By Cleona Lira, 10th December, 2014
In my diary of an IFA in London series, I write about my work week.
I know its going to be a good day when I don’t check my emails first thing. I get my cup of tea in bed, made by my beloved husband who leaves home early and read the previous day’s Financial Times in bed. I like to spring out of bed feeling excited about getting my goals accomplished – like I imagine Tony Robbins (US based life coach) does-on a good day. Today feels like an excellent day.
I usually clear my email inbox as part of my Sunday night ritual – I go through all my emails for the week, replying to anyone I haven’t already, filing everything neatly into folders. It helps me feel ready for the work flow of Monday.
Mondays are a day reserved for admin so I avoid client meetings on this day. Monday mornings, I look at my list of activities for the day and tackle the biggest,baddest frog first. Frog, you ask? You know, Bryan Tracy talks about your “frog” being your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. So, I get down to business – scratching items off my list as I go along. I have 3 pieces of research that I need to finish – a large mortgage, a pension transfer with a portfolio with passive funds and a new pension for the director of a limited company. Nice and varied. The mortgage is going to take longest as I have to contact several different providers to scout for the best deal for my client.
Tuesday is focused on getting the best rates for this large mortgage deal. My client is buying a home in Central London at a pretty price. I have rung around all the banks (that offer big mortgages) high value teams, then the private banks and a couple of the private banks are extremely keen to get this business. The credit teams at these banks tend to be cautious and want to see all paperwork beforehand…but I am organised and armed with everything they need. This work has taken all my focus today with various phone calls between me, the client and the bank offering the most competitive rate. I have politely declined meeting offers from the other provider wanting to pitch for the business; no point wasting their time at this stage.
Wednesday is focused on getting the private banker all the information he needs and the process is on its way, I can now relax about this piece of work. They have met; the banker now knows the client is not a figment of my imagination. Lunch is with a client who I have been talking to for a while about transferring his pension across. We have known each other for years; the meeting is friendly and we are both quite engaged with each other, flitting from business to banter and back to business. Even though the trust levels are high, he asks me some tough questions and I answer, thoroughly convinced that my proposed solution is worth it. He likes the portfolio I have constructed with the least expensive passive funds in the market, he likes low costs, I give him a bunch of paperwork to read before he signs it after going through the mandatory bits with him and we set up a meeting for the following week.
Thursday is busy, busy, busy. I have 2 client meetings in Canary Wharf followed by a third in sunny Shepherd’s Bush. I agreed to visit my client in Shepherd’s Bush as she has young children to pick up from school- its also not a long journey on the tube; I enjoy reading my kindle on the tube, decompressing from meetings if you will. I don’t own a car, I am a Londoner and public transport rocks. I am also frugal and cars are an unnecessary expense for me. The meeting goes well – the client asks a lot of questions, takes careful notes and we agree to meet again in a couple of weeks.
Friday requires me to be a human courier and rush some urgent documents from my client to the banker. A bike courier would normally do but having been scarred with documents being misplaced within departments in a large organisation before, I rush to do it myself. I have a few client phone calls, meetings to book for the following week, paperwork to print for next weeks client review meetings and then after that…its Friday fun. I meet a friend for lunch – hey! I am self employed and choose my working hours… Lunch over, I head over to research ethical funds at the British Library. I love the library, I have a reader pass and spend many an afternoon speed reading through books and feeling inspired about a new blog post. By 6 pm, I return my books to the librarian and exit the British Library feeling good about a productive week and look forward to a relaxing weekend.
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