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#10 Jurie Gouwsventer – Transcript

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

financial planner, financial planning, clients, people, practice, investment, skill, absolutely, delivering, advice, years, discussion, service, dispense, life, industry, planner, psychologist, yuri, field

SPEAKERS

Jurie Gouwsventer, Louis van der Merwe

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Hello and welcome to yet another episode of financial planners South Africa. Today I have Yuri host Venter with me is the founder of mindful money in Cape Town, South Africa, Yuri, it’s wonderful to have you in person, which is very different from our normal sessions. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’re what you’re up to at the moment.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Well, thanks, Louis. And thanks for the invitation. Great to be here. Yeah, look, us started out my vocational career in a totally different direction. I was trained in clinical psychology back in the day at the University of Stellenbosch. And I worked in that capacity for a couple of years, and my father in law had experience in the stock market. And that was a world that was that was totally benign to me, and interested me tremendously. And when I got exposed to it, so, you know, that’s when I started investigating possibility of getting into that field. I then did an MBA to just broaden my skill check, because clinical psychology is very specific, and then landed up in a person in the personnel division of a major life office in Cape Town. And from they went on to the investment division, so I mean, that that’s been the vocational path, you know, for me, starting in the Bible sciences, into investments, and then ultimately, starting my own businesses financial planning. So that was the path.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

It almost sounds like this was a very short path, but I can imagine a span

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

of many years. Yeah, it took about me, let me think, you know, psychology, I, first of all, you know, training foclink is a college, that’s about six years. You know, then I worked in that field for about two, three years. The personnel division at mutual was in about two years, and then ultimately in investing was about what, three, four years before I did my own thing, as a financial planner. So what is that that’s in the region of 10 years, you know, from from finishing varsity as a psychologist to starting as a financial planner?

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, and these are quite, it’s quite big moves, you know, Korea changer moves. And it sounds like you’re doing that, you know, after two or three years of tasting something. How did you frame that loss aversion, right, having spent six years getting your psychology degree, spending time with clients, and then saying, Okay, I’m going to switch paths. What was the thinking behind that?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I’m not sure that it was a conscious, you know, in those days, I actually remember having visited a friend of mine, over the weekend, and his father knew, you know, that I’d studied psychology. And at that time, I was in that transition period, moving from psychology into into investments. And I remember distinctly that he asked me, but listen, Yuri, what is it that you actually do? And, and I thought, well, I can kind of understand why you confused, I don’t know myself, quite, you know, where I am at this stage. So, you know, there was a time where things felt a bit uncertain, especially, you know, the switch initially, from the Behavioral Sciences side of things into investments, that was a fairly big jump. But, you know, the, the the Life Office way, I was working at the time, had tremendous training infrastructure, you know, to assist in that regard. And it was something that I really wanted to do. It was, it was it was something that was interesting. And I think that helps a lot, you know, in making that transition, but I never felt you speak about loss aversion. I didn’t experience the switch from clinical into into investments as a loss. I can’t, you know, recall think feeling like that at all. It was much more us a new field. That was tremendously exciting. And, you know, I really want to get my teeth into it. And I think we’re where I am now, I can see the or, like, be put into this way where I’m not as in my financial planning, career, drawing on the skills that are learned as a psychologist, or relevant, so it’s kind of having come full Circle in the sense that, you know, you have the skill set that you have been exposed to the investment side of things. But you also bring a certain skill set with you that enables you to deal with clients on a level that maybe wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have that background.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Absolutely. I think that’s something I’d love to explore a little bit, you know, with a background in psychology, what you’re saying is that, that human side of money is as important and probably drives more decision making. Was that always the case? Because, you know, we can see people like, or institutions like the CFP board, including that in their studies in America, and it becoming more and more mainstream. But I mean, you’ve been dispensing financial advice for a very long time and delivering advice. Was that awareness always there for you? Or is it something that was has been developing?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I think, for myself, it’s been more pronounced recently. And and I think that coincides with the prominence that behavioral finance as a discipline, as gained inside our field of work. You know, I think back to my times in the investment division, at the Life Office that I spoke about. That was in the early 1990s. Now, remember, distinctly the focus very much was quants, people from the states were coming across, and they were telling us about these fantastic models that they had, you know, on how to price shares accurately. And yes, I mean, that, of course, is the core business of investment division. But if at that stage, in the discussion, insights investments, you would put forward the idea that guys may be, you know, when we want to understand invest investor behavior, shouldn’t we look at human psychology, I think they will chase you out the room, the environment was just such that there was no risk, you know, nobody would be receptive for that line of thinking. And I think that has changed a lot. I think, you know, I shared this idea with you recently, that if you look at the curriculum for CSI, nowadays, there is a module that you have to do in VR refinance. Now imagine that that would have been the case back in the 1990s. Just forget about it, you know, behavioral finance wasn’t the thing at that stage. And I think just with the prominence of behavioral finance, as a discipline of the last, let’s say, a decade or two, awareness, I think is grown, not only in the financial planning community, and you know, you asked for myself, not not only in my own mind, but also inside the investment fraternity, you know,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

