Last year, while presenting at the Personal Finance Society conference, I reminded the audience: "Helping people get what they want – that's what we do."
But then, as often happens, a crazy thought found its way into my head. I exclaimed: "Financial planning – it's the sexiest job in the world."
"Wow, that was good", I thought to myself, rather smugly.
It must have resonated with a few in the audience too, because heads went down and they started to scrawl some notes (it's always a relief to see that happening).
Trouble is: I've not been able to stop thinking about that statement ever since.
I was right! Financial planning is the sexiest job in the world.
It helps people to identify, achieve and maintain their desired lifestyle; it helps people live life to the full; it gives people clarity and confidence over where they are heading; it gives people more time, more choices, more freedom, more life.
That's what I call financial planning. We have the power to change client’s lives for the better. It really is sexy.
So, if that's the case, why aren't people queuing at the door for this amazing service? And why aren't people queuing to join our ‘profession'?
Perhaps others don't see it for what it really is. And why might that be?
I believe that financial planning has become the most misunderstood term in the English language – primarily due to the vested interests of the product pushing, asset-gathering industry. Most advisors (including far too many CFPs and Chartered planners) think financial planning is something to do with arranging products and investments, or using up various tax allowances, or rebalancing portfolios, or sorting out a pension transfer, or generally implementing a financial transaction.
It's not. These are things you do, if necessary, after you've done the financial plan. I believe all that stuff falls under the banner of ‘financial advice', or ‘investment advice'. It's definitely not financial planning. Not where I come from.
Besides, most clients find that stuff really boring. And it certainly ain't sexy. (continued.)