THE 7 FINANCIAL HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL PARTNERS
Making the leap from professional to partner is a landmark in anyone’s career. Not everyone will have the opportunity to take such an imposing step, nor will everyone presented with such an opportunity succeed. In the professional world, becoming a partner is one of the true ‘many are called but few are chosen’ moments.
It’s a huge achievement and of course, it’s something to celebrate and take pride in. The chance doesn’t land in your lap – making partner is usually the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication – depending on the type of firm you work for, it’s not uncommon to take 15 or even 20 years to reach this status. It’s a long-term goal, planned, practiced and pursued. It requires dedication, vision, lots of hard work and the ability to deal with (and learn from) setbacks along the way.
But it also comes with a hefty package of new day-to-day realities and responsibilities that eat into your time and threaten to derail you from your longer-term plans. In this guide we’re looking at seven important financial habits to keep you on track and allow you to enjoy the career you’ve worked hard for, but also help you to gracefully dismount from it when the time is right and enjoy the next stage of your life.
THEY KEEP THEIR PERSPECTIVE
“IT’S LIKE IF YOU’RE AN ASTRONAUT AND YOU’VE BEEN TO THE MOON, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?” – SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY
Let’s start here, because from a career point of view you shot for the moon and succeeded. That’s definitely something to enjoy and it’s entirely appropriate to be proud of what you’ve achieved. But what now? Even US astronauts, Buzz Aldrin among them, struggled with that question. Once you’ve landed on the moon, once you’ve been in the biggest band in history, once you’ve scaled the heights of your chosen profession, what do you do next? The important part of the quote above is “what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” If you’re a client we’ll have asked you this question already. If you’re new to us, the same question is definitely coming your way. Becoming a partner is a big responsibility, but it’s a golden opportunity, not the golden handcuffs. What’s important is to understand how to use this opportunity to further your life goals and ambitions for your future, rather than have it become the main focus in itself.
The good news is that many of the lessons from the road to becoming a partner complement the themes of great financial planning. For one thing, you’ll already be well aware of the value of thinking long term. There’s no such thing as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme and there’s no ‘become a partner quick’ scheme either. But it’s important that having scaled a mountain, you don’t feel as though you’re immediately faced with another. We’ve spent many years working with people at the pinnacle of their profession, helping them to reach a balance in which they can shoulder the responsibility of their position and enjoy the glory years, while never losing sight of their exit strategy or the life that exists beyond work.
THEY’RE GOOD AT DELEGATING
“THE KEY IS IN NOT SPENDING TIME, BUT IN INVESTING IT” – STEPHEN R. COVEY
As a partner, you can expect more, but more is expected from you too. There are more demands on your time, more is required of you in terms of due diligence, transparency and regulation. There are rules around independence and considerations around financial, business and personal connections, especially where you’re acting in an audit capacity. We understand both the practical and moral gravitas of the financial and tax planning you need. Unlike other steps in your professional career, being a partner is much more akin to being self-employed, which may take some getting used to after many years on a payroll working your way towards making the leap. Being a partner doesn’t come without financial rewards, but it also opens up your income to fluctuations that weren’t there before. You’re eligible for a share of profits, but your finances are more closely tied to the fortunes of the company.
“The biggest thing is the understanding of independence issues. You can get caught out because it’s complex. Clinton’s team does all of that for me.” – Ian West, Citywide client
None of this is insurmountable, but it’s easy to allow the sharp shifts in reality to interfere with your long-term view of life, because time is at a premium. The adage that time moves slowly but passes quickly is never more accurate than when you’re immersed in your work. Sooner or later you have to start moving this finite resource around, and something has to suffer. Or at least it does if you try to do everything yourself. On the road to becoming a partner you’re likely to have spent at least some of your time managing others. That means learning the art of delegation, and the great thing about delegation is that it’s a transferable skill. Just as you’d delegate work to the people best equipped to carry it out, so you should approach financial planning as something to trust the experts with.
