Summer is a distant memory. The children are back at school or University, and from what I’ve experienced many of you have turned your attention to getting things done.
The change in season is a useful trigger for making a personal change, as Katy Milkman explains in her excellent and very readable new book ‘How to Change’. In fact, I’ve used the ‘Fresh Start Effect’ of Autumn to get myself back into running shape, as I very much lost it during Covid lockdowns and the Summer. Chicago Marathon 2022? I’m thinking about it!
Professionally I’m a helper when it comes to financial change, and since the first week of September I have:
- Helped an experienced financial professional, delegate their financial planning and investment management to me, freeing them from the administrative grey cloud they were feeling.
- Demonstrated to a recent widow how robust her finances are, so she and her daughter don’t have to worry about money.
- Discussed with a client the potential affordability of selling existing investments to buy a second property, so she can spend more time close to her ageing father.
- Helped a client with more money than she or her beneficiaries will ever need, consider charitable giving, and impact investing, to match her values.
- Advised a client against investing a recent £500,000 cash windfall, until some variables in personal circumstances become clearer.
- Revisited a client’s option to provide financial gifts, to assist their vulnerable, adult children.
- Caught up with the financial planning and tax administration needs of a recent divorcee, who until recently had been hoarding cash at home in fear of losing access.
- Helped a first-time investor with no investment assets, finally get started on their savings and retirement planning journey.
- Physically collected financial documents from an elderly client in anticipation of a financial review, giving them peace of mind that they don’t have to navigate our secure, password-protected messaging system
And that’s just a very small sample of my September.
Why do I mention all of these?
Because the broad perception of what is financial advice, and who it is for, is very different from my reality.
Financial advice is generally marketed, or reported on, as investment selection. The choice of a product or an investment fund. This is what is served to you by investment ads and the weekend press, together with a smattering of reporting on poor sales experiences for good measure!
But unnecessary investment sales and poor experiences usually come from people and companies who don’t care. For them, it’s all about the numbers. And although the arrangement of investments is regularly a part of what I do, in most cases it isn’t the primary focus.
Often there will be something below the surface, other than the obvious money balance, prompting the need for financial advice. This can be seen in some of my earlier real-life examples. Stress, anxiety, reassurance, family, etc. This part of financial advice is rarely acknowledged or understood. Investing without getting to grips with the reasons for investing is putting the cart before the horse.
“In the medical world, a prescription without diagnosis is considered malpractice.” *
My understanding of your ‘raison d’etre’ is the key to a great outcome for you, not me. At face value, I help people manage their money efficiently. But deep down it’s only so they can afford to live with freedom.
“At face value, I help people manage their money efficiently. But deep down it’s only so they can afford to live with freedom.”
So, if you’ve experienced good, thorough, or even exceptional financial planning and advice from me, or anyone else for that matter, please tell other people about it.
That’s not me pushing for introductions. Regardless of whether you get someone to contact me, or they consider seeking highly qualified advice from someone else now or in the future, your stories of trustworthy, qualified, caring advice helps shift the focus away from the headline-grabbing, negative noise reported elsewhere. Although that’s not to say some of it isn’t justified!
Without your recommendations and public reviews, friends, family, and acquaintances will continue to take advice from those shouting the loudest. Often those with little to support their claims.
Don’t let people you know make that mistake as it could turn out to be very costly for them. Help them make a change too.
Follow me on Twitter @AlexandreRiley
P.S. If you are a client and would like to help me, a Google review is a great way to do it.
*I have no idea the origin of this quote, but I nicked it from @AlanJLSmith