The only thing that’s certain is uncertainty. It can make my job challenging, but it’s a fact of life. After all, I’m a financial adviser and wealth manager, and while it would be useful to know what’s going to happen, I help people get in great financial shape whatever the future has in store.
My dad was a financial adviser too and I was always fascinated by what he did for a living. He earned people’s trust and helped them plan for a comfortable future; it seemed a worthwhile thing to do, and I hoped that one day I’d follow in his footsteps.
Sometimes though, you have to be careful what you wish for. After wondering how I could get a start in the profession – and after killing time in jobs that didn’t stimulate me at all – I finally got the chance I wanted in the same office as my dad.
Unfortunately, it felt a little as though fate was playing tricks. The opening at dad’s office only arose because he’d had to retire due to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. It was devastating news, but when his office manager invited me to apply for the job and take over dad’s clients, I felt it was an opportunity to live up to the example dad had set for me.
So it was a brush with the unexpected that set me on this path. I wish the circumstances had been different, but it helped me realise that we need to prepare for the future rather than predict it.
This insight has been at the heart of my development over the last 25 years or so. In the past, I took the same approach as many other financial planners in that my investment methods involved making predictions, reacting to economic and market events, and taking short-term decisions using the funds that were most popular at the time. However, I began to feel that there must be a better way, and I finally changed direction when I set up Callisto Wealth Management.
It was the 2008 economic crisis that really brought things to a head. Using leading academic research, I studied the dynamics of investment returns and realised that across the industry, the odds are stacked against the average investor and in favour of the City. Trying to second-guess the future only works sporadically at best, and most investors find it impossible to be consistently successful by relying on conventional approaches. Meanwhile the industry spends millions to convince people otherwise
And I was right: there is another way. My motivation remains the same as ever – to help clients get their financial affairs in order and, ultimately, to fulfill their dreams.
When they come to me, their finances are often in a mess – no goals, no plan, no structure. They have worked hard to build up a nest egg and they deserve better advice than they’ve had. But years of experience, not to mention decades of respected academic research, have demonstrated that attempting to predict the future isn’t what they need. Instead, a transparent, very diversified and low cost investment approach is the way to achieve their goals.
As I said, the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty, and as if to demonstrate that undeniable fact, it turned out that dad’s condition was far less serious than expected – a happy ending to what we thought could be a tragic tale.
So although the way I now do my job has changed over the years, it is the best way. It is the Callisto way.
And funnily enough, I know I can be certain about that.