A week in the life of an IFA in London
In this blog focusing on my work week, I hope to give you a perspective on an Independent Financial Adviser’s (IFA) work life; it also helps me reflect on the quality of my work week.
Monday is unusually manic and I felt good about a very productive start to my week. I use a software called Rescuetime which also confirms with hard data that I am productive, which leaves me feeling great (when I am). I posted a blog about dark clouds over buy-to-let properties this morning - was partially prompted by a conversation with a client who asked if I could write to him summarising everything I shared with him on this topic in our meeting, as he found it it useful. Blog posted, I also had lunch with a client whose investments I am managing; I am quite a foodie and she trusts my choice. She was pleased with her Vietnamese salad and more importantly the performance of her portfolio.
Tuesday is a 'working from home' day as my office in the city is being used for film making all day. I catch up on some research and thinking time - looking at a buy-to-let mortgage for a client ironically after writing my blog earlier. However, the property is already rented out and so I have no zealous 'anti buy-to-let' pitch to make here. I did talk him out of buying a second property a few weeks ago and he really liked the logic and rationale I presented. The client has 2 young children and no life insurance and also needs to invest some money. I want to help protect his family - he does too ofcourse and so I emailed quotes across for life insurance as well as pertinent information relating to investing in ISA's. Also, a pension for his wife who runs a limited company and has no pension arrangements.
Wednesday and Thursday are a productive (seems to be my favourite word) blur of meetings. I like structuring my work week so my meetings are more or less clumped together. I really enjoy being in an introspective space when I want to do meaningful thinking work and so I keep research days meeting free where possible. I do however like the social side of my work - both meetings with clients and ocassionally colleagues. It is only the second of December, yet it seems very 'Christmasy' everywhere. My colleagues and I headed out to a spontaneous lunch together; I walked past a grinning, young man dressed as Santa at lunch time and the local Slug & Lettuce in the City was absolutely packed out. There was a lovely warm buzz in the air which I thoroughly enjoyed whilst sipping my lemonade at the bar.
Friday is focused on preparing for client meetings and a workshop. I have an ethical portfolio to construct for a client who has inherited a generous sum of money from his grandmother; this is satisfying work and I have my headphones on so I avoid conversations and distractions until I finish. I had a meeting with a client post lunch who fired her last advisor as she didn't feel he really cared or collaborated with her. When I first met her, she did not understand what she was investing in. Friday was our third meeting and she feels a lot more comfortable with pensions terminology, words like drawdown and annuity are making sense. She also understands the funds she is invested in and the rationale behind the asset allocation of her portfolio. I felt satisfied after the meeting as I really enjoy partnering with clients to empower them to get more comfortable around their money decisions and investments.
I also conducted an informal workshop after work at 6.30 pm at my office which was an inspiring, fun and a different way to spend a Friday evening! I had two friends in the audience of ten people including my best friend who is a Psychotherapist - I was a tad nervous but excited to talk about an area that I am so passionate about! The topic was 'Financial Integrity and Money' and relates to being more conscious with money. It was a great experience for me and from the feedback I received, also the participants. There were some great discussions around our thinking, programming, culturally absorbed biases and deeper values around money.
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