Ron Walker of Clarion Wealth Planning
In this week’s installment of our ’10 Questions for…’ series, we feature Ron Walker from Clarion Wealth Planning in Knutsford. I first met Ron and his co-director Steven Walker (no relation), a little over 12 months ago. Ron’s one of those guys who, the more you find out about him, the more you respect him. He told me that when he passes on from this world they’ll write “tried hard” on his tombstone. This is a man who won’t shirk the tough issues, but handles them with dignity and aplomb. One of his core values is good manners, so this Aussie is always on his best behaviour whenever he visits Clarion!
I also discovered that he is a founding member of the Institute of Financial Planning and was one of the very early users of the Prestwood Financial Planning software, which the firm still uses to this day.
Ron runs a fantastic business, working with first and second generation business owners. He is committed to delivering a truly fantastic financial planning experience and doing it all profitably. Clarion is a fine role model for any aspiring firm to emulate.
Here are Ron’s responses to my 10 questions about his business.
10 Questions for Ron
Q1. What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? That success follows happiness, not the other way round. I’m not sure I’ve completely mastered it yet, but I’m sure it’s true!
Q2. Who is your business role model? In the financial planning world, it’s Paul Etheridge for his unwavering belief (over several decades) in the power of the financial planning model; in a general sense, anyone who runs a ‘modern’ business where the shareholders and employees genuinely feel they are in partnership.
Q3. Have any other adviser/owners ever helped you with advice or support? (Who? What did they help you with?) In the early days, Paul Etheridge. I’ve always loved his practical way of looking at things e.g. “the alternative to paying the (Financial Planning) fee and getting the service is not paying the fee and not getting the service.”
More recently (if I’m allowed to say it), Brett Davidson for helping Clarion on our journey from a great business to a fantastic one (BTW – we’re still on the journey!).
Q4. Have you ever given up your time to help another adviser coming through? I’m always happy to help anyone who I think wants to progress and is prepared to put the effort in.
Q5. What was your most expensive or painful business mistake? There are so many to choose from, including becoming an underwriting member of Lloyds of London in the early 90s, or investing in property development in the Bahamas. I finally learned to practice what I preach about investing; don’t try to be too clever – there are lots of people out there ready to take your hard earned money from you.
Q6. Which person or business do you most admire in the profession? My co-director Steven Walker for his relentless efforts to deliver the best Financial Planning service to his clients. Also Toby Ricketts and Matt Jealous at Margetts, who run a great business that really cares about doing things right.
Q7. What do you love about Financial Planning? The joy of helping people to live the life they really want. Having the ability, through expert Lifelong Cashflow Forecasting to confidently tell clients that everything is going to be alright, so they can go out and enjoy the journey.
Q8. If you could have your business career over again, what would you do differently? I would start the process of working on the business rather than in it, as soon as possible.
Q9. Have you ever been under severe financial pressure as you grew? (Briefly describe what you did about it and how you got out of it.) Thankfully not for a while now, but there were times in the early days when I didn’t know where the money for the next month’s staff wages would come from. That’s real pressure. I never had a magic solution, I just did what I always try to do: keep going and stay positive.
Q10. What’s the secret to happiness in life?
Give it your best shot – do everything you can;
Look after people.
Do you have a burning question you’d love to ask a certain adviser or business?
If so, let me know. What do you want to know? Who do you want to hear from?
I might just have the opportunity to get your questions answered in the next ’10 Questions for…’ segment!