Episode 69 – Finding Financial Planners with Kate Holmes

How do you go about finding a financial advisor to help you with financial wellbeing? We have a great chat with Kate Holmes for you in this episode. Kate is a big advocate of financial planning and helps advisors in America to deliver financial planning rather than just financial advice. Lots of really good tips to help people find the right adviser for them, especially those who help people spend their money on increasing their wellbeing. Along with Bage’s Biases and #tightasstommo’s money saving ideas . . .

Welcomes & Introductions

What is today’s podcast all about?

Bages Biases

Every episode, Behavioral Finance expert, Neil Bage is going to be giving us his money behavioral tip. Exploring and thinking a little bit about the behavioral traits we have towards money can inform us, so we can make better money decisions going forward.
– Link to Episode 36 – Understanding our attitude to risk
– Link to Episode 21 – Financial capability
– Link to BeIQ | Beam App

This episode – Anchoring

#TightAssTommo

Featuring . . . Cut price hot tubs (just don’t ask where the bubbles come from 🙈), choosing an executor for your will and finding out if your pension is being underpaid – click here to visit the LCP.uk.com website for more details

Interview with Kate Holmes

Kate currently lives in Las Vegas – and explains it is not all about the gambling

Kate has been in the industry or profession for over 15 years, and has seen over and over again – it’s not about the investments. It’s not about products. At the heart of it all, it’s actually helping people figure out what they want from life

Kate wants to change the conversations and show people what financial planning really is – that inner search first and then using money as a tool second

What are the typical things clients want to use money for?

Dreams that people don’t always allow themselves to think about.

Is payment a form of validation?

What are the main blockages that stop people using wealth to be happier?

People don’t know what actually being happier looks like

Financial Planners need to first do this work themselves before they work with clients

The trouble is knowing what you actually want

Taking the time to stop and do nothing for a while, in order to work out what you do want

A global financial crisis will have devastating conversations, but there are also a lot of bright points at the same time. The crisis becomes a catalyst for saying ‘So that’s gone, what do you want?’

Different attitudes to money around the world

People really are ready to work with advisors who arn’t just trying to sell a product or manage investments. They want someone to help really figure our what they want their life to look like and creating a plan with their money to do that.

Chris and his experience trying to find financial advice with no assets to invest.

Financial Planner, Financial Coach, what name do we apply?

What should we be looking for when we want to engage an advisor who understands wellbeing, finding purpose and not just talking about investments?

  • talk to at least three diverse advisors
  • Google search then take some time reading through websites, do they talk about wellbeing and life-0style planning?
  • are they transparent with pricing?
  • listen out for the first questions they ask, how quickly do they ask how much you have to invest

What has living in Las Vegas taught Kate about people’s relationship with money?

Conclusions from the guys

Click here for more information on the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing


Do you have any financial wellbeing questions you would like us to answer? Or do you have a #tightasstommo money saving tip you would like to share with our listeners?

If so, let us know by going to Twitter @Finwellbeing or email – contact@financialwell-being.co.uk

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Financial Wellbeing Book please click on this link to visit Penny Brohn UK shop


Transcribe of the Podcast Script:

(scroll to the bottom to listen to the episode)

David
Hello everybody and welcome to another one in our long running series of Financial Wellbeing Podcasts. As ever in recent weeks, and indeed months, we’ve been doing these in a socially distanced way so instead of in a room together, we all gather on our laptops in our own different houses. My name is David Lloyd, and joining me today is Chris Budd.

Chris
Good morning.

David
And Tom Morris

Producer Tommo
Good morning.

Producer Tommo
Is that our intro’s done?

David
Yeah. No, no no . . .

Chris
I thought we might try and up the professionalism a little bit Tommo, what do you think?

Producer Tommo
I think that that long went!

David
We’ve done that, we’ve done the professionalism. Now let’s have the meaningless chat Chris, what’s bothering you?

Chris
Well, you know what David, this week, I did something that is going to be the last time in my entire life that I do it, I reckon. I bought a new cricket bat. I only play 20 over games, three or four times a year. I can’t imagine I’m ever gonna need another one but it is a bit of a beaut to have to say. I played with it on Wednesday, and the first ball that was delivered to me, sent for four

David
Nice one

Producer Tommo
This is really important that you have a good bat, because you’re not doing the running like you used to do, so you need to make sure it reaches the boundry.

David
I have my cricket bat which I’ve now had for 10 years, it doesn’t get a lot of things I have to say. It was given to me by a professional cricketer who’s been given a whole selection of bats by his sponsor, and this was one that he just didn’t take to. It’s the best I’ve ever had he’s far too good for me. It’s got a lot more runs in it that I’m never going to score, but yeah but I still going. But I know exactly what you mean Chris. How you doing, Tommo?