yeah, yeah. And we always assume people make decisions rationally. Right? we optimize everything.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Well, I mean, that, you know, that debate, it’s interesting. You look at where that idea comes from. The The, the notion of, you know, how many economic is making rational decisions coming from I think it was in the early 1800s. And shortly afterwards, you know, you had someone like john Maynard Keynes, saying, No, you know, people don’t behave like that, though irrational. So that debate of people being rational, irrational, comes a long way. And I don’t think in the minds of a lot of people that that’s been settled, I think, a lot of the time still, there is this model, maybe especially outside the Behavioral Sciences, that as people we are rational, and evidence, you know, just points to the contrary, you just, you can just be a Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow. And he says it very nicely. Yeah, he speaks about system one, system two thinking, and we tend to think that we these rational, being system two kind of thinkers, and he says in that book, but system one is the main actor, you know, for this book, and that’s the way that I think we are wired.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Yeah, part of it, I think, is just simplifying things so that it neatly fits into the way we see the world. For heaven’s sake, you know, if we didn’t have that kind of an organizing, net,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

organizing a frame of reference, we wouldn’t get to the to the day. So it’s, it’s absolutely imperative that we should be able to, you know, make decisions quickly intuitively, if we cannot, you know, be in in logical function. 24 seven, that would just be too exhausting. And we wouldn’t get anyway. So, yeah, I think that’s the way that we wired and As financial planners, I think we need to factor that into the equation when you work with our clients. But not only see that propensity in the way that our clients live their lives, also understand the fact that you and I, as financial planners, when we give advice, we are wired in exactly that same way. So, you know, this kind of thing cuts both ways, you know, see, the fact that you, as financial planners tend to operate in system one mode most of the time, and just be away. So that that way of thinking doesn’t trip you up in the advice that you’re giving to your clients. Absolutely. And I want to come back to this idea

 

Louis van der Merwe 

of the systems one the systems do. I’m curious. So now you you’re armed with the psychology background, you’ve done your MBA, you’ve built up investment, decision making experience, why the move to start your own financial planning practice, what like what triggers?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I remember, way back, I attended a talk, and it was hosted, it was addressed by somebody came from Australia, I forget the name, but it was hosted at another law office, just around the corner here, not the one that I was at the blue one. All right. And, and, you know, he started the talk to us finish planning says, all of you guys sitting here are career refugees. And I just thought about it, you know, you look around the room. And you, you look at all these folks that do the same thing that you are doing. And it’s true in the case of most of those people who were sitting there. And who, plying the trade as financial planners, they started out doing doing something different. So how did I end up in financial planning? Well, you know, what I was in the investment division at this law office, in Cape Town, one of our tasks was to market the investment philosophy of life office, to financial advisors. So that’s why I started rubbing shoulders with these people. And, you know, I looked at what they were doing. And what it attracted me about the work that they were doing was the fact that, you know, they worked with people, and they were pretty much independent, calling the shots in terms of how they wanted to structure the content of what it was they were doing. And that to me, was very attractive. So, I mean, I started investigating that possibility. And you know, as fate was, would have it, just up the street from where I was living at the time, live, a chap who would become a colleague later. And he had been a financial planner for quite some time. Also, you know, starting out in a totally different. I mean, he actually did a degree in B military degree. Can you imagine? And yeah, he ended up in, in financial planning, he lived up just to the road, he had already, you know, done it, had his practice established. And we started talking, and he said, Listen, but you know, if you want to start off as a planner, come with me, and, you know, I’m a slow. So to warm up, I take quite a time to, you know, make decisions of that nature. So, you know, it took a year or two, but ultimately, I said, Listen, I’m ready to make the break.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

