Are you the narrator?

Are you the narrator?

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There are many starting places to put a person on the road to their dreams, and from my experience, they all need some sort of plan.

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There are many starting places to put a person on the road to their dreams, and from my experience, they all need some sort of plan.

Jim works at the Sydney markets. He’s up at 3am three to four days-a-week to help the stall owner sell his fabulous mushrooms.

I’ve been talking to Jim every other Saturday for about 10 years. Recently Jim turned 83, so as I was wishing him all the best for his birthday, I asked him how long he’s been working at the markets and how he got here. What transpired in our conversation got me thinking, who passes on the legacy of stories from one generation to another?

Back in the day, Jim worked in an engineering company. When his wife passed away, he decided to retire and live with one of his daughters. Tragically, one of them and her husband died in a car crash as a result of a negligent driver. Then Jim’s other daughter moved away to a place he didn’t want to live. So that’s how he ended up at the markets, a mate needed a hand and Jim needed company.

He works at the markets to keep the loneliness at bay.

So what is the relevance of this story and why I’m telling it in this column? Well, Jim had limited options. He didn’t have the benefit of advice, of an insurance strategy and his retirement I suspect is not how he wanted it to turn out.

After we spoke (and I got my mushrooms), I wondered how his life would turn out if he had seen an adviser who helped him put a retirement strategy in place. I wondered how that story would have played out and what legacy would he be passing on.

Of late, I’ve been listening to the stories, aspirations and goals of a few people. Whilst they all come from different backgrounds and generations, one theme consistently runs through our conversations...how can they live the life they aspire to?

There are many starting places to put a person on the road to their dreams, and from my experience, they all need some sort of plan.

The best conversation I have with advisers is when we talk about their clients. Especially the stories of how someone’s life changed because they sought advice. Great advice changes lives, we all know that. But it’s so much more than that, great advice allows people to create their story just how they imagine it to be. Advisers help make the intangible (the story in my head), tangible (the plan to get there).

Jim is not unhappy, but he knows his choices are limited. He fills his day with other people’s stories and that’s what keeps him going. The optimist in me wants to believe that we can make a difference just by facilitating the narration of someone’s storyline.

Our profession is so much more than creating SOAs, using financial planning software and technical strategies. These things are important as they enable the outcome. What is truly unique; in your capacity as an adviser is the privilege of hearing the story and helping it come to life. Clients come to us to be heard, to help them make the right decisions and get set on a path.

What we need to get better at is demonstrating how much of a difference our profession can make to the lives of Australians. Our continual quest to ensure that we operate in the best interests of our clients will allow us to have our own stories to share. The client experience you deliver will create
the testimony that will hold together a common group of people over several generations to ensure we continue the oral tradition that seeking advice is not folklore, it’s part of our cultural history.


About Annick Donat, Securitor & Licensee Select

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Annick Donat is head of strategic growth for BT Financial Group’s Securitor and Licensee Select businesses. She is also responsible for the professional capability program, which includes the advice education strategy.

Annick has held several roles during her 25 year career in financial services including Product Manager, Business Development/Practice Development Manager and Key Account Manager.

Her most recent role prior to joining BT Financial Group was National Operations Manager at MLC.

 

Are you the narrator?
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