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Five things I've learned - planner Tamsin Caine

01 May 2019

Chartered financial planner Tamsin Caine is head of financial planning at Greater Manchester-based lifestyle financial planning firms Smart Financial and Smart Divorce...

Writing in journal

1 Listen

Listening has to be number one because it is by far the most important skill that I think financial planners require.

However, it isn’t a case of just listening and letting the words wash over you. You need to listen and engage with your clients so that you can fully understand them and their needs.

2 Use silence

Don’t be afraid of silences.

Silence is useful in a meeting in two ways. Firstly, it gives the client time to think about the question and their answer, which often leads to them expanding their answer, sometimes with even more insight than before.

I also pause to gather my own thoughts before asking the next question, reflecting on what has been said.

3 Challenge yourself

Of course, we are all at our most comfortable with what we know and are used to. However, saying “yes” to new challenges and opportunities can make us more confident in our day-to-day role.

For example, talking to a new client became less nerve-racking after speaking at the Personal Finance Society regional conference to 150 of my peers!

As long as there is a chance that I will be able to do what is being asked, I try to say “yes” to as much as possible these days.

4 Practice makes perfect

I have always firmly believed in lifestyle financial planning, but when I moved to Smart Financial, which uses this approach with every client, it became clear that I would need to develop new skills.

My technical knowledge as a chartered and certified financial planner was not going to be enough, nor was my commitment to the process. Four years on and I believe my skills have improved dramatically, but I still practise the skills I have learned whenever possible.

5 Work with people you like

We spend so much of our time at work that it’s so important that our clients are people we like. Even more importantly, if I like them, I will care more about helping them achieve their hopes and dreams.