Shhh, don’t tell anyone – I have a financial planner

I’ve been a financial planner for over two decades now, but what many still find surprising is that I use a financial planner myself. I get it, some people see this as undermining my experience, my expertise. But I have to disagree.

Let’s look at the sporting world. Novak Djokavic is ranked the world’s number one tennis player. He quite literally plays better tennis than anyone else on the planet. Does he coach himself? No, of course not. He turns to other experts in his field to help him improve – Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic have both coached him.  The best person in the world at tennis gets advice from other tennis players and yet in my industry, it is not commonplace to turn to your peers for your own financial advice.

This played out at a recent dinner event I went to. At a table surrounded by others in the financial planning industry, we were discussing financial education and the topic of financial advice for us came up. I asked the table of 20 how many had their own financial planners. Just three put their hands up. Three, out of 20! When I was asked if I had one, I said yes – and in a strange twist of fate I happened to be sitting next to her.

Let’s walk the walk

In the past, I have been challenged by clients. Grilled even, about my own financial decisions and how and where I invest my own money. They were turning to me to help them with a fundamental part of their lives – it’s understandable that they would want to know how I manage things closer to home. Being able to say that I take the exact same approach that I am recommending them to take is a huge reassurance to them. And it genuinely helps to build the trust you need to go on this journey together. We need to be able to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Not only that, though. Why would I assume that I know everything there is to know about my industry? Does anyone? Absolutely not (and if anyone says they do, they’re clearly lying). It’s time for us all to channel our inner Djokovic and embrace taking advice from other experts in our field.