Recently I was interviewed for an upcoming industry publication and thought our clients might be interested. Here’s how it went:
What is the most exciting/rewarding part of working in the financial planning sector?
There are many exciting and rewarding aspects to what we do. This is best summed up in the change we see in our clients’ attitude about what’s possible for them to achieve, and their confidence that they can make it happen.
Putting some context around this, when people come to see us for the first time, it’s common that they’re anxious or confused about their financial situation. Many are in a bit of a fog. They don’t know if there is a better way for their finances to be arranged, and for the most part, they’re not sure whom they can turn to for credible advice. They may also have a limited vision for what’s possible for them to achieve.
Helping our clients really get to the heart of what’s important for them in their life is the most critical step in our process. This is quite a searching conversation and sometimes it’s the first time they’ve explored this in great depth. Frequently they reveal some longstanding dream they’ve vaguely had, that they’d never uttered because they thought it was well out of reach. (And sometimes this is something they may not have even shared with their partner!) Things like wishing they could live overseas for 6 months, or retire 5 years sooner than they thought they’d have to – and these are just a couple of examples.
We’ve had clients moved to tears by the discovery that goals they didn’t know were possible were actually within reach, aided by the customised plan we create for them.
Seeing how profoundly our work improves the quality of life for our clients is really exciting for us. And we witness examples of this every week in our practice.
On your website, it says ‘feel clear and confident financially’. Could you go into more idea what you mean by this call to action?
Both elements of this statement are vitally important. By ‘clear’ we want our clients to have a good understanding of their financial circumstances as well as the pathway we put into place to help them move towards – and ultimately reach – each of their goals in their desired timeframe. This clarity fuels the confidence they have in their plan, giving them the peace of mind to sleep well at night, knowing they have a well-thought out strategy that helps them reach their goals.
Under the page ‘who works best with us’ it says you take a longer-term view and incorporate underlying assets that we believe are more likely to weather the peaks and troughs of the market as stably as possible. Why do you believe ‘slow and steady wins the race’?
It’s our philosophy that investing in a broad basket of quality assets helps to reduce the impact of market volatility (as well as the anxiety that goes with it!)
And since investment markets are, by nature, highly unpredictable over the short term, we believe you need to be invested over a longer time period to reap the full benefit.
Can you tell me about the recent successes 5 Financial has enjoyed?
Over the past five years, our client numbers have increased by around 25% p.a. Almost all of our new clients are personally referred to us by existing clients – and we regard this as a particularly pleasing statistic.
In August/September this year, our practice took part in an in-depth client survey conducted by an independent research company, the Beddoes Institute. Around 90 clients completed the survey and we were delighted to learn that the results put us in the category of ‘high performing practices’ which comprises the top 20% of firms surveyed in Australia.
Another recent success was having our Head of Wealth Management, Jason Petersen, selected as a Grand Finalist in the AFA Adviser of the Year Awards.
What is the single piece of financial advice you wish everyone followed?
Invest in a customised, written, well thought out plan to get you to where you want to be financially, and periodically measure your progress.
Do you think 5 Financial has a strength?
We get consistently high praise for the quality of our advisers and support team. The clients who work best with us are people who are looking for an ongoing relationship with an experienced advisory team and they find that with us.
What is the most important attribute for an adviser to embody?
Can we have two? Competency and listening skills (because you need both).
Can you tell me how technology has influenced how 5 Financial works?
Technology helps us to become more efficient and consistent in how we deliver our services. Many tasks that were once quite labour-intensive have become faster and simpler as a result of technology. And this helps free staff up to deliver value in other ways.
For example, the Wealth Portal we introduced gives our clients instant visibility about their cash-flow position, anytime, anywhere. Providing this data in real time would have been impossible in the past.
It also makes it easier for clients and us to prepare for meetings, as the data gathering exercise has been pretty much eliminated. Plus if a client phones in to ask a question or to seek advice, we can work from cash-flow figures that are current.
How do you think the industry will change in the next 10 years?
Technology will play a bigger role, enabling us to offer more to our clients without us necessarily having to hire a lot more staff.
What does it mean to have a AFA Adviser of the Year Finalist in your organisation?
We are very proud of Jason and are delighted that his considerable skills have been acknowledged in this way.
We think it gives existing clients satisfaction knowing the adviser they chose to look after their financial affairs is recognised by his peers as having such highly-regarded expertise. Potential clients will be reassured by the knowledge that the person they’re going to see is very well thought of in his profession.
Is 5 Financial involved in any activities outside of financial planning (example: does the business help out in the community) or do any of the employees do anything amazing outside of office hours?
Many of our team members are hardworking volunteers in their local communities, including supporting surf lifesaving and local sporting clubs.
5 Financial also provides support to WaterAid, a not-for-profit organisation that’s dedicated to supplying clean water and sanitation to the world’s poorest communities.
If you’d like to know more about how 5 Financial can help you gain greater clarity and confidence about your financial state, feel free to make contact.
We offer a no-obligation, complimentary initial consultation so we can each determine whether we are a good fit for one another. Book a free appointment today.