Last week I was super lucky to meet this guy, Carl Richards, AKA ‘The Sketch Guy’. For those of you who don’t Carl, I can detail his bio in this blog, or you can click here. I encourage you to also read his personal story, which featured in the New York Times – titled ‘How a Financial Pro Lost His House’. It’s ironic yet fascinating.
I’ve spent the last 12 or so years helping people manage money. The best part of those years was with a large corporation. The job was great. I learnt a lot, met a bunch of great people, and my network grew dramatically. However, I must admit, in the earlier years, which I believe makes a huge impact in the long run (like investing), I began to feel as though there was supposed to be one way of “doing things”. My education and personal beliefs were challenged. But what do I know? I was a university graduate with a degree in financial and risk management, who made pizza on the weekends.
Deep down I felt as though things could be done a little differently. It was 2 years ago I decided to quit my corporate job and start a real wealth management firm.
Over the years, listening to, reading from, and watching people like Carl has validated my true beliefs about money management, the way clients should be advised, and how a real wealth management firm should be run.
Here are 3 things that I’ve learnt from Carl:
It’s a natural human bias to not sit down and plan for the future. We spend more time, energy, and effort planning our holidays than planning our financial lives. Yet the little time we spend on our finances, we focus most, if not all our time on whether one strategy or investment will outperform another. Seldom do we think about making decisions with our money and investments, and tying these back to our lives.
Our lives are not spreadsheets – they’re a little more complicated. We work so hard, year after year, for what? Only you can answer that question. The best robo-advice offering won’t be able to answer this for you. Or have the open, honest dialogue that a good adviser can have with you. One that should be consultative and creative.
Simplicity trumps complexity
Think about the iPhone. The entire phone is controlled by one button and touch screen. Yet the complexity behind the screen is mind boggling. Our industry spends so much time and effort to over complicate things in an attempt purport intelligence – when in fact the converse is true.
Just because financial markets are a complex system, your strategies and investments don’t need to be. We work really hard to present our advice in a manner that’s easy to understand. And our goal is to ultimately simplify our clients’ lives.
Just be yourself
We hear it all the time, “just be yourself”. What does this even mean? For me, it meant being totally transparent with clients. It meant being completely honest, and telling the truth without an agenda or predetermined outcome. People come to us because they want advice. They want to know what we think. When dealing with human beings, people prefer to deal with the real human being. Not a mouth piece for someone or something else.
Dr Thomas Sowell once said, “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear”.