Producer Tommo
Do you know, I’m all right. Actually, yeah, on the sports theme, and we’re recording this in this, in the summer. So, this is probably going to be going out in the middle of the winter so you know this is the way we try and get ahead of time, and I had my best round of golf yesterday. All summer. I was delighted, I scored, those you know golf, I scored 39 on Stapleford. Yeah, Chris Yeah.

Chris
Thats got your handicap cut that is.

Producer Tommo
It is. It got I’ve got one of these electronic ones because I’m not member at courses, I play wherever I can get around in, and it cut me last night, so I’m quite chuffed, yeah, yeah. Beat the old man four and three as well. So yeah,

Chris
That’s what really matters. Let’s be honet

Producer Tommo
Loser buys the round so . . .

David
Right so what’s on today’s podcast Chris.

Chris
Today we have an interview with a lovely American lady called Kate Holmes, who has been a financial advisor, but now trains financial advisors and how to give our type of advice, financial wellbeing and financial planning advice. So she’s got loads of really good tips for people about their money.

David
Great, looking forward to her insight, but before we do, it’s time for our two regular features. I will start with the first of those two which is Bage’s Behavioural Biases. So, this is where an old friend of the podcast, behavioural finance expert Neil Bage, gives us his one minute introduction with different behavioural bias that affects how we make decisions about money. This week, Neil is going to tell us about Anchoring.

Neil Bage
When people are trying to make a decision, they often use an anchor, or a focal point as a good place to start. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information they see, that anchor, which can have a big impact on the decisions they end up taking. There was a great experiment from New York that proves the power of anchoring, with a bit of framing thrown in for good measure. So New York cabs, that carried a traditional tip option where riders would enter their tip amount found that on average their tip level was 9%. Now they knew they wanted to increase this level. So, in experimental cabs, they added in a new machine that anchored people to a different set of numbers. They pre-programmed tip amounts in, starting with the highest going down to the lowest. So, 30% 25% 20%, and then other. So what did they find? Well, they found a big difference in the outcome. A 13% difference to be exact. Tips jumped to an average of 22%. Now just to put that into context on a $20 cab ride that tip went for $1.80 to $4.40. Now on those numbers and assuming 30 cab customers a day. It meant that drivers tips, increased by around $78, a day, just by changing the way that the information was presented, which can have a significant impact on the outcome. Anchoring is really powerful. And we should be aware of how anchored we are to the information we absorb as we go through our daily lives.

David
Wow that’s quite significant, isn’t it about how if you if you let people choose themselves they may not necessarily be as generous as if you just leave them in a certain direction.

Chris
Yeah, this is used all the time and advertising and marketing to get you to spend more money than you might like to. I mean, there’s two for one offers, and I’m not suggesting this happens all the time, but I suspect on occasion – what you do is you increase the price by 50% and then say, third one free. Three is the price of two sort of stuff. So there’s loads of different ways that this is used to get us to spend more money than we need, and being aware of it and particularly being aware of how susceptible you personally are to it, can make a big difference to how you spend money on your happiness.

Producer Tommo
Just think about a financial planning example, a couple that come to mind. The business owner has once been told his business is worth x. It might not be reality but they anchor themselves to that, that price, that they sre told the value the business might be, it’s very difficult for them to get away from that. The other one is an estate agent overinflated the house, the value of your house because they want your business. And again you then get very wedded to that’s what the house is worth, and I’m not willing to shift on it. Just two examples that I can think of where anchoring a position yourself particular value means that you’re unable to really shift yourself.

Chris
There’s another example as well which is about comparison. I’m going to quote Roosevelt again, because I think it’s such a great quote that “comparison is the thief of joy”. And there’s one study which offered people, a choice of two salaries salary – one was 50,000, by the way everybody else you know is earning 200,000. Or you can have a salary of 30,000, oh by the way everybody else should know is earning 20,000. And the vast majority of people choose the lower salaries, because it was anchored against a lower figure. So it’s a fascinating subject to anchoring and it’s used all the time in money.

Producer Tommo
We have said in previous podcasts we’re working closely with Neil, he’s got a, an app out there called the BEAM, you can get it on Apple I believe at the moment.

David
Can you just spell that for us Tommo?

Producer Tommo
B-E-A-M, So you go on your Apple store and I believe is coming through Android, type in BEAM, and you will get this BEAM, Self-Aawareness is the one. And you go in there and you just do all these tests, gamified quite fun. Don’t even realise what areas they’re trying to test and it will come out and it will look at something by anchoring how much you receptive to anchoring. And then we use use this data and it links through with something we’ve got at Ovation, we talk to clients about this, and we let them understand where the’re positioned are, and it can be really eye opening and help them with some of the decisions they’ve made in the past. And the way that they make decisions. So, I thought I’d mention that that is going on, and and check out that app.

