Working as an adviser means we are privy to a lot of personal information and significant events in people’s lives. It is why we think our purpose is to help people prepare for, and lead them through, major life transitions.
When building trusted relationships with people, open and honest communication is essential. To help people feel comfortable working with their adviser, it is often helpful if the adviser shares something about themselves.
I thought I would share a speech I gave at our Christmas drinks in 2012. It’s my personal story on what it means to me to be an adviser.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
In the spirit of why we’re all here tonight, I have decided to stretch myself.
We spend a lot of time explaining to you what we do and how we do it, but one thing I’ve never done is explain to you why I do what I do. So tonight I want to share my story with you.
When I was 11, my dad was enjoying a beer with his best mate Ron after his regular Wednesday afternoon game of golf. When Ron said to my dad it was time for him to head home to Marianne and the kids, my dad said ‘who?’ Ron could see my dad wasn’t joking. That was our first sign that he had a brain tumour.
From that point on, life became a series of ups and downs.
I remember after his surgery thinking he would get better.
I remember his seizure in our kitchen eight months later when I knew he wouldn’t.
I remember playing for my cricket team the day after his funeral because our shared passion was cricket and he wouldn’t have wanted me to miss the game. He had coached whatever cricket team I was in for most of my life.
I remember not taking any wickets or making many runs that day. But at least, for once, I had an excuse.
I remember how nervous my mum was the day she went in to see my headmaster to say she could no longer afford my school fees.
I remember how happy she was when my headmaster said I could stay at school anyway. I was lucky.
My father was an accountant and devoted family man, but unfortunately he had not done much financial planning, so after his death we owned a house and little else.
After 12 years out of the workforce, I remember my mum trying to work out how she was going to financially support my sister and me.
I remember watching my mum making some bad financial decisions along the way.
So I did the right thing and studied hard and got good marks. I even managed to open the bowling for my school’s first XI.
When I left school I realised my beers weren’t going to buy themselves so I got a cadetship with Coopers & Lybrand. But then I wanted to buy more beers, and the occasional bottle of wine, so I moved to investment banking with Westpac. But after a few years I took a pay cut to join Qantas, and then some years later I took another pay cut to join Lorica Partners.
Now you may ask based on my family history, why would I take not one but two pay cuts and leave promising career paths in corporate finance to join an advice firm? I was already on track to live a very comfortable life. My Qantas bosses thought I was insane.
The reason I made those changes is that my previous jobs had been just that – jobs. I wanted a career that was both meaningful to me and made me feel like I was making a small difference in the world.
I also wanted a deep connection with my family like my father had, so I didn’t want to be making excuses why I missed important events or couldn’t coach my kid’s cricket teams because of work.
So I have taken massive, deliberate action to be here tonight. Over the past five years, I’ve met wonderful people and achieved some great outcomes.
I love what I do. I love helping families and often vulnerable women in transitional periods of their lives – just like my mum – to make smart financial decisions and spare them from potential disasters.
So it’s incredibly rewarding work.
Each of you has also taken massive, deliberate action to be here tonight. Each of you has decided not to leave your family’s financial future to chance. I know from experience the great responsibility you’ve passed onto us, and I take it very seriously.
It has taken me some time to be able to share this story, but I believe it is an important one to share because I know first-hand that successful financial outcomes don’t just happen and that the consequences of inaction can be severe.
I want each of you to be successful on purpose so that you and your families can live better lives.
I hope you enjoy your evening.
Author: Rick Walker