a litigious world and other professionals’ existence is reliant on finding fault and gaining compensation.
The reality is that in the eyes of prosecutors, your well thought and researched strategies and recommendations are viewed as potential risk and liabilities. Not a benefit. If your client is better off, if your client achieves their goals and your clients are happy with your services; prosecutors have no case and no work.
So good intentions aside, how defendable are your files? How defendable is your research, comparisons, recommendations, projections and the delivery of your promises? You must be able to evidence all this on request. Be it requested by your client, your professional standards team, industry association, an array of regulators, insurers and now with the introduction of new standards, your peers too.
Ultimately the implementation of your recommendations is the exposing yourself to be judged by all in an environment outside of anyone’s control. Asking one simple but defining question through a lese of hindsight “Did your advice and services benefit me/client or not?”
This is just the tip of the iceberg in the life of the financial planner. There’s still the need for ongoing training, ever changing legislation, staff and business to manage, new client enquires and existing clients to review.
Choosing to be a financial planner is an invitation for others to tell you what they think about the financial services industry, all that’s wrong with it and how they would fix it. It’s an invitation to them to tell you about how good their investments are doing at the same time trying to solicit you for your opinion and some free advice.
So call me crazy. Tell me that here is no future for financial planning as a viable industry and that being a financial planner today is to go where angels fear to tread.
However will tell you I didn’t chose to become a financial planner. I evolved to become one. It is who I am. It’s in my marrow. It’s is my calling, my purpose and my legacy.
If my why is, “to be more me”. Then learning about wealth, applying my knowledge, experience and my dogged determination is my “how”.
My life as a financial planner is a journey that has ingrained in me humility, patience, tenacity, caution, forgiveness and gratitude. A life of experiences, discovery and wisdom that I get to share with my clients and they with me.
A journey by “becoming more me” has simplified my choices and heightened my appreciation of quality over quantity. Acknowledging too, time is a finite resource that marches on regardless of our “why” and our “how”.
A journey of profound ah-ha moments and epiphanies that has made me both a better financial planner and a better human being.
I’m glad being a financial planner is a challenge, because to hold this esteemed privilege helping others, if trust to be given it needs to be earnt.
The journey of mastery is not unique. We who aspire to attain a higher quality of life all tread a similar path. One of constant refinement and a journey demanding we adapt to ever-changing environments whilst holding the appreciation that it is more how we handle ourselves on this journey of life than the end destination in itself; because the journey of mastery never ends.
Therefore, regardless of the naysayers, the vested interest groups, the noise of media to me the humble adviser it will always be an honour and a privilege to serve those who are also on the path of financial mastery and the mastery of life.
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.