A day in the life of a financial planner (according to stock photos)
Stock photos can be used for both good and evil. Like the spawn of the devil, they can scream "cliche" faster than an attractive retired couple holding hands on a beautiful beach (obligatory hammock in the background).
Take a deep breath and let's take a leisurely, pictorial stroll through the world of financial advice.
I present to you, “A day in the life of a financial planner, according to stock photos”.
The bad ones.
8.00 am: Prepare for the day
Financial planners have one true love.
It’s not coffee, gold watches, blue shirts or Windows computers, as you might expect. Oh no. It’s something deeper and far more profound.
In fact most financial planners have such a love affair with graphs they typically start their day by hand drawing them (a) for pure unadulterated fun, and (b) simply because they are graphs.
9.00 am: Team meeting
Shortly after their daily graph drawing exercise, financial planners typically hold team meetings.
The team commences each meeting with a cheerleader inspired song and dance routine to a Bieber-Beyonce mega mix, that features complex hand moves that signify trust, professionalism and great manicures.
Financial planners also like consensus. Apparently, it’s a numbers thing.
So as issues are raised and discussed during the meeting, the team votes on the next course of action, the only way they know how.
In the absence of a dislike symbol, everything is always agreed upon.
However it’s not all thumbs up, sunshine and roses.
Despite team meetings generally needing to be only 10 minutes long, they will likely be expanded to the customary hour. Over the 60 minutes several people will excuse themselves to use the bathroom, but actually go and find a quiet corner to rock in quiet unison with the tick tock tick tock of the office clock.
And when the meeting is finished, it’s back to work.
10.00 am: Meet with clients — young family
Financial planners help people from all walks of life.
But there is one characteristic they all share.
They are beautiful.
Oh so beautiful.
Advisers love meeting with young families because all that perfect hair and blindingly white teeth is actually rather pleasant.
The families also have children who live in a dirt-free world and wear white on a daily basis. No child of a financial planning client has ever “accidently” smeared vegemite on their little brother.
They sit quietly and patiently on their parents’ laps and look with interest at the graphs (oh the graphs!) with their parents. They don’t burrow into iPads in the corner of the room, pick the small, decorative stones from the office pot plants, or roll about on the floor.
Rolling about and flashing those pearly whites is generally an activity saved for weekends.
Of course there’s a lot of decisions to make when families are just starting out. And a financial adviser will take them through all the options using hand gestures reminiscent of The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.
But the real question most young clients ask is:
“Should I invest?”
“Or should I save?”
Once a decision is made and the magical button is pushed, the financial planner implements the plan.
Woo hoo! Ride 'em cowboy.
12.00 pm: Quick lunch break
With several meetings complete, financial advisers will generally take a quick break for lunch.
It’s not uncommon for them to have a working lunch or share a healthy meal with a colleague. This often involves salad.
But advisers need time for themselves too, so many will head off to a quiet, dark room, and relax with some more graphs. Not just any graph, but blue graphs. And graphs that defy both gravity and the fact that fingers do not normally have the ability to write in magical fluorescent ink.
1.00 pm: Meet with clients — retirees
Usually the afternoon brings more meetings with clients.
Financial planners help a lot of the older generation too, particularly in planning for their retirement.
It is important to note, that in financial planning land, retirement is defined by four key things:
1. Sign posts
Every self-respecting financial adviser that creates a “road map” for their clients, despite the fact that it is 2015 and there is quite the proliferation of GPS devices, needs a large green sign to point the way.
Of course in previous generations, this was marked by the almighty compass.
2. Nest eggs
No retirement is complete without a hand made nest overflowing with glowing, golden eggs. It is believed the orgin of the golden eggs came with the demise of the gold watches that were once bestowed upon those entering retirement.
3. The beach
Sandy white beaches and relaxed-fitting, white linen attire, deep tans and silver hair, are a solid requirement for every retiree.
4. Deck chairs
When retirees need to rest from those long walks on the beach they don’t just sit in chairs or lounges. They only rest at sunset. And they only sit in deck chairs.
3.00 pm: Succession planning
Many financial planners schedule time in their day to not just work on their business, but on figuring out how to get out of it.
With all the changes that have happened in the financial planning industry over the past few years, many advisers are thinking of retiring to the land of white linen, yachts and deck chairs themselves, while others are looking at a sideways move and opting for a career change.
The good news is, financial advisers opting for a new career path, already have training in an industry that has been around for centuries, and isn’t going anywhere fast.
Yes, money does grow on trees. Seedlings do sprout from small piles of gold coins.
And faster than you can say, “Is Don Burke wearing a woolly jumper?”, your new profession is born.
4.00 pm: Chat with a BDM
Of course the day of a financial planner is simply not complete without (a) a BDM calling to arrange an appointment to tell you about their wiz-bang new product (b) some kind of promotional gift/bribe from said BDM.
These gifts typically come in the form of pens, stress balls, pens, mouses, pens, volume bonuses, pens, mouse pads, pens or golf umbrellas, emblazoned with product provider logos.
Regular contact with a BDM is also known in some circles as “free drinks” or “golf”. These activities are often combined in what is known as a “professional development day” (worth at least 5 CPD points).
5.00 pm: Head home
At the end of the day, advisers head home to their crisp, white, mess-free homes and ever-smiling families, to relax and get ready for another day.
Thank you for being a financial planner.