That was your systems to decision making.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I think I think my wife, my wife would have said it system one, all the love all along. But yeah, so that’s how it started for me. So, you know, I joined him. In this financial planning practice, I learned a tremendous lot. I still think, you know, to this day, he’s one of the sharpest minds in, in financial planning. In financial planning. I learned a lot there. And I think after about two years, together with him, I went off on my own and, and, and, and said, Listen, I’ve now got to try this thing properly on my own. And yeah, that’s when when I started my own practice, that was, what 2023 years ago, roughly,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

wow, this sense of, you know, autonomy and being able to work with people and putting your own stamp of where you do things shines through in what you’re saying. Yeah,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

no, absolutely. You know, to me, an independence you know, independence not only and I think in inside the financial planning for 20 We understand that independence as independent from a product provider, I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to be tied in, in the advice that I give just to one single product provider. So that’s how we understand independence. But I think for, for a lot of us financial planners, it’s about more than that. It’s, it’s not only independent from Prime providers, also, the ability to really, you know, shape your practice along the lines of what it is, that you are good at. And I mean, that was another valuable lesson that I learned, you know, we, I was part of a group that started a voluntary Association of Independent financial planners, in early 2000. And it started off with only four practices in Cape Town. And in the meantime, you know, it’s got a national footprint, but what always strikes me when we meet as a group is, how different personalities have the ability to put together a practice that works for them. And, you know, the differential advantage that you bring to market is different to the differential advantage that I bring to market. But guess what, you have a successful practice of your own clients, and so do I, and the next person. So, you know, financial planning, as a as a career, I think presents an opportunity that if you really are passionate about people, and and and and, you know, financial planning as a as a discipline, you can build your own practice, according to what it is that is meaningful to you.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Mentally, it’s, it’s about helping people. Yeah, right. And it’s about helping people in the way that you think, might be best. So now, you’re two years into your experience as a financial planner, you decided to set up your own shop? Who do you serve? I could the type of clients and how do you attract them in those early, early years? I’m wondering, are these old patients of your previous practice?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Look, you know, it was it was bad habits. In those days, it was called canvassing, but there was another thing that that I did. And I do on skills that are learned at the Life Office that I was employed at, part of our work there was to do presentations to investors. And I, I took that kind of a skill set. And I said, Listen, can we not get together a group of people that we can talk to about personal financial planning. So we devised a program designed to talk about personal financial planning, and we took that program to companies. And in those days, that was the the the middle mid 90s. South Africa was going through its transition in those years, from, you know, the old apartheid regime to the new democratic order. And part of the brief that the corporate sector as a whole head was that, you know, you guys need to train your workforce. And we wrote on the back of that wave. And when two companies said, Listen, you know, we’ve got a program here, we can empower you people to take charge of the personal finances. And we did those programs at the likes of Eskom translate a lot of the Paris titles on school in those days, and they actually paid us for time. And from those programs came a lot of clients, you know, who then contacted us for individual financial planning. And it’s interesting, Louis, you know, the turnaround sometimes. I still Yeah, I mean, this was in the mid 90s. Right, you know, that still to this day, I get referrals from back then. So, yeah, that is as long as it takes sometimes. If you if you are in it for the long haul. You do something like this, and somebody some way cottoned on to what it was that you said a long time ago, and they remember and they, you know, get to retirement age and I said, Listen, there was this guy 20 years ago, that said something about, I don’t know what, but they they contact you,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

you know, planted that seed 20 years ago. Absolutely. Absolutely. Are you reaping there?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

And I think that is a lesson you know, for folks that that get in this industry, new young people who get into this industry. It is, I think, a lot more difficult for young people to establish themselves today, compared to what it was, you know, when I started, regulation is a lot more stringent standards are definitely higher. And, you know, I can discourage people from from from trying to get into the field. But I would say that, you know, if you can, if you can stick it out, just have this long term perspective, that, keep chiseling away at it, find what it is that you’re good at. And if you’re good at, you know, addressing people on a topic that you’re passionate about, that’s what you do. And the dividends will come later, you know, sometimes a lot lighter,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