David
Right, thank you very much, but don’t go Tommo, because we’re going to come back to you in a minute because it’s time for our next feature #tightasstommo. But I’m going to kick off this time with a way to save yourself a substantial amount of money, indeed, several thousand pounds. For some time now, it’s always been my dream to have a hot tub. I’ve always thought that would be nice. Be nice to be out in the garden you know in the sunny weather or perhaps even when it’s a bit cold. Looking at the stars, sitting in a hot tub. You know, a decent, hot tub is going to cost you £5000 – £6000, and at the moment I didn’t really feel justified spending that amount of money. So guess what listeners, I built my own! You can go on my Twitter, @dave_backwell and see a photograph of it. I’m rather proud of it and my partner Gale and I used it once and it was absolutly marvelous. Now it’s not a hot tub with disco music and bells and all of that it’s basically an outdoor bath, that you fill from a hose pipe that comes out of the kitchen window, and then you sit in it. But because of the insulation, it stayed warm for about three hours. In fact, it was so warm we had to get out at one point and put a little cold water into it, because it wouldn’t go cold. That cost me, the plastic drinking trough that was free. The polystyrene was given to me. I use some old bits of fence panelling, I had to go buy some odd bits of woods and timber framing, a little bit of decking at the top. I reckon it cost me about £150 tops.

Chris
I’m rather nervous about asking this question David, but where did the bubbles come from?

David
There are no bubbles unless you make your own.

Producer Tommo
Why did I know you’re gonna go there! Sorry listeners.

David
Basically you fill it up and then you drain it away. Now you may say well that’s a hell of a waste water, which, if that was all you did with it, it would be. I am in the process of getting myself a submersible pump, so that I can put that into the hot tub, pump the water out into a big tub, and then use that to water the garden

Producer Tommo
I love that

David
So ther you are, save yourself a load of money by building your own hot tub

Producer Tommo
Or employ you to do it?

David
Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad idea because I could do with the money at the moment! Chris what have you got for us?

Chris
Mine far more serious than that brilliant one David. If anybody’s writing a will, they will have to make a decision about an executor. The executor of the will is the person who enacts the will when the time comes, and my tip is get a friend or family member to be the executor. Do not let the solicitor, or particularly the bank, appoint themselves as executor, which quite often happens. The bank, some banks charge up to 3% of an estate value for acting as an executor, this is a hugely expensive and I mean literally 10 times more than you would otherwise need to pay. So if you get a friend to do it, then they can of course appoint a solicitor to give them the advice later to give him the legal advice, but your cost will be massively low and when when somebody is dealing with somebodies estate, the last thing they want to be doing is having arguments about who’s executors because it’s obviously a difficult time. So, yeah, when you appoint your executor make sure it’s a trusted family or friend,

Chris
Having been executor or both my parents world, it’s actually not that difficult a process.

Producer Tommo
So I’ve had similar experience recently unfortunately where some clients of Ovation passed away, and the family executor is employing as alongside a really well qualified probate solicitor to help and guide them has worked really well and this is the combination of experts on our side, on the probate side and the executor in the middle. And ultimately, a lot of the things that somebody can do at a lower cost, they can do, but when you need the expertise, bring them in and it means that you are paying for exactly what you need so it’s worked. I’ve seen it work, and I completely agree with you and Chris on that one. So yeah, I’m with you all the way. Anyway, you want to know my tip don’t you?

David
Okay, so never let it be said that we don’t cover lots of interesting different topics on this podcast. So we’ve had build your own hot tub. We’ve had appoint a decent and cheap executor, but now let’s go back to the Titan of Tightness himself for this week’s Tightass Tommo tip.

Producer Tommo
Well, this one is a little bit niche and might be one that, for our listeners, or it might be one for you to speak to somebody who is in this bracket – so it’s going to be for those who are quite, of the older generation, 70 plus. I don’t know if, you probably won’t remember him but I do, Steve Webb was the pensions minister in the Tory/Lib Dem coalition from 2010 to 2015. And he was actually really quite a competent one, in my humble opinion, compared to what has gone before and after, but we’ll leave it there. But, but when he left when he left office in 2015 he moved into the pension industry, and he’s been giving great insight since, to his credit. And he’s noticed that there is this gap for a lot of married women and their state pensions, so there are a lot of married women about 70 plus, who are not necessarily receiving the amount they should due to some computer glitches not properly recording what they should be entitled to. Now I’m not going to go into the detail here because it is a bit, bit in depth but he is working for a company that’s got a fantastic, particular calculator on this and all the details so, it’s going to be in the show notes. So here goes quite long web address, it is lcp.uk.com/isyourstatepensionbeingunderpaid. And some great stuff there, a calculator to see whether you should be getting some more. And also how to claim it if you should be. So it will be in the show notes, but for some people this could be a, you know, quite a bit of extra pension income that they’re entitled to that for whatever reason has not been given to them so far. So there you go, well done Steve Webb.

David
Thank you for that. Chris, why don’t you bring us on to today’s main event.

