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[The Wrap] Promoting the value of advice

24 Jul, 6:55pm

It was somewhat of a surprise to read a piece this week about one of the industry leaders talking about her own financial advice journey.

Financial Advice chief executive Katrina Shanks penned a piece for Stuff on her financial advice journey. It reminded me of a speech I heard a couple of years ago where a well-known regulator also talked about going out and getting advice.

(Unfortunately they wouldn't let us publish it).

It is may seem weird that professionals in leadership roles in a sector like financial advice haven't actually taken any advice. It makes me wonder how many other industry leaders we have who don't seek financial advice? 

Shanks is interesting as her background is as an accountant, so you'd naturally think money management was a bit of a no brainer. Turns out she has learnt a lot from her nine-month journey so far.

It's the old story, as she says; "Busy lives, short on time." 

Reading her piece gives a good insight into what financial advisers do. It should be recommended reading for all those (including my mainstream media peers) who see financial adviser as an easy hit. You know high-commissions, potential conflicts of interest and so on.

Both people talked about how personal their advice experiences have been. It reinforces one of my fundamental beliefs that financial advice is mainly about people, trust and relationships rather than numbers and product.

What I had not anticipated is a professional outsider will very quickly know more about you than you could imagine.

Again both talked about the reactions from their spouses - largely skeptical and dismissive. That perhaps shows one of the challengers advisers face. However, in both case studies the advice process has been embraced by all of them.

How would I describe my still ongoing journey looking at my financial health, wealth and wellbeing with a financial adviser? Transformational.

Shank's says part of her motivation was due to something which happened to her father at her current age. The regulator said;

"(it) came about through a lingering uncertainty about the future without a real plan."

The regulator was quite frank;

"It’s kinda weird that having spent all my career in financial services, I had little trust for managed investment schemes and getting advice for myself. Perhaps it’s being too close to it all – a little like the painter who has the worst looking house in the street. Little trust, because why should I pay for something I should be able to do myself."

Interestingly I guess both people are probably in their 50s when they started this journey. I bet both would say, if asked, they should have sought advice much earlier in their lives.

It’s not just about money – it’s about planning around our lives and the things we want to be able to do. It’s been about finding the way to leave emotions in the decision making too. We’re sold on it. The true value of advice!

Advisers should take some confidence that someone who stands up and advocates for them, actually believes in what you do.

You can read Katrina Shank's piece here.

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