Roll back 20 years to October 2002 and I had the privilege to meet Margo, a delightful lady who I am proud to still call my client today.
At our first meeting, I discovered that Margo had received a sum of money and was seeking sound investment advice. She had already contacted no less than five Independent Financial Advisors – and decided they weren’t for her! Well, I must have made the right impression, because she chose me!
A Vulnerable Client Looking for Security
Now, one thing that I noticed at our first meeting was Margo had some vulnerability, so I took my time and ensured that she was treated with much care. At the time, Margo was divorced, and she hadn’t built up a pension of her own, so the aim was for her investments to provide her with an income and security. I take a lot of personal pride that those investments of 20 years ago have done exactly what she wanted – they produced a regular income for Margo, and they’ve also grown in value.
I enjoy all my conversations with Margo – in fact, they often go far beyond financial advice and life planning! We can spend hours philosophising and we discuss everything, from her own personal history to what is happening in the world today. I love her intelligence and sensitivity and I always look forward to our next meeting.
My Diverse Clients
In fact, I always pride myself on the diversity of my clients and this is reflected in the guides on my website. As you may be able to tell from Margo’s name, she is of Jewish extraction – how wonderful it is to get to know people of all cultures and religions! Writing this reminds me of when I started out as an IFA. I was invited into the home of two lovely Jewish people and the lady of the house said to me (as soon as I sat down with a cup of tea), “We are Jewish, is that OK?” I was shocked to be asked! When Mr F showed me the Auschwitz tattoo on his arm, I welled up. Of course it was OK to listen and spend time with them, why wouldn’t it be? My only regret was that I was unable to help them because their affairs were complicated, and I had only just started out as an IFA, so I didn’t have sufficient experience. Had I met them today, I would have loved to have them as clients.
Treat People With Respect!
My grandmother once told me as a child “Alan if you treat everyone as you find you will not go far wrong”. I remember those words to this day, They were indeed words of wisdom, and I have always found that if you treat everyone with the respect that they deserve you will receive their respect in return.
I feel that I am spoiled with the company of all my wonderful clients. I have built up a client niche of ‘nice people’ and I sometimes think that if I put fifty of them in a room together, within half an hour they would all be chatting together as if they were good friends (perhaps I’ll do it one day!). All my clients and I share similar values which is my main criteria for taking on new clients. I have turned away many people with substantial sums of money to invest simply because their values do not fit. Why would I want to spend my time with people who I don’t like? Life is about so much more than money!
Taking about Margo reminds me that I must get in touch with her because another chat is long overdue, not because of changes to her financial planning, this is already in good order, but because I love her company and regard her as a friend – who I haven’t seen for too long, I am going to rectify that as soon as I can.