With barely a few days remaining until Christmas and the last of our client facing meetings complete for the year, the attention at Bunker Riley turns toward enjoying some well-deserved time off with our families, which we hope and anticipate that most of you will also do.
We’ll use some of our free time to review and reflect on the past year as well as plan and prepare mentally for the new year to come, which includes significant regulatory change being introduced to further improve client outcomes and transparency.
The Christmas period has, for me at least, always been a period of relative quiet before the New Year’s financial planning storm. The tail end of the year naturally causes many clients to divert their attention to spending and enjoying, rather than saving and sacrifice and I, like many others, take a conscious decision to devote additional time to my family and two children before it’s too late and they morph into unruly teenagers.
In just a couple of weeks, the New Year brings an inevitable rush to fulfil promises of change for the sake of physical, mental and financial wellbeing and the months leading up to the end of the tax year in April also become our busiest. I’m not a New Year’s ‘resolutionist’ but even so, the mental reset still allows me to pause, wipe the slate clean and refocus if I really need to.
And in keeping with that process, here are some of the changes that I made during 2017 and earmark for more. I hope that you also find some time to review, reflect and plan for 2018.
I’ve probably read more during 2017 than at any time in my whole life and to say that it’s had a positive impact is an understatement.
Somewhere in the last few years I came to the realisation that the current mainstream financial media just wasn’t providing me with what I needed in a professional capacity and out of curiosity, Google and straight up luck I stumbled across a handful of established blogs written by financial professionals who’d already had their own moment of clarity many, many years before me.
Like taking the red pill from Morpheus in the Matrix, the writing of Barry Ritholtz, Tadas Viskanta and Joshua Brown suddenly opened up a whole new world of like-minded people which has allowed me to sidestep the biased financial industry marketing juggernaut, by reading more blogs, great books recommended by the professional financial community, paid for subscriptions and eventually Twitter once I’d worked out that it was actually a personally curated news feed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not what you would call a prolific reader and although I’ve always read to some extent, 2017 has been different. I’ve never been so enthused or eager to pick up the next book and other than watching some football I probably don’t spend any more than a couple of hours on TV a week, if at all.
Three of my favourite mind-altering books this year were:
I Started This Blog
So, if you’ve read this far then thanks, I really do appreciate your time. But as much as I’d love to help lots of people, I’m not doing this for the likes. One thing you find out from reading more is that you also end up having more to say in response (which my poor co-director Justin hears most of) and whether its opinions, counter-arguments (civilly of course) or general discussion, it all needs an outlet eventually.
This blog was originally started to accompany our new website with the aim of simplifying readers financial lives by providing no-nonsense, clear information. It’s still in the very early stages so I’m not getting too carried away as I’m reminded that:
‘You want to hope that no one reads you in the first year or two because your writing’s going to stink’.
So hopefully my current thanks go out to no more than a few people!
I’m looking forward to maintaining the discipline needed to write regularly throughout the new year and improve my writing skills so that you, the reader, can benefit in some way from the content.
Speaking Publicly For The First Time
I’ve spoken to small groups of people in a work-related capacity, but in 2017 I took to the stage for the first time in front of hundreds of my peers to introduce and moderate a 45 minute panel discussion at the Morningstar Investment Conference.
If you’re already a regular speaker, then you might remember your first time. It’s nerve-racking, takes outsized preparation and it introduces you to the concept of imposter syndrome. But it also comes with an immense sense of pride, satisfaction and positive contribution to a topic that you no doubt have some kind of affinity and/or expertise. I thoroughly enjoyed my event (but only after it was finished!).
Hey, I made mistakes, I certainly didn’t have them rolling in the aisles with laughter or eating out of my hand in anticipation of the next can’t miss nugget of information, but it was a start of something new and I’d certainly plan to do it again.
Professional Development in 2018
The definition of a profession is:
‘A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification’.
As much as we already hold a professional qualification and meet ‘Continued Professional Development’ targets, it’s actually been a few years since I sat down, studied for an extended length of time and completed a new formal examination. Two children and managing a small business through a period of immense regulatory change makes it increasingly difficult but ideally, I’d like to complete an additional unit of qualification this year if at all possible.
Ultimately, I hope that improvements like these allow me to provide a service, which at its core delivers better outcomes for the clients of Bunker Riley Financial Planning. I hope to have much more in store for 2018 but at this stage, it’s a little too early to mention other current plans, so stay tuned for more.
Have a wonderful and festive Christmas & New Year!
Follow me on Twitter @AlexandreRiley