Chris
We’re gonna have a listen to my chat with Kate Holmes. Kate has her own podcast called the Innovating Advice Podcast, as we’ll here she lives in Las Vegas, which is pretty cool. And she’s an advocate for financial planning and helps advisors in America to deliver financial planning rather than financial advice. In other words, talk about our and stuff, rather than just talk about products. So let’s have a listen to my chat with Kate Holmes.

Chris
Kate thank you so much for joining us.

Kate Holmes
Chris, it is awesome to be here. Thank you for having me

Chris
Where do we find you in America?

Kate Holmes
I am in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sin City.

Chris
Are you really? You live in Las Vegas?

Kate Holmes
I do yes!

Chris
Wow, do you have lots of clients to talk financial advice to there?

Kate Holmes
It’s actually a really wonderful place to live. It’s great because, for a lot of reasons, but one of them is – everyone comes to Vegas from all over the world. So, we lived in Denver, for five years, and we hardly saw anybody there. It’s a great city, I love Denver, but being in Vegas peopole come either for holidays or for confrences or on a world tour just to checki it off the list. So, it’s fun to get to see people, but when most people think of Vegas, they just think of The Strip. But in reality that is honestly one single street in what is actually a massive city. We’ve got about 2.3 million people here and surrounded by mountains, its a super athletic city, tons of hiking, biking, its great.

Chris
So Las Vegas isn’t just about the gambling then?

Kate Holmes
It’s not just about the gambling. The Strip is pretty much about the gambling, but that also makes it fun to do a little, feel like you are on a mini getaway, even being at home. The Strip is about 15 minutes from us, so all the great shows that come to town, and we’ve got sports here now, all the great concerts and theatre, so, it’s a good variaty.

Chris
So, I’m going to come back to that in a second, but we should actually introduce you first of all!

Kate Holmes
Certainly. So I am a professional but I am no longer practicing. I’ve been in the industry or profession, and I do intentionally use two different terms for that, for 15 years now. I spent the first 10 years in an investment advisory firm. I was sort of like a chief operating officer, I saw every single aspect of it. And I knew exactly what we charged clients for it. I knew exactly the service we provided. And a lot of what I specailsed in, just because I loved doing it, was going into companies and talking with employees. And it would be from your rank and file employees to your executives, so you get the entire depth and breadth of people and experiences, and I saw over and over again that it really wasn’t about the investments. It’s not about what interest rates are doing. It’s not about what products people might or might not need. The real heart of it all was actually helping people figure out what they wanted in their life. And I’ve had thousands of these conversations and I pretty quickly realised, that with a lot of people, again, in every socio-economic status, that were hitting their late 50s and early 60s and knew that they wanted to retire but they wern’t retiring to anything. They just knew that they didn’t like their job. Potentially with their grown kids, they no longer liked their spouse. Maybe they didn’t like where they live. So it just became this whole like everyone was quote unquote doing everything right. They checked all the boxes, they had the job for 30 some odd years but they just didn’t seem fulfilled. And that kind of made me realise, like, the industry is so focused on investments and managing your investments. But you talk to all these people who’ve been doing it right for these decades, and they weren’t happy so I just kept seeing this disconnect here, and I realised it really is about first having those conversations around what do people want in their life, and Chris, you know, most people don’t know. Most financial advisors and financial planners don’t know, like it doesn’t matter what your career is, we rarely stop to actually ask ourselves, what makes us happy or to try different things, because you’re not going to know if you don’t try. So that just kind of made me realise it was about those conversations and so to emphasise that I didn’t want to manage assets, and I’ve never sold a financial product. And I really wanted to change the conversation and show people that what financial planning really is and what you know financial wellbeing really is, is about that inner search, first, and then using money as a tool second.

Chris
Love it. So in those conversations that you have with clients, what, what were the typical things that they concluded that they wanted to use the money for. What was, what sort of examples of the things that you’ve come across.

Kate Holmes
Yeah, a lot of it was just really interesting conversations with people around things that they haven’t even thought about in a really long time, or, you know, dreams that people have in the back of their heads that they don’t always allow themselves to think. And again, this happens with people whether they were sort of in an hourly position or in an executive role, and sometimes it would be things like, I talked to a woman I was out in rural Iowa at this like manufacturing place, doing these employee meetings, and this woman just made a comment about how she used to really love painting. So we just kind of started talking about that and she said that, you know, she would really love to get back to painting and sell some of her paintings, and I went back and met with her again a year later, and she had done it. And she said it was just from that conversation that she hadn’t even allowed herself in such a long time to acknowledge her love of painting and she had been out at farmer’s markets and art fairs actually selling her paintings, and it was so rewarding to see and that’s not something that you know you need a lot of money for. It’s just tapping into what are those desires that people have.

Chris
So, if I may pick up on that. That intrigues me because there’s this lady’s saying I always love painting, but there was that extra step to stay and I therefore need to sell them. I wonder you’re, just just got interested, whether that perhaps shows that we are automatically always thinking that there needs to be some validation for it?

