I’ve been a financial adviser for about 17 years, and have met with quite literally hundreds of clients. I’ve always found it fascinating to learn how people think and act in respect of their wealth. The conversations I have with clients tend to have common themes.
The financial planning process itself is pretty straightforward. At the initial meeting I aim to understand the client; their current situation, objectives and preferences. After all it’s all about them. Thereafter, I prepare recommendations in respect of appropriate strategies, structures and investments that will help increase the chances of them achieving their objectives.
As such, for me, it’s the interaction with clients that I find interesting. Listening to a client, and confirming back to them my understanding of their objectives and preferences is, of course, paramount in this process. This process can be straightforward or lengthy, as many clients are unclear as to exactly what their objectives are, and what they may need to do in order to achieve them.
My discussions with clients often come down to the same following points:
- Spend less than you earn
- Invest surplus income in quality assets that generate income
- Review your investment portfolio on a regular basis
- Structure your financial affairs as simply as possible, but no simpler
- And when it comes to the investments themselves:
- I don’t, and can’t, promise to ‘shoot out the lights’ on investment returns (Quite frankly, if I could do that on a consistent longer term basis I wouldn’t need a day job!)
- Risk, or the volatility in the value of your investments, always, ALWAYS, equals return
- Risk is not necessarily a bad thing or something to be avoided (If you avoid all risk that the value of your investments would decline, all you’d be left with are bank deposits paying 1.75% per year. So don’t avoid all risks, however, make sure that you understand the risks and receive an appropriate level of compensation for assuming them.)
My aim is always to place my client in a position from which to make an informed decision. The decision is always theirs to make. I’m simply looking to provide constructive input to assist them.