I never expected we’d be talking about this

I went to a conference a couple of years ago with Gary Vaynerchuck as the main speaker. Niall Harbison was one of the support acts at it. He is a very successful entrepreneur in his own right, who has built up a number of companies and sold them for millions. One thing he said resonated with me, “Most of the work I do is shit. Dealing with projections, staff issues, admin, money. But it’s that 20% of my time when I am creating something that makes it all worth while.” For me, working in a very heavily regulated industry, a huge amount of my work is following Central Bank regulations, creating pages of documents that people won’t read and  making sure I have a record of everything I say. And then there’s the good bit…meeting and working with clients.

 I never expected we’d be talking about this

When people come to talk me, they come loaded up with all their numbers; salary, bonus, pension, savings, shares. They can share them with me quick enough. Sure isn’t that all a financial planner is interested in?

So I have to dial it back a bit. The easiest place to start is work. How did you end up doing what you’re doing now? Do you like your job or do you want to move? If you want to move, when and what do you want to move to?

What about family? Have you kids or are they in the plans? What do they like doing?

What about when you’re not working, what do you like doing (most couples with young kids answer the same…kids related stuff!).

At some stage between telling me what they really want to do with their career, their future family plans and what they’d really love to do with their spare time, they say “I never expected we’d be talking about this”. I haven’t even talked about their money yet (well, I do ask them what their salary is). We get to that bit towards the end of the meeting and it tends to be quite a quick part of the meeting.

Why do I ask these questions?

I can’t advise you on your money properly without knowing what makes you tick. What is important to you? When I know what you want from your money and when you want it, I can give you the correct advice on it and we can work on making it happen.

The picture at the top of the page was sent to me as a joke by a client ahead of our annual planning meeting last week. At the end of the meeting, she told me the meeting was the best one we’d ever had. Why? Because we said we’d start working on how she can make a career change after 23 years in the same job.

If questions weren’t asked about what is important to her, we would have talked about investment markets, something she has no interest in. Instead, she’s excited about what we are going to do and if we put the correct steps in place she can make a huge life decision with some form of certainty. That’s the 20% of my job that makes it all worth while.

Tell me what is important to you and what you want to work towards. Drop me an email to steven@bluewaterfp.ie