we often joke that the first 10 years is the most difficult. Yeah. And I can see how you’ve incorporated your business skills and kind of delivering advice at scale, before it was even a thing. You mentioned, this topic of, you know, the bar to enter the industry is quite high. But do you think it’s high enough? because technically, someone with with the mudrick and a driver’s license and, you know, a very basic exam completed can deliver advice? versus, you know, just comparing it to your background? Is that bar high enough? Or is it too high? Like, where do we sit with that balance of regulation versus allowing new interests? Well,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I think the bar certainly higher now than it was back in the day, you know, I mean, you point out that somebody with, with, with, with magic, and, and, and, and a driver’s license basically, can can get into financial planning, yes. But then he’s going to be on supervision. And you know, there’s a lot of hoops, you got to jump through at this stage, that you have to satisfy in order to dispense financial advice. And the key individual is going to be responsible for that person and the kidney, which will be who is going to ensure that, you know, this person with a driver’s license, and the magic that is taking on his practice, is capable of doing the job. Now, that sort of accountability, I would venture to say, didn’t exist at the time that, you know, I went into financial planning, back in the back in the 90s. So for us in South Africa, I think the introduction of the fires actors made a big difference. The question about, you know, where do we find the balance between regulation and, and, and, and allowing people to do their thing, I think, that should be tilted in favor of the clients interest. Therefore, it is harder for you as a financial planner, nowadays, to gain traction than I think that is fee that is designed to predict the interest of the client. In South Africa, I think we’ve got this unfortunate legacy that, you know, financial planning is still being frowned upon. And, and, and, and the financial planning, fraternity is responsible for that sentiment, to large degree, the way things were done historically, and it’s unfair, I think that new entrants should suffer because of it. But that’s it is what it is. And I think, you know, we all have a role to play, to change the perception of financial planning, in the minds of the consumers. And for that reason, you know, I’m all for lifting the bar even further, if you want to aspire towards the status of profession, which is what the financial planning Institute, you know, says that it wants to achieve financial planning, if you want to be seen as a profession, they need to be standards that justify, you know, calling yourself a professional.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Absolutely. And, you know, I hear what you’re saying around the supervision, and maybe things like the Ombudsman, that is there to support and protect the end client, those things are as important as, you know, having an appropriate bar for new insurance, which is a very interesting way of looking at it saying that, we need to make sure once you’re in this industry, that you’re delivering quality advice, and that you’re acting in the clients best interest and kind of a fiduciary standard that we are hopefully closer to, but we’re definitely not not there yet.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

And I think we’ve got some, some way to go. And, you know, I mean, you mentioned the kind of the Ombudsman, that’s the that’s the stick part of the carrot and stick kind of scenario. That, you know, I would like to see for for financial planning as a professional side, I’d like there to be more of a carrot kind of an approach, you know, what is it that we can Do as maybe established planners to make the Korean financial planning attractive to people that want to pursue that career. What is it that the industry can do to achieve that? Now, I think you know, the model that you see with a lot of financial planning practices where they will employ your junior as a paraplanner on a salary basis to take away that pressure that, you know, you don’t have to sell a frog policy or product in order to put bread on the table at the end of the month. I think that’s the right. That’s the right approach.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Now, the concept of incentives, I drive almost all behavior.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Absolutely, then you know, you do that properly, the ombud is going to be superflous. Yeah.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Great. So you’re now you’re up and running, you have this successful practice that is bringing in clients? And what are the services that you delivered 23 years ago to your clients? Was it the same as what you’re delivering? Today? I’m curious. Yeah, I think, you know, if

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

you think about the competencies, so you know, investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, I think let’s change the I think it’s the way in which dispense those those services. It is, it is the the the maybe the content, even of the discussion that you have with your clients, the way that the process unfolds, you know, these as soon as, as you have established a practice, and I think we maybe just need to take a step back here and talk about the the remuneration of one services. So yeah, I mean, I’ve been transitioning to the to the assets under management model from I think it was the mid 1990s. The moment the moment, the first product provider, set up a facility whereby you were paid a service fee for continued service, that kind of remuneration to me my lot of sense. And I mean, that company was, in those days, it was called TMI technique. I think it was technical. It can’t remember what it stood for. But TMI was the first company that provided financial planners with an investment platform that would remunerate you for an ongoing service. So that took away the need of selling product all the time, you know, to ensure that you had an income at the end of the month

 