Kate Holmes
I don’t think that’s where she was initially, and that’s why so we kind of, when I met with her again and we talked through the whole journey of the last year when we had that first conversation, it was really just that she hadn’t even acknowledged that she missed painting. And so just saying that out loud. Then she did get back to painting and then I think she started to realise you know there’s a, there’s a sense of validation. I think when you produce anything, you know, especially kind of in an arts world that you can actually sell, and then seeing that as a way of, you know, taking what you love and having some extra income from it. But then, if nothing else we can just pay for the additional painting supplies, you know, even if it’s a break even. It’s that revenue stream that allows you to maybe explore more or use it to go to, you know, a conference to learn more or take another class.

Chris
Yeah, forgive me, this is a bit of a digression that I find really really interesting because my brother’s photographer, I’ve got several friends who are artists, and I write books, novels, etc. And so the idea that you’ve got to have an audience to validate what you do is one thing, but the idea of having to be able to sell it for money as a second level of validation. I certainly don’t make any money out of my novels, thats for sure, but I know that 500 people read them, and I believe that’s enough actually. You don’t wroite novels for money you know. I just find that subject quite interesting, the relationship between money and creativity you see.

Kate Holmes
Yeah, well I think it can go both ways I mean I actually got my degree in photography. So I’ve got that artistic background and I realised I didn’t even want to do it commercially or for money and I always explain I kind of broke up with photography and, you know, I think the emotional connection that I had to it was like a relationship and once I graduated I realised we were just not meant to be together anymore so I stopped doing it but I just think about continuing it just, you know, for pleasure and I love travel photography and I’ve always loved travelling around the world but for me I realised that doing travel photography actually detracted from my experience in being present, where I was.

Chris
Yeah, I think, we’ve seen that all over the world. So, so look, in your view and your experience, what are the main blockages that you’ve seen in people to using wealth to be happier?

Kate Holmes
I’d say the number one blockage is don’t know what actually being happier looks like. They spend so much time, sort of chasing a lot of the things. I thought about, probably ten years ago, writing a book called ‘Don’t Buy That Car!’ And not for it to be a commercial success, but I just had this interesting like few months, where I kept having all these conversations with people and clients and potential clients, and they had these dreams when we would dive into what did they really want their life to look like. And for a couple of them, they also wanted to buy a brand new car, and I kept trying to figure out how to navigate this conversation because they had these things that they knew would make them happy and great life goals, but they were somehow tied to this idea that they had to buy a brand new car, which, if they went that way meant that they couldn’t actually accomplish their life’s goals. And so I wanted to kind of dive in and do that research. I didn’t end up doing it but whether it’s a car or a house or whatever it is. I was sort of fascinated with the psychology behind it. You know actually looking down and knowing, hey, these are the things that make me happy. But it’s almost like this societal pressure of, but you know I have to own this brand new fancy car because that’s the image I’m trying to give off or that’s the, you know, profession that I’m in or the people that I’m surrounded by and sort of watching that behaviour of, you know, seeing people be pulled that way.

Chris
Yeah, yeah. So you now spend your time advising financial advice firms on how to give this type of financial planning and advice, what are the main tips you would give to those firms and obviously our audience is the public but, I’m interested in how they would recognise a firm that will help them with their purpose, as opposed to just talk investments to. . .

Kate Holmes
Well the biggest thing that I do and that I’m passionate about is and the reason actually why I decided to work with other advisors and financial planners instead of going back to working with clients, is because in order to actually have these conversations, financial advisors and financial planners need to first do that work themselves. And you know a lot of people that have worked with an advisor or you know maybe no one in their family know that all over the world, it is still very much about products and investments. And I’ve talked with lots of people to, you know, come into the industry and realise oh, actually, I was gonna be helping people but I have this quota to meet of selling financial products they try to you know fit the problem into this predefined solution of a financial product. And so in order for them to have these more meaningful conversations with clients, advisors need to take a step back and say you know am I on the career path is really making me happy? Am I living the life that makes me happy you know? And I’ve gone through this myself and that’s, you know, I’m not doing it from my hey I’m just speaking it, you know I was living what many people would consider, you know, very ideal American life, my ex and I lived in a beautiful home in suburban Seattle and his two kids lived with us and I was a principal in an investment advisory firm, and none of it felt right to me. And I grappled with that for years because I was like, you know, we’re taught gratitude and be thankful for what you have and I kept doing these practices and it’s like, but there’s something missing in that, you know, it is good to be thankful for what you have, but it’s also really important to acknowledge if what you have is not what you actually want.

Kate Holmes
The trouble is knowing what you actually want.

Kate Holmes
Yes, that is the trouble. And sometimes, you know, so for me in that situation and, again, it’s not the first time I’ve been on this rollercoaster a few times, where I haven’t known exactly what I did want. But I knew that what my life was in that time was what I didn’t want.

Chris
Were the characteristics of that that you could identify and apply, therefore to other things don’t go off into something else that you don’t want?

