So What Do You Do?

I would like to ask your opinion on something please.  What should an IFA answer when asked the above question?

I have always struggled to describe what I do in a simple sentence or phrase.  When asked at a dinner party, I would often mumble something about ‘planning’ and something about ‘pensions and investments’, then change the subject.

I certainly would not have used the term ‘IFA’.  I made that mistake early on, when it would be met either with a blank stare, or a roll of the eyes and tut.  I fear that brand has been damaged by one too many misspelling scandals, a classic example of a few spoiling things for the many.

It would be easier if we specialised in only one area.  Those firms who put themselves out as experts in the medical sector, for example, only need a little specialist knowledge and a heightened sense of respect attitude towards their customers.  Nevertheless, this is an excellent marketing tag, and a successful one.

Importantly, a specialist medical financial advisor does not actually need to explain the ‘financial’ part of that tag, because the attention of the client is drawn to the ‘medical’.

A good example of this is my local pub.  I live five miles out of Bristol.  It is not easy to get people who live in Bristol to leave the city for any reason – I may as well live in Cornwall for all they know!

However, down the end of my road is a pub.  When I tell some of the older Bristol clients where I live, their immediate reaction is “Oh, that’s the pub that specialises in fish”.

Now, the New Inn hasn’t actually had a restaurant which specialised in fish for over fifteen years, nevertheless, it still holds that reputation.  It wasn’t the ‘pub’ people noticed (as there are lots of those), it was the ‘fish’.

For many years, I used the words ‘fee based’ as a way of distinguishing my company.  Depolarisation spoilt that one (with its sudden proliferation of fixed fees bearing a remarkable similarity to the previous commission levels) and, in any case, it was a terrible description, as it gave no indication of what we could actually do to help the customer.

‘Financial Planner’ is the current favourite, and rightly so as it does have the merit of describing the service.  However, the old marketing adage tells us to sell the sizzle, not the sausage.  ‘Financial Planner’ does not describe how the client will benefit from our service, and it therefore stills leaves me searching for an ideal tag.

So, over to you.  What is the best way of describing what we do for a living, either in a couple of words, or in a short explanatory sentence.  I would love to see as many answers as possible please, and not just from IFAs, anyone reading this blog may have an opinion on this.

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20 thoughts on “So What Do You Do?

  • I’ve been a broker consultant for many years which is meaningless to many MOTPs (members of the public). I was at a dinner on Saturday and was asked the dreaded question. The person who asked could see the blood drain from my face. I said “I sell solutions to financial firms” and then spent the least amount of time explaining what I meant before the questioner started to lurch into a mild coma. I’d like to say I am a semi-famous author, using a well known pseudonym but I am scared of the consequences of my lies. Yours sincerely, Enid Blyton!

    Reply
  • I’m The Enchanted Wizard of Rhythm.

    Reply
  • How about “supporting financial well being” Chris?

    Reply
  • G.O.D. (Guardian of Dreams)!

    Reply
  • A short explanatory sentence:

    We look to remove the complex and confusing with a straightforward and transparent approach to financial planning, that helps you shape your financial future & keep it on track. So, you have enough money, no matter how long you live, your whole family is safe if you die too soon & problems like ill health & sickness do not become a disaster.

    Reply
  • Not mine but best response to what do you do – ” I work with high profile executives to make their work an option…”

    Reply
  • HOw about “I help people enjoy saving and spending”.

    Reply
  • Think about the benefits of what you do rather than the job title – as with some of the suggestions of others here. Creating wealth, maximising investments, providing financial security – what is the dream or desire that you fulfil by being a ‘Financial Planner’.

    Reply
  • I help people discover, recognise, plan for, and achieve realistic financial goals so they can spend their time with a degree of certainty enjoying life empowered with the knowledge that capital or income is sufficient now and in the future.
    I build security through wealth preservation and tax efficiency whilst maintaining any risk within agreed parameters to the best of my ability.

    Reply
  • How about “supporting financial well being” Chris?

    Reply
  • Not mine but best response to what do you do – ” I work with high profile executives to make their work an option…”

    Reply
  • A short explanatory sentence:

    We look to remove the complex and confusing with a straightforward and transparent approach to financial planning, that helps you shape your financial future & keep it on track. So, you have enough money, no matter how long you live, your whole family is safe if you die too soon & problems like ill health & sickness do not become a disaster.

    Reply
  • G.O.D. (Guardian of Dreams)!

    Reply
  • HOw about “I help people enjoy saving and spending”.

    Reply
  • I’ve been a broker consultant for many years which is meaningless to many MOTPs (members of the public). I was at a dinner on Saturday and was asked the dreaded question. The person who asked could see the blood drain from my face. I said “I sell solutions to financial firms” and then spent the least amount of time explaining what I meant before the questioner started to lurch into a mild coma. I’d like to say I am a semi-famous author, using a well known pseudonym but I am scared of the consequences of my lies. Yours sincerely, Enid Blyton!

    Reply
  • Think about the benefits of what you do rather than the job title – as with some of the suggestions of others here. Creating wealth, maximising investments, providing financial security – what is the dream or desire that you fulfil by being a ‘Financial Planner’.

    Reply
  • I’m The Enchanted Wizard of Rhythm.

    Reply
  • I help people discover, recognise, plan for, and achieve realistic financial goals so they can spend their time with a degree of certainty enjoying life empowered with the knowledge that capital or income is sufficient now and in the future.
    I build security through wealth preservation and tax efficiency whilst maintaining any risk within agreed parameters to the best of my ability.

    Reply

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