Practise what you preach

It is immoral to make a recommendation that you would not equally adopt for yourself. Make a difference in your own life and start to accumulate assets that can produce an income instead of buying things that only provide short-term gratification.

Quite often you come across professionals who help and advise people, but who ignore their own advice. This trait is all too typical in our industry. There are too many financial advisers who advise one way and then fail to act on their own advice.

While clients never seem to have saved enough, or cleared their mortgage, or are credit debt free, it is not untypical that their financial adviser has the same issues.

The general public has an image of a financial adviser as being wealthy. Surely, you might think, an expert in financial matters would drive an expensive car, live in a six bedroom house in a rich area and always be flying off to sunny climes. Maybe they should have a boat, the children would attend public school and they’d even own a second home in the country.

The opposite is surely ridiculous. You cannot have a financial adviser who is poor, who has made poor investment decisions, or failed to provide for their retirement. They must be wealthy since they know what to do. Surely?

Sadly, this is not always the case. The image I painted above is not just an image the general public might expect, but one the financial adviser would equally expect. Yes, a sound financial adviser will make a good living, but that tends to translate into more spending. The image takes over, and high earnings are rarely saved.

The message is simple. As a financial adviser, it is vital to put your own savings and long-term investment plans in place before the spend, and more importantly, before you advise others.

One of the best questions a customer can put to you is, “Where do you put your money?”

Obviously, that should be irrelevant to the specifics of a client who may have very different circumstances. However, the common goal for every client, who does not have excess wealth, is the need to build and accumulate assets. You need to accumulate assets and so do your less wealthy clients.

The downside of being good with money is the procrastination of savings. With greater income comes greater borrowing against that future income. The expensive car is leased, the grand house is heavily mortgaged, the public school fees are a monthly struggle and credit cards are high in debt.

Financial advisers who are able to display those various wealthy attributes appear to be very successful – but it may just be an image. It’s important you do as you preach and work hard to save regularly to accumulate your own assets.