“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”
I’ve found myself thinking about that quote, by the poet Kahlil Gibran, for the last week or so, ever since it came up when I attended the recent Initiative For Financial Wellbeing Conference.
It made me reflect on my – our – purpose in financial planning. More specifically, how our role continues to evolve as we pay ever closer attention to how we can improve our clients’ lives.
Allow me to elaborate.
When financial advice really took off during the 1980s its primary focus was simple: product sales.
The next iteration took that further: what we might call ‘lifestyle financial planning’ – essentially, you would decide your goals and we would help you achieve those goals.
We are now in the third iteration – and, I think, the most impactful one. Financial wellbeing.
What is financial wellbeing?
We all want to fill our lives with joy and purpose. But we are all, each and every one of us, hardwired to make the wrong financial decisions. We make mistakes and we get distracted by shiny things.
Sometimes, we all need help to reach financial wellbeing – and make it last.
This is where a good financial adviser comes in. Having someone who is emotionally invested in your long-term future, who helps remove anxiety about money, is half the battle.
Financial advisers come in all shapes and sizes. Some only want to talk about your portfolio: how much is it worth? Has it gone up or down? What’s your asset allocation? What’s the outlook for inflation?
That’s ‘traditional’ wealth management. But is that enough for our clients? I would argue, no.
Money is great, no doubt about that. It buys us big houses and fast cars – but it is not everything. Money helps us live well, but there’s no point having it if we are making the wrong decisions.
A good financial planner will talk to you about your life, not your money.
Most importantly, a good adviser will ask questions – making you think seriously about your life now and what you want the future to look like.
Financial wellbeing: asking the right questions
A good financial adviser, then, will help you focus on life – for you, and also for those closest to you. They will ask intelligent, specific questions, such as:
- What’s happening in your life right now?
- What are the things you do for fun?
- What are the things that bring you a sense of purpose?
- What are your personal values?
- What does the future hold for your children? Are they going through school or university?
- Are you planning any holidays?
- What aspects of your life cause you anxiety?
- Where do you want to live in five or 10 years?
- Who will you be spending time with?
Overcoming barriers to financial wellbeing
Now, think about what you need to do to ensure more of the good stuff, and the things that might stop you achieving those aims. This is the crux of the issue.
We live in a world we’re often not completely happy with. Social media makes it too easy to compare our lives against those of others and can lead to a sense that were underachieving or somehow not doing good enough. It’s a deeply unhealthy fascination; it’s important to forget about everyone else and focus on yourself.
Have you ever felt you’re not quite the architect of your own life? You work hard and have a strong balance sheet, so why isn’t it bringing happiness?
This nagging that you’re not in control. Maybe you go to work every day but aren’t enjoying it and feel like you can’t leave your job. Maybe you feel like you can’t move house.
You know these barriers to financial wellbeing in your life exist, but finding the time to sit down and actually think about it? Well, that’s another matter.
We’re so busy with our day-to-day lives that just taking those few minutes to have that conversation without the phone ringing or emails pinging is hard to do.
But you need to give this thought and find ways to improve your financial wellbeing – serious thought.
You need to sit down with an adviser who will allow you to articulate plans.
Why choose First Wealth?
This is – I hope – where First Wealth come in. We care about your wellbeing.
We work primarily with entrepreneurial business-owners at all stages of their business, from starting out, through growth stages and then planning for the exit, helping address the right questions.
Our advisers will ask you powerful questions that are not easy to answer. They illicit thought and invite self-reflection. You need to think about what you’re being asked and come up with your best answer. New insights and ideas. New ways of thinking about things.
We want to empower you to take action. We do this in three ways:
- Lifestyle financial planning, helping you visualise where you want to get in life
- Wealth management after we’ve built your plan. This is the funding of it, making sure your money is aligned to your longer-term planning
- Ongoing financial coaching, keeping you on track in the medium and long-term
So then, back to that quote by Kahlil Gibran.
“Joy is the reward for the giving of joy.”
Having written this blog, I keep thinking that maybe the financial planners looking to evolve the profession are actually self-interested. Maybe the reason we at First Wealth want to create joy for you is that it creates joy for ourselves. Securing your financial wellbeing gives us a sense of purpose.
Your happiness makes us happy.
And I’m happy with that.
This document is marketing material for a retail audience and does not constitute advice or recommendations. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount originally invested.