Louis van der Merwe 

aligning incentives.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Yeah, so. So the moment you get to a point way, you have a base big enough to cover your overheads and allow you to take enough out of your practice. To make the books balance on your side, at that moment. You have the luxury of of changing, I think, I want to call it the mode of engagement with your with your clients. All of a sudden, if you don’t have this pressure, you know that that that we’ve got to continue to deal with discussion becomes different. And it enables you to do you know, I mean, what has become fashionable, I think over the last decade or so. And that’s focused on the client. always been the case. Are you saying it’s moving out

 

Louis van der Merwe 

of that survival mode? Yeah.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

And I think the moment, you know, the moment that happens to you, I think it affords you the opportunity to change the tone, for lack of a better word of the conversation that you have with your clients.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Can we pause the unit because you’re saying, moving out of the survival mode? but psychologically, what does that do to a financial planner, when they can move out of the survival mode? You know, we’re just what’s coming to mind is that, you know, fight and flight type of response, you can actually start using your brain properly, and deliver better advice. I’d love to hear your take from a psychological training perspective.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Yeah, I think I mean, to me, it’s obvious. Yeah, to me, it’s obvious if if there is no pressure or if I can take away the pressure that in this discussion that you are having now, I’m dependent on you signing on the dotted line so that you know I can go home this evening and tell my wife Listen, you know, we will be okay for the end of the month, the moment that that is that that pressure is gone, the discussion that you and I can have About your financial wellbeing is different. I mean, I use the term financial well being I mean, that’s, I can use that term. Only I think, you know, if I, if I’m not in survival mode, if if I need you to sign on the dotted line, I’m not, I don’t care about your financial well being I care about my own well being, you know? Yeah. So, if I’m enough, I look at my own practice, if I look at the evolution of the way in which I’ve been dispensing advice, if I look at the nature of the discussion that you have with your clients, if you look at the luxury, that you have to digress into topics that have nothing to do with your clients, finances, just, you know, about their kids, whatever the interest that they’ve got, the fact that you’ve built up a practice, from which you derive a regular income stream, puts you in a position where you have all those luxuries, and it makes it makes financial planning. So much more, shall I say, meaningful? It just becomes a pleasure, you know. And both, as a planner, you experienced that, and also your clients experience that. And guess what happens, then, you know, those relationships become even tighter. When you take

 

Louis van der Merwe 

out the self interest? Absolutely, that increases the trust, and you will trust is the base of your, of your relationship with with a client, that’s what you sell?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Well, it’s horrible decide like that. But, you know, think about it, you know, that’s, as a financial planner, I think, if I can frame it like that, I think that needs to be part of, you know, your, your product offering

 

Louis van der Merwe 

you and well, I’m in sales can be a dirty word, but we’re all selling all the time. Yeah, you’re selling your expertise. And what you’re saying is that if your incentives are aligned, and you don’t have this pressure, then, you know, that leads to a much better quality relationship. Absolutely.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

And also, you know, I mean, your your own experience of, you know, the way that you experiencing your job. I don’t want to call it a job, is it a career, it’s your calling your calling, you know, it didn’t become something more akin to a calling than just the thing you clock in for what, eight o’clock in the morning and clock out four o’clock in the afternoon. By the way, you know, I mean, the fantastic thing about on your practice is that you don’t have to observe those hours, you know? Yeah, so there are definite spin offs to building a practice, founded on, on, on on long term relationships. And, and, you know, keeping it keeping it meaningful,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I derailed your thinking they’re a little bit in terms of, you know, what, what it is that you were delivering to your clients then versus now, but it sounds like this evolution, you know, you had this vision of were you working towards a, and almost feels like the same type of relationship someone would have with a psychologist that they have with their financial planner, that’s an

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

interesting one, the difference with a psychologist is you terminate the relationship, once your client has mastered, whatever it is that he or she has come to you for. So there might be a crisis. And as a psychologist, you help you assessed, and your success is measured by whether you can dominate with your client, because if you can fact yourself out of that client’s life, it means that you would have taught that client, the skill to handle whatever it was that you she came to you for. Whereas as a financial planner, I don’t want to terminate my relationship with you. It’s great for me to see you each year. And let’s review you know, what we said last year, and how things panned out for you over the last year. And let’s see how far you know how far we will offer we’ll be accurate in terms of the assumptions we made last year. And how can we panel be you know your plan to help you achieve what it is that you see for yourself for the next year? So there will be a difference? To me there is

 

