Real financial advice to fund real dreams
Whether we like it or not, go along with it or not, everything evolves. Some sectors of the economy evolve faster than others and one might expect that financial advisory would be slow – and then only in response to changes in law and regulation – right? I mean if you have companies that still proudly have ‘Old’ in their name what can you expect?
I have always been determined to forge my own experience of the ‘financial advisory sector’, and never worried much for the poor perceptions caused by a few rogue brokers and ‘investment specialists/bankers’ – I have enjoyed being part of an industry that actually can make a long term difference. I can hear a groan… Let me explain.
At the most basic level, life insurance can, and does, make a difference to families left behind when the breadwinner dies prematurely. Most people will bring sympathy and a bunch of flowers to a funeral, the broker brings the promise of a cheque. That basic ‘need’ has been addressed by brokers for decades despite being unfashionable and it has evolved into every other aspect where we might ‘need’ financial help ( like disability and dread disease), and then into retirement savings, with perhaps less success. Making enough money to cover your needs, and the insurance to protect them is necessary but not exactly inspiring – and this is where the ‘evolution’ comes in.
While I am sure that there are millions of people who do go to work just to cover their “needs” – with maybe a little left over for gifts and an annual holiday – and have little ambition to go beyond that, most of us have had dreams at some time in our life, even if they have been put on the back burner. The world needs ‘worker bees’, they play a vital role in society and society would not be able to function without them. If everyone wanted to be the CEO then there would be millions of very dissapointed people. Sometimes the dream is to be our own boss, without having the responsibility of employees – I have been in both places and I know which one I prefer. Often, somewhere in life’s journey the dreams we had as a youngster get forgotten or crushed and we join the worker bees by default.
As children we all have ambition and dreams don’t we? When we start off in our careers, buy a home, have families – we are inclined to get bogged down in what we and the family ‘need’. Responsibilities trumps dreams every time. Dreams often get forgotten, not because they are unattainable, but because we need help to find them – a map to get there. If it looks unattainable we might assume it can’t be done – meanwhile we are making completely erroneous assumptions. Assumptions are the mother of all mess-ups. Have you ever assumed that something was ‘too expensive’, you were ‘too old’ or ‘weren’t qualified’, only to find out months or years later that this wasn’t so? I certainly have.
So what has this got to do with financial advice? Money is often needed to make those dreams come true. If you want to travel, retire young, start your own company, move countries, even give everything up and devote the rest of your life to charity – it all needs money. Just taking the status quo – what you’re doing right now – and ‘growing’ that wealth – can take forever. This is where financial advice can evolve and look beyond giving you what you need, to giving you advice on how to get what you want. A financial coach doesn’t fit neatly into the box of ‘lifestyle coach’, ‘financial planner’ or ‘financial consultant’ – it has aspects of all three. The coach will uncover and quantify your dreams, the consultant will help cut the wastage out of your consumption, and the planner grow and protect the wealth.
Wealth is what is left after you’ve consumed your income. You can sit and wait for your wealth to grow or… You can address increasing your income and reducing your consumption so that the wealth pot can grow beyond the good-old CPI plus 5%. That is uncomfortable territory for your financial advisor. To be fair they are only really responsible for protecting and growing your existing wealth, not for putting a rocket under you to address increasing your income and reducing your consumption. The advice could be that need to get a qualification, use your spare time to build a side business when you’d rather collapse in front of the TV, put up with your 3 year old car for a few more years or fall in love with your house again and not move for 20 years. Most financial advisors won’t go down this road of uncovering and planning for your dreams, because there is nothing in it for them, and they may not have the business experience to tell you how it’s done. This is where financial advisory needs to evolve, and the regulatory industry is helping. Let’s put it bluntly. If you want a financial advisor (or more likely a financial coach) to help you map out your financial path to your dream and not just cover your needs with insurance and investment products they get paid with, then that advice has to be paid for – as it is with every other profession out there. Financial advisory must be one of the last professions where advice is still seen as ‘free’. It never has been, that advice has just been paid for, and subsidised by, fees and commission from the “brokerage” role that has been bundled up with the advice.
Action: It is because of the growing call for advice less ordinary that I have added a separate aspect to my practice in ‘financial coaching’ where financial discussions can go beyond the stuffy and traditional and revive long forgotten dreams. This is a natural evolution, bringing together my years in the corporate world, my MBA (that I used so rarely), my passion for holistic financial advice and love for ‘skills transfer’. If you’ve reached that point in your life where you want to take your wealth to a new level and want to explore how to go about that with a guiding hand, have a look at my website HERE.
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Author Dawn Ridler ©