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Five things I've learned: IFA Cleona Lira

31 October 2019

Cleona Lira, a chartered financial planner with London-based Conscious Money, shares insights from her 15-year career...

Writing in journal

1 Empathy is valuable

Talking about money feels scary and overwhelming; it can also be fun and liberating. Noticing feelings, values and longings are important when having money conversations.

Though it is normal for us financial advisers to talk about money, it is not always as easy for everyone. After coming across ‘nonviolent communication’, I learned specific ways to be empathic. Noticing a client’s feelings and underlying needs is effective and goes a long way in helping clients feel seen, heard and understood.

2 Relationships are important

I used to think my clients could never be my friends – I would be a thorough professional, keeping business and friendships separate. Over time though, you develop a closeness and bond from meeting every year. I am happy to be wrong and change my beliefs; one can be friends and be professional. Learning to adapt to what is needed, to be more or less formal and more or less friendly, is fairly intuitive.

3 Create good banter

When you work for yourself, it can feel like you are a lone ranger. Finding effective strategies to be around people; whether it is renting a co-working space or finding a friendly coffee shop for lunch is important. I work with other financial advisers in the City – we have a lot of friendly banter. We also support and help each other as we have different strengths and blind spots. I find this field of friendship very important to be effective and feel content at work.

4 Communicate your niche

Being able to articulate clearly why your services are a good match in person or via your website is quite an art. I have learned to be honest and let a client know when they would be better served by another adviser.

5 Have fun

Financial advisory work is very gratifying. Besides this, I also enjoy offering workshops for people to look at their relationship with money; sometimes I offer gift calls via Zoom on pensions or investments to my newsletter subscribers. Finding ways to be of service to those who may not be able to access a financial adviser is a question I am holding.

More from Five things I've learned: Read adviser Harry Frapple (Nexus IFA) on being open and honest about market performance, and building longevity into a client bank...