Louis van der Merwe 

a space for terminating client relationships with a financial planner.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Interesting. Yes, I think is I’ve always thought about the client base that you and our consumers in terms of parts a pie chart. So there will be people that will never need my annual advice and that is fine. I still have friends from the asset management community from back in the days my in the investment division. Now, none of those folk will ever come to me for not for financial advice. Why not because they are capable. looking after their own finances, I would think you disagree. But in my mind, I have, I have this idea. Some people will never seek my advice, and that’s fine. And so I mean, then you can make up that pie chart of whichever sections you want to. But there is going to be a section, that is going to be the section in the market, that you will be good at servicing because of the unique skill that you bring to market. And that’s, you know, the client base that I’m often or that I would like to engage with, I would think that if a client comes to me and says, Listen, I appreciate very much what you’ve done for me so far, but are actually not like to try and do this on my own, then room artists, I know you can’t do that. So I’ve got to be open enough in my in the way that I view relationships with my clients that they can terminate at any at any time, they might terminate for other reasons they might terminate, because for some reason, I think I’m no longer the best person to service the interest. And we can have a discussion about that. Now I can ask them, you know, what is shifted in your life,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

that,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

you know, you think that I can no longer make a meaningful, meaningful contribution? And I’m like, give me a perfectly valid answer. And then yes, you know, there is a reason for us to terminate our relationship. And it’s based loosely on this notion that I think any relationship that is mutually satisfying can only be which is satisfying, if it’s voluntary, can never be forced. Yeah,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

yeah, that’s true. But what I’m seeing is that it’s celebrated to terminate that client relationship in a psychology yield. Yeah, but it’s a loss in the financial planning field.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

He, I would agree with that. But it could also be, you know, if if the termination of a client inside the financial planning field, if that goes hand in hand with constructive feedback that a client would give me and says, Listen, I’m terminating this relationship between two of us because this and that, and that happened, and I walk away from from that discussion as it was, because I didn’t know that that was the influence that I had on you, when I did this, then that termination might have resulted in achieving self insight. And making me a better planner going forward. So you know, I’m at the office I was at, when you resign, there would be an exit interview. And the purpose of the exit interview was, you know, that both you and your manager had a chance to review the reasons for why it was that you left the organization. And that that is a valuable practice to have, if you know, you stop using my service for whatever reason. And it’s because of something that I did that didn’t meet your expectations. I’d like to know about that. Not because I want to argue with you, but because I want to, I want to learn it, you know, I mean, becoming a better human being is a work in progress that only stops the day you die. You know,

 

Louis van der Merwe 

you’re when you cancel any subscription. It also, you know, this subscription, and I don’t want to be what you’re delivering to a subscription. But there’s a sense of, from my side saying, shouldn’t we be helping clients to get to a point where they can say, Hey, I cannot do this on my own, I don’t need the support of a virtual planner, or Uri, I’ll reach out to you when my life situation changes and maybe really needed services.

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

I think, you know, in the way that we as financial planners offer services, we need to make provision for that kind of a scenario. I think Warren Ingram wrote a book that is got that title as a notion how to become your own financial planner, kind of the idea of, you know, educate yourself, so that financial planning becomes superfluous. And I think some ways he says, You know, I judge my success by becoming obsolete in the life of a client. So it certainly is a, I think it’s a it’s a mindset that you need to have to begin with. But I think it’s a healthy approach that wouldn’t harm if I think we could build that into our expectations more frequently. Absolutely.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

I want to talk a little bit about this continuous development, right? You’re saying the skills that you should be working on to deliver advice and in the future, speaking to a younger group of financial planners that may be entering the industry now that might be stuck at a life offices, so association that, uh, that have a bit of experience, but want to take that leap? What would you say to them? What would you say to Europe 23 years ago? What are the skills that you need to be working on to become a successful financial planner,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