Kate Holmes
I think it’s, you know, I did this again just last year, I worked for a global organisation and in many ways it was the absolute perfect job for me I got to travel all over the world and work with amazing people and you know I kept telling myself when I was in these amazing situations like, how lucky am I like, this is absolutely amazing. But ultimately, I wasn’t doing the exact work that I was most passionate about. And again I kept going back to that gratitude thing be thankful for what I have, but it just kept gnawing at me and I spent like a year trying to say, well, what do I want? What does that look like? And I knew that for me and I know you know, not everyone has this ability and, you know, I think it’s from being a financial planner, from my very first job at Target I have always been, you know, so big on spending so much less than I make you know. I’ve never let lifestyle creep come in as I earn more money, so I’ve always been a big saver, which allows me these opportunities of, you know, last year I was like I don’t know what it is, that’s next and so I quit that job with no idea what was next. And I knew that, you know, as long as I stayed there I wasn’t going to have the, you know, mental or emotional capacity to figure it out. If I decided like, I’m taking, at least the rest of 2019 off. And I focused on eating well and exercising and, you know, reading books and just getting back to what’s most important in life, and that that’s the only way that I could have paused and retake in stock of what matters because we all just spend so much time, go go go. And sometimes the very best thing you can do is actually stop and do nothing for a while.

Chris
Do know what a pertenint time it is to be saying that right at the moment as we’re talking, I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but we’re just emerging over here out of lockdown from COVID and a lot of conversations I have with friends and through work, because I do like to ask you personal questions of people, you know the old ‘How are you’ is taking much deeper resonance over the last few months. And a lot of people are saying, actually, you know what, I quite enjoyed this moment to stop and reflect.

Kate Holmes
Yeah.

Chris
And I hope that few people will you know, make some life decisions from that about, what actually does make you happy, etc. So I’ve made proof of your poin, that taking time out and just slowing down, is, every once in a while is good for you.

Kate Holmes
Well it is and that’s, you know, being a financial adviser during the global financial crisis, you know, and I was on the phone for 14 to 16 hours a day you know with devastating conversations, people losing their house losing our job, you know, lots of really tough stuff. But there were also a lot of really bright lights during that time, and I just love the conversations I had with people that did lose their job, and it was really tough, but then we got into those conversations of, okay, that actually becomes a catalyst for saying, so that’s gone. So now, what do you want? And it’s that forced time of reflection. And I was just reading an article, I sort of a week or two ago, around all of the businesses that were started during the Great Recession, and you know, how great of a time it actually is to start a business, during a recession and that it does force people to take stock. And, you know, again it’s sad, the sort of devastating things that happen, but it really is a lot of opportunity that comes out of it and once everyone can slow down and pause and you know a lot of people have those ideas inside of them, whether it’s a hobby they want to take up or meditation or if it’s a business they want to start or career change, you know, to kind of go, alright, well, now’s the time to redirect and try something new.

Chris
I’m interested in one aspect of, of what you’re doing and you run this podcast, Innovationg Advice podcast, and it makes a real feature of it being global. So I’m just wondering, as you’ve spoken to different people around the world and many different countries you covered. Have you noticed any different attitudes to money around different parts of the world?

Kate Holmes
There are yeah and that’s part of what has always made me fascinated by it. I had a woman on recently, who has a very mixed racial background and you know a lot of Asian influence from both of her parents, and we’re talking a lot about being culturally intelligent. And, you know, a lot of it was sort of around at very high level differences between sort of Western and Eastern culture and the conversations that you have and how you approach things and what you talk about. And that’s something that’s always fascinated me because when I did start my business and the fact that I, you know, not managing assets not selling products everybody kept telling me that it would fail. And, you know, I kept explaining that it was so much more important to have these conversations and people kept saying you know nobody’s ready for that, and it’s like but yes they are. I think so many people are they just don’t have the opportunity for that. Yes. And now we’re, you know, seven years later and there are 1000s of advisors, all over the world with nearly identical businesses. And so as I keep going to, you know, talk with people in all these countries. It’s the same conversation over and over again those, you know love advisors saying, hey, I’d like to start a business like that, but I don’t think I would get any clients, I don’t think you know my country or my culture is ready for that. And I think they are, you know I think your listeners might hopefully be listening kind of saying, I could use that conversation, you know, and working with advisor that isn’t just trying to sell a product or just manage my investments, like help me really figure out what do I want my life to look like, and then diving into the money and creating a plan to get there.

