The term “Financial Planner” has been hijacked by those in the “Industry” and used as a way to try and display trust. There are so many variations which are used as a means to portray experience, knowledge, skill etc. (Think: Financial Planner, Executive Financial Planner, Financial Adviser, Wealth Manager, Wealth Planner, Investment Planner, Wealth Specialist) but really all these self appointed titles are doing is trying to make you the client, believe that they are best person for the job, and what is that job? Well, ultimately they are trying to sell you a product.
In a world where the term “Financial Adviser” is associated with so much distrust and the financial planning industry having been built around the creation and distribution of product through sales people, planners have tried to differentiate themselves through a simple self appointed title, which in turn has just led to even more distrust and confusion being created. I can’t tell you what the difference is between a Wealth Manager, a Private Wealth Manager, a Financial Adviser, an Executive Financial Adviser, a Senior Financial Adviser, (except that some titles sound better than others). What I can tell you is that you want to be working with a lifestyle financial planner (the next title currently being hijacked), someone who looks after your best interests, not just your money, someone who puts your life at the center of the conversation and is not driven by the industry to sell you a product in order to enrich his own life. Now, this too is a tricky feat to try and find this type of person, as with the “industry” trying to clean up it’s act, it is putting pressure on its members to actually provide a clearly articulated service to you the client, but there are those who don’t want to change, they just want change the way you perceive the service they provide, which is still ultimately just selling you a product. But enough about those charlatans.
If you are serious about your financial planning and truly want to figure out where you are headed in life and what your money is for, then you want to be working with some who is equipped to do just that. The catch is, that you actually have to want to take that step, you have to want to be serious about living your best life, serious about understanding your freedom, and what your lifestyle costs now and into the future.
A Lifestyle Financial Planner, starts by putting your life at the centre of the conversation, gets to know you personally, think of it as the start of a life long relationship. When building a relationship, it needs to be built on trust and honesty, you don’t start a new relationship by telling the person what you aspire to be in the next 5, 10, 15 years, you start with who you are today, how you got here and what life experiences have shaped you. You start by building a solid foundation which leads to a natural progression of trust. In understanding who you are we can then understand where you want to go and what’s important to you and your life. Sounds very touchy feely, but without this understanding the numbers make no sense, they have no meaning, no deeper purpose, there is no answer to the question, “What is the money for?”
After having those conversations a lifestyle financial planner can then collate the numbers and tie them up to the conversations and with the help of some fancy tech give you an idea of if you are on track to get what you want out of life. We follow a step by step process overlayed with prudent and conservative assumptions to illustrate your current reality. Does this current reality represent the conversations we previously had? Are there things which need to change to make it reflect your desired life, what can we do to make those things happen? What levers do you have at your disposal to make the changes now to help you achieve the lifestyle you want NOW.
Lastly, your current reality may require implementing some changes or utilising some products to efficiently meet your desired lifestyle, but we can only know this once we have built our relationship and figured out what your freedom looks like.
Like all good things in life, your freedom takes work, it takes effort, it takes identifying and it takes working with a trusted partner who is best equipped to help you achieve the things you want. It doesn’t take a self appointed title, it doesn’t take an industry product peddling salesman, it doesn’t take a Wealth Manager, a Private Wealth Manager, a Financial Adviser, an Executive Financial Adviser, a Senior Financial Adviser, it takes a PLANNER who puts YOUR life at the center of YOUR plan.