By Elizabeth Webb, Fairstone
Here we go. Are you ready?
Okay, so presented with this title, I have to say my first response was the five reasons are the clients, five times. Realising that isn’t the most useful answer, I dug a bit deeper.
Why are clients the reasons I love being a financial planner?
1. Deep conversations about what really matters
So many new clients will come to me with an objective like "I need a pension" and, on hearing this, I know I then have the opportunity to unpick this initial objective and work on what it actually means for them (generally wanting financial freedom in future or something like that). That can then bring out all kinds of beautiful conversations with clients about what matters to them and what might need to happen to make it possible.
2. Opportunity to relieve stress and fear
I recently had a new client come to me who was so stressed about their situation – they were a couple of years away from State Pension age and were worrying about their future and how they wouldn’t have any income. As a result, they were scrambling around, trying to create new income streams. They were stressing so much about this, they weren’t sleeping or eating properly and couldn’t enjoy their ‘free’ time at all.
I sent them an email, asking them to get a few bits of information together and before I had even sat down with them, they realised that things weren’t as bad as they seemed! Once we went through what they had collated and I answered and asked a few questions, they realised that actually, they will be fine and didn’t have to kill themselves now trying to get all kinds of income streams set up. They have since found joy in their lives again, knowing they are on the right track.
3. Help to empower people
Some clients stick with you and I have some who will always be in my thoughts for the profound life challenges they have gone through.
One client had unfortunately been in an abusive marriage. She managed to get out but had been so terrified of her ex and finances, that she had never completed any paperwork to get a pension sharing order in place! Due to the time it was left, the pension provider didn’t know how to deal with the situation and it took years of correspondence with them and reassuring the client to get to the stage where she received her share.
Throughout this time I also got to witness her grow into herself and realise her value which is so rewarding. It’s pretty amazing that I get this experience within my job!
4. Make real change, both individually and wider
As a financial planner, you can really make a difference in people’s lives and change the path for a whole family, not just one person. They can really appreciate the change, too.
However, there is also the wider impact of a person’s investment decisions, and whilst there are definitely some people who are better versed than me in this area, sustainability has come into its own in the last few years, really enabling clients to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ and be a lot more engaged in their investments too!
I have really enjoyed being able to be a part of this movement with some of my clients. Some are not yet prepared or willing to make the move with their funds but either passively or actively, things will change with time.
5. I can be myself
It is an amazing thing to be able to bring myself to work everyday and have my clients accept, embrace, and celebrate it with me!
I love how personable I can be and how much I can be me and how that doesn't detract from the financial advice or planning, but in fact lends itself to it beautifully. It might sound corny but the best thing that you can do is be yourself. Anything that you do while you are being yourself will be so much more powerful and important.
There have been some very stressful situations and my face has maybe shown too much emotion for my liking (especially in some networking meetings). However, these emotional outbursts are still me and I am really privileged to be able to say that some of my most recent clients have seen me at good and bad times, accepted that and even appreciated that vulnerability as it has allowed them to share their vulnerabilities with me.
I have also been able to share sea swimming, running, exercise and soon will be doing an obstacle course with a client too – being myself and nothing but is a superpower I think!