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What advisers are saying: Intention Vs action

From retirement planning to wealth-preservation strategies, there is a clear and present difference between intention and action. This is a common thread running through much of the research we have undertaken recently.

Advisers appreciate the importance of certain (usually more complex) financial solutions; they see the relevance and recognise the market need… yet something breaks down. Something (or some things) prevent the smooth transition of intention to action. And so more often than not there is a gap between what happens on an average day at the office and what we’d like to see happening.

Understanding what lies in this gap is the key to greater fulfilment, both personally and in respect of our businesses.

While most won’t admit it, on the whole we’ll choose to avoid those activities that carry with them a risk of our appearing anything less than competent. This is all the more salient given that advisers are typically delivering a higher level of service to a smaller group of clients with more sophisticated needs. This raises the stakes. This group is more important to our business and so there is more risk attached. Where there is more risk, there is a tendency to act to mitigate that risk and operate in a more conservative manner. We prefer to stick to the things we know we’re good at. That’s human nature.

But you can’t master what you don’t practise and evidence suggests that we’re not all practising, and this applies to a broad spectrum of more technically demanding solutions. But if sticking to what we know means avoiding that which may be in the client’s best interest (even when it’s out of our comfort zone), then there’s a problem. If we purport to offer holistic financial planning, then any disengagement is at best a missed opportunity and at worst negligence.

Our habits are powerful. We create deep grooves through our daily routines that make it easier to perform roles and tasks. But these grooves (although smooth) are not always aligned to what we really want to achieve. While they may have served us in the past, they may no longer be in our best interests.

This is often the difference between intent and action. Because to effect lasting change requires not just awareness and action, but the repeated carrying out of that action, even when it’s less familiar and when we encounter resistance. What is it that you need to do to begin to forge the new grooves that will better serve you, your business and your clients?

Phil Wickenden is managing director of So Here’s The Plan phil@soherestheplan.com

Wickenden 4 Oct

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