What my Fitness Instructor Taught me about Financial Planning

Posted by siteadmin on Friday 9th October 2015.

I attended a conference recently where high profile figures from the financial world shared their thoughts with colleagues from the industry.

One of the speakers was a financial journalist called Paul Lewis who presents the Money Box show on BBC Radio 4.

Now Mr Lewis isn't shy of making bold or even controversial statements. But one thing I'd heard him say at another conference not long before really irritated me as I think it’s just plain wrong.  Indeed, I challenged him during the Q&A and you could say that we in effect agreed to disagree.

He carries the view that people didn't need a prescribed ongoing relationship with a financial planner. Instead, that people should use financial planners as and when they wished to or felt they needed on a one off fixed fee basis only.

Of course, he’s more than entitled to his opinion but I felt I had to challenge him and put across the case for working regularly with your adviser to ensure the best results for an individual's life planning and achievement of their financial goals.

Let me use a real life analogy to emphasis my point and show why I strongly believe in the value and importance of ongoing relationships between clients and their financial planners.

Strange as it may seem, I’ve been having regular sessions with a personal fitness instructor every week for getting on three years now. His name is Ben Baker and although I hate him whilst we're doing a session, he gets me doing things I otherwise wouldn't do by myself.

He keeps me motivated, well informed and focussed on keeping myself fit.  Indeed, the greatest noticeable gain I've been aware of is my mental fitness in everyday working life.

Ben’s advice and encouragement are vital for me as without him, I’d easily and quickly lose interest in going to the gym and would have probably packed it in by now.

He reviews my fitness regularly, sets new goals and gives me the sense of confidence to know I can achieve them.

Now what Ben does is actually pretty similar to what I do with my regular clients.

Unlike Mr Lewis’s approach of ‘job done, let’s move on to the next one’ by maintaining a relationship and developing rapport with clients, we learn from each other about what’s really going to work for them and help them.

Although some things are out of our control, by monitoring, reviewing, taking alternative action and looking at ways of tweaking a client’s financial health, they stand a better chance of living up to my catch phrase of 'where we help people make their money last as long as they do.’

My experience makes me believe wholeheartedly that people need to feel comfortable enough to pick up the phone to their financial planner and not have to worry about how much this ‘one off' call will cost and indeed whether they should at all.

When it comes to money matters I see on a daily basis the value of rapport, trust and confidence that only a regular working relationship can really bring.