the first thing I would say to us this, you have something that is unique to you, that you can bring to market find that spend most of your energy finding that if I look at what’s out there, on social media, if I look at what’s available, off the shelves, the forms of books and whatnot, I think to young person that can be intimidating. And the risk would be that, you know, you read all these things, and you think you’re going to find your answer they and you never think deeply about what it is that is important to you, and what it is that you are good at. And again, I go back to, you know, this association of independent financial planners that I referred to earlier, that, to me was the biggest the single biggest lesson I took from that, you know, each time we sit around a table, you look at each of those individuals around the table, everybody has got something unique that they bring to the table. And I might not agree, you know, with a way that you run your practice. But that’s besides the point, you found your niche. And you’ve built a successful practice on that. And you’ve attracted clients that depend on your advice. So that would be your first point, think deeply think deeply about what it is that is unique to you, that you have a passion for, and that you bring to market? Second thing, once you found that hone that skill, forget about all the other stuff that you hear, Hone that skill first. And then once you know, you’ve established yourself, and you feel comfortable in your skin that Listen, I’m good at speaking to people in the age bracket, let’s say 30 to 3530 to 45. Because, you know, I understand that generation very well. I have a passion for maybe a specific direction, let’s say, investments, you know, I love talking about markets. So So once you’ve, you’ve honed that skill, then you can start to broaden, then you can start to learn more. But I think for for for young person entering the industry, you know, before you listen to what everybody else has got to say, find out what this little voice inside yourself says about where a good place would be for you. It’s been Tom day.

 

Louis van der Merwe 

Thank you for that theory. What I what I’m hearing is that that relentless focus on developing your core strengths. And I’ve looked at things like Gallup, strength finder, and these things are are very valuable. And the inia Graham assessment and the things that, you know, that’s out there for financial planners, and it’s worthwhile spending a bit of time understanding what it is that makes you tick. Because when we focus on those strengths, things become effortless. Yeah. And it’s not this kind of drag. We taught at school to like, focus on your weaknesses, he need to get your your marks up to this subject, because it’s not good enough yet. What you’re saying is the key is actually doubling down on what it is that keeps you fueled. Well,

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

you know, I think, Authenticity, if you can, if you can pitch up in this world, as the best version of yourself, you know, that sounds cliched, but you know, in the end, if you want to enjoy what it is that you’re doing in your waking hours, you better make sure there is alignment between who it is that you are at the core and what it is that you want to do. And that’s what I mean by you know, spend time in finding out what makes you tick. And that’s going to, it’s going to make you come across genuine, it’s going to make you come across enthusiastically, you know, rather than trying to be I mean, what’s the latest fad, you know, there’s so much I mean, you know, you your holistic planner, or your financial life planner, or your this or that culture, whatever the case may be, and, you know, I’m not degrading any of that. I’m just saying there’s so much noise around that, you know, if you’re a newcomer to the industry, you can’t be distracted so easily about all of these terms that are thrown around, that you forget about looking inward as a first step, and trying to figure out, you know, what it is that you can bring to market that is unique and that you’re nobody is going to bring that to the market as well as you can. I mean, that’s a differential advantage. You can build your practice on that. How That? Is that what

 

Louis van der Merwe 

financial planning stuck for you? You didn’t you didn’t move on after two or three years? Is that why financial planning stuck for you? You didn’t move to another career after two or three years?

 

Jurie Gouwsventer 

Yeah, look, I mean, the fantastic thing about financial planning is all the way that I experienced it, you know, it presents you with all of these options to, to keep working at yourself, you know, another variable that entered the equation, that wasn’t the requirement back, you know, when I started out as a financial planner, is this whole focus on continued professional development? What is that about? What does that say? You know, we have an institute that requires us to spend X amount of hours per year for continued professional. I mean, it shouldn’t be the industry’s job to do that. You should want to do that, you know, because it’s just staying up to date, technically. But nevermind, technically, you know, just broaden your skillset, become a better listener, the course we attended, I mean, that’s something that I think can be a lifelong practice, what it is, you know, what is it when we talk about empathy, that is a skill that a lot of the time we know, we have to work at continuously? So it shouldn’t be a requirement from a regulator that you engage in continuous professional development? You should do that in any event. So just like the industry is evolving, you as a financial planner should also be absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. And not only you know, as far as technical skills is concerned. Yeah, we’ve had the discussion we Yeah, we talked about soft skills, but they’re actually hard skills. It’s those you know, the human skills, that it’s just you know, not because anybody says you should develop them, it’s just, you know, it’s just rewarding, you know, if if, just to see you know, what it does to the discussion between you and an another human being if for change, you do more listening than talking. That’s a brilliant place to start. Yuri, I want to thank you so much for spending the time talking about your history and what you’re doing and what you see in this profession. Your Passion is shining through in what you’re doing. And I want to thank you for that contribution today. Lewis was absolutely My pleasure. And I wish you all the luck for your podcast, my friend. Thank you so much. Okay. Thanks, Lee.

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