Chris
Amen to that. A very quick story if I may share with you – a few years ago I posted, well actually I asked a friend of mine who has about five and a half thousand followers on Twitter, well known in financial services. I was looking for financial advice but I didn’t have any money to invest. So I said to him, could you post a tweet and say, I’ve got a client he’s willing to pay a fee for financial planning, but he has no assets to invest. He got two people respond! That was all. One of them is the guy who is now my financial advisor and the other one was one of my employees at Ovation Finance the financial planning company, but that was it, nobody’s interested. So actually in the UK, I would say we are still a long way, a long way away from people being able to find somebody who doesn’t need assets to invest. But there is a particular strand, in the UK, which is coming up and I’d be interested, is this happening in the US, of what goes under a number different names, but financial coach is probably the best. Well, money coach, where they help people to work on things like self-limiting beliefs, to understand their relationship with money, fascinating area is that is that big in the US?

Kate Holmes
Yeah, it is and it’s something that I admit I have gone back and forth with, and I, you know, have some thoughts around, when I did start my business and I started explaining to people what I did, you know, you do your elevator pitch everywhere you go just to practice it. And I kept saying I am a certified financial planner, and the instant reaction was always ‘Oh I already have a planner’, or ‘what stock should I invest in’. So I was like, okay, thats not working. And so I kept trying different ways of explaining it and everyone kept saying back to me, they were like ‘Oh, your like a financial coach?’ And I was like, okay, that makes sense becuase that is a lot of what I was doing and then especially being in the US, theres this organisation called FinCon and its sort of where money and media meet and so in the US there are many massive bloggers and a lot of them call themselves Money Coaches or Financial Coaches. And my challenge with that, a lot of them are, you know, good people and doing good things, but, one, they are not regulated or licensed in any way. And so that was always a challenge for me, because I’ve gone through, i’ve got licenses, I’m a certified financial planner, I’m fully regulated, you know I’ve got all this compliance stuff that I have to follow and you’ve got people over here that don’t have any of that. And that’s alwasy kind of bothered me. And then the other thing that sort of bothers me, I see this conversation regularly on social media, is financial adviser saying ‘oh yeah, I am happy to partner with a financial coach because once clients get to me we dont talk about budgeting or any of that stuff, I assume they’ve already got that sorted. And that’s just missing a huge piece of the pie because everything that financial coaches or money coaches do I absolutly believe financial advisors and financial planners should do.

Chris
Yeah, yeah, I am just completely agreeing with everything you are saying! And actually, if you if you want advice about the law, you go see a lawyer. Right.

Kate Holmes
Yep.

Chris
If you want advice about your business account, you go to an accountant. If you want advice about your personal finance, you can go to a wealth manager, financial advisor, financial planner, financial coach, money coach, etc investment manager, stockbrokers. We don’t have one name to cover it all and I think that’s a real problem for the public. So, let me ask you this question then perhaps we just finished with this thought. If somebody is listening to this podcast they wanted to engage the sort of financial advisor that we’re talking about, who understands wellbeing, you understand, money and purpose and it’s not just about investments. What should they be looking for?

Kate Holmes
Well, I’ve always recommended and even when I had prospects I would always recommend that they talk to at least three people. And ideally, or three, diverse people, because money is an incredibly intimate thing to be talking about, and you need to make sure that you know in the deepest part of your gut that you really feel good about who you are working with. So, you know a lot of people will ask their friends or family but that can be a good place to start, or it might not be a good place to start because they might be the more traditional product sales people or I call them asset gatherers, people just collecting assets under management. So, you know, Google really is a good place to start and looking for people that talk about either life-centred financial planning or lifestyle planning, and you can see, you can learn a lot from people by what’s on their website. You can see Do they really talk about how they truly care about clients what is their fee model, and I’m always wary and this was one thing I always look at with financial services, no matter what business it is, if it’s – I’m in a clothing store if it’s a website – if you don’t say what your prices are, and I know there are a lot of thoughts aroud this and in financial services, but my mom always taught me if you can’t see the price is too much. And so I’m just a fan of being transparent with what is your pricing What does it look like, even if it’s in a range that way you just understand, and then most advisors will do a free intro call. And like a lot of first impressions you’ll know pretty quickly, whether that’s going to be somebody that might be the right fit so are the first questions around. How much money do you make, how much do you have to invest, how much is currently invested. That’s going to tell you that this isn’t someone doing you know this kind of coaching style well being conversation, versus if you get on a call and somebody genuinely asks you, sort of, deeper open ended questions. A lot of advisors will just blanketly say, what are your goals, you know, and you’re going to say I’m going to retire at 65 and yada yada. Those are the more generic things that people are taught in sales and training so just listen to your gut, that’s the big thing, have those conversations know that you’re going to talk to a few people. So you also don’t feel any pressure to you know give into a sales pitch or sign something now and take your time.

Chris
That’s a really good, really good tip there, a really good tell if I can bring us back to Las Vegas. Stretching an analogy, a really good tell, how quickly the advisor, you speak to for the first time, how quickly do they ask you how much you have to invest. That’s a real giveaway isn’t it. So I would just like to add, this is by the unfair on you Kate and you are welcome to duck the question, but I’m really curious to know what living in Las Vegas is told you about people’s relationship with money. I mean it is the capital of wasting money in the world isn’t.

