Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to play golf at some fantastic courses around the world. During a recent round with a client it struck me how similar my role and that of a golf caddie are; I saw first-hand how a caddie provided an element of support which contributed to a very successful round. For the most part, the caddie stood quietly to our side, but ready to hand the right club for the shot and offer advice – technical or otherwise – when needed. It was this element of advice which really stood out; ahead of the game the caddie explained that he’d checked the course set-up to identify any areas of danger and opportunity as well as considering the weather, wind and course conditions. This information was there to share when needed to provide that all important strategic advice. As well as that he offered moral and mental support through the game, making suggestions about playing the shot or simply offering congratulations or the chance to talk through something which hadn’t gone to plan.
It’s not that different for those of us who offer financial advice; ultimately the success of good financial planning is having the right support. The best planners stand by their clients’ side as they work towards their goals, stay up to date with regulations, follow market conditions and consider risk tolerance and insurance protection. This knowledge is then used to provide informed advice, allowing each client to make sound financial decisions.
And in the same way as that invaluable caddie, we also provide the moral and mental support that’s much needed when making difficult financial decisions. We understand each client’s personal circumstances, family commitments and long-term aspirations and can offer a sounding board or different perspective. Many clients find it hard to separate their decision-making – the emotional side of human nature means some decisions, or stages of life, can be worrying or confusing. A good financial planner stays focused on each client’s goals, and keeps things on track as needed.
So if you consider 18 holes of golf as the financial game of life, the caddie/financial planner is there in the wings helping to get you where you need to be – with the best possible outcome. We understand there may be bogeys and birdies along the way – similar to the ups and downs of the market. Yet we always remember that it’s the end result which matters, and consider the overall round – not just a good or bad hole!
Gary Smithson, Financial Planner