Kate Holmes
Oh it’s endlessly fascinating. So I have thought for years about taking a camera and a microphone, because you get people from all over the world that come here, and I would love to go down on the strip and find people and, you know, ask them how much credit card debt do you have, you know how much money did you come here to spend? And if there’s any way I can find them on both a Thursday, and a Sunday, you know, how much did you come to spend, and then how much did you actually spend? I want to know if people work with a financial advisor or financial planner, what their experience has been like? I am, endlessly fascinated with sort of the intersection of money and happiness of people that come on the strip. And . . .

Chris
That’s so interesting!

Kate Holmes
Isn’t it! And like I’ve known people that come, that I know personally are you know in massive amounts of debt, and they come and they go to the most expensive restaurants on the strip and I’m just looking like it’s, it’s so interesting.

Chris
Did they set themselves a budget. On the first day and on the Sunday did they stick to it?

Kate Holmes
Absolutely not!

Chris
Okay, thanks so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.

Kate Holmes
Thank you, Chris.

David
Great stuff and I thought she made a very interesting point there, about how you can find a financial advisor who will talk to you about your financial wellbeing and not just try and sell your products.

Chris
Yeah, absolutely. I think there is a real shift in financial advice in the UK, away from just talking about investments, because let’s be honest when you go to a financial advisor, what you’re doing is you’re saying, look, here’s my investments. Here’s my money. It scares me a bit, I don’t really understand it, could you look after it for me please? And I’ll be over there having fun with my kids and my family or what have you. And what financial advice traditionally does is it brings the client back in again, so that we can show off on technical knowledge and talk about investments and pensions and facts. In The one thing the client doesn’t want to know about! So, if you want to go to a financial advisor who will talk about your life and how your money can make you happier – most advisors will give you a free initial meeting to get to know each other, might be a telephone call or Zoom, what have you, but usually you get it under half an hour or so just to get them to a little bit. In that time, does the advisor the financial planner do they talk about how much money you’ve got to invest, or do they talk about what you’re likely to pay now pretty quickly tell you which sort of advisor, you’re going to be talking to.

Producer Tommo
Yeah. I listened to that interview and it was, it was so a Neil Bage bias, it was confirmation bias all over the place! So her approach is what we’re all about at Ovation so naturally I’m going to agree with what she said but it’s true. I truly believe that how on earth, can we make a decision about our money, unless we truly know about ourselves and where we’re trying to head. And it’s the cart before the horse otherwise, and it really is; really understand yourself. Make some plans around it, and then start actually moving money around if need be. You know that that’s the point.

David
I just like to move away from that particular interview because I just thought of a question based on what we’re what we’re hearing from increasingly now with interviews you do Chris. I know you don’t claim that you invented the phrase financial wellbeing,

Chris
I do.

David
Alright, you might claim it but we know you didn’t!

Chris
I claim that I did, but I’m quite happy to admit that I didn’t.

David
But you certainly wrote a very good book about it. We’ve now done 69 podcasts on the theme, and having listened to that interview there, do you feel that the message that, your message in the book that other people are eccoing is now moving more and more into the financial advisory world?

Chris
I would say, slowly but surely David. So the Initiative for Financial Wellbeing that I set up the new Institute. That was founded, beginning of this year that Tommo is involved with, we’ve also got loads of other people. It’s got just over 200 members now. And that’s absolutely amazing that’s from a standing start during a global pandemic. And they’re all really good people who are interested in helping their clients be happier. But there’s, what, 28,000 financial advisors in the UK. So yes

Producer Tommo
Someting in the 20,000’s. Yeah. Yep.

Chris
So, it is getting through. What you’re also finding that there are some companies who are going ‘this is the future we’ve got to get behind it’ so for example our first, what we call partner member for the IFW is Aegon. And Aegon over the last three months of this year have done a whole host of financial wellbeing stuff they want to promote to their to their customers, and its proper financial wellbeing, they’re getting a lot of content from us we’re working with them, and they’re really genuinely behind it. However, there are also quite a lot of companies that I go for that your well being is a cool thing that’s a slap that on our marketing and carry on doing the same old crap we’ve been doing for years. That’s what we want to call out. That’s where that how do you know that a financial advisor is genuinely delivering financial well being and not just putting on their marketing. That’s why that question was such a key question,

David
Excellent, well thanks for that and it’s also worth saying that I can’t remember the exact figure, but I know that this podcast is listened to by an awful lot of people, your book I believe has sold an awful lot of copies. It’s also worth mentioning that every, all the proceeds from the sale of The Financial Wellbeing, will go to the Penny Brohn Cancer Research. So, let’s keep up the good work, and we look forward to you joining us again next time when we come up with another one of our podcasts, just the whole notion of financial wellbeing.

By | 2020-12-24T11:58:52+00:00 December 30th, 2020|Podcast|Comments Off on Episode 69 – Finding Financial Planners with Kate Holmes

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