THEY’RE CLEAR ABOUT GOALS
“ALL WHO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED GREAT THINGS HAVE HAD A GREAT AIM, HAVE FIXED THEIR GAZE ON A GOAL WHICH WAS HIGH, ONE WHICH SOMETIMES SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE.” – ORISON SWETT MARDEN We don’t need to tell you about having ambitions. We’d be hard pushed to argue that someone in the position of partner lacked the ability to formulate and follow a plan in order to arrive at a goal they’ve set for themselves. But it’s definitely worth reminding you that there are work goals and then there are life goals. Over the course of your career they may converge to some degree – the promotion comes with the raise in salary that makes x or y possible, and so forth. But the mistake is to believe that what you want to do with your career, and what you want from life, are the same thing. They’re not. We all know the sentiment that you work to live, rather than live to work, and it’s true. When you set out on your career path you no doubt had goals that you wanted to achieve in life. Those goals likely centred on things you’d like to do outside your
professional capacity, and despite being fully occupied with your work right now, there’ll come a time when you’re operating outside that professional capacity once again. Work was, and remains, a means to an end and it’s important to retain that perspective even now. Your career is one thing, your longterm happiness is another. When we begin working with you the first thing we do is listen, to understand what the life you want really looks like. That’s something we’ll help you to work towards consistently, throughout your career (we’ll even remind you of it when we need to).
THEY SEEK OUT THOSE WHO SHARE THEIR VALUES
“SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS, ENCOURAGE YOUR IDEAS, SUPPORT YOUR AMBITIONS, AND BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOU.” – ROY T. BENNETT The word ‘partner’ might be part of your job description, but it’s a word that means much more than that. A partner is also a person, or an organisation, that works with you throughout the course of your life to help you achieve the things you want to achieve, to support you through more difficult times and to celebrate your successes with you. That could be your spouse, your personal trainer or the partner that works with you to keep you on track to achieve the life you really want. There’s a reason the word ‘partners’ appears in our name – we’re not here to perform transactions, we’re here to build and develop lasting relationships, partnerships with our clients, from the moment we meet them for as long as they need us.
“Partners want a seasoned professional, someone with the gravitas and wisdom that you don’t always get with other firms.” – Joel Segal, Citywide client Our business is based on several key values, including a commitment to listening, to understanding your needs, to thinking long-term, to being
open and transparent at all times, and building solid foundations that allow the ambitions you hold to become a reality. But one of the most important values we hold is that our own set of values must work well with yours. We’ll only ever build a partnership with a client where both sides feel that it’s something that can add real value. If we don’t think we’re right for you, we’ll tell you. But if it’s a good match, then we’ll be by your side for as long as you need us – we’ll be supportive, honest and open through good times and bad, helping you to roll with the punches and celebrate your success.
THEY THINK HOLISTICALLY
“FEW PEOPLE CAN WALK IN YOUR SHOES. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT KNOWS YOUR OBSTACLES, CHALLENGES AND STRUGGLES. BE PROUD OF YOURSELF AND THE PROGRESS YOU’VE MADE.” – EDMOND MBIAKA In some business circles the word ‘holistic’ has become something of a buzzword - an adjective to throw into a sales pitch, which is a shame, because it’s actually really important. When you’re planning for your future you have to factor in everything. Right now, you’re the sum of the experiences and the journey you’ve been on so far, and as you progress through your career years you’ll employ all the lessons you’ve learned from every part of that experience. It’s the same with financial planning – it must take everything into account. That means having a high-level appreciation of your full financial background and circumstances as well as knowing the intrinsic detail of the ebb and flow of your finances. That means understanding your cashflow now and how it may look in the years ahead, monitoring the asset allocation of your investments to make sure it keeps step with your changing circumstances and ensuring that you extract every ounce of value from your tax allowances.
“What I like is the holistic nature of the planning. It’s not just numbersbased and getting you to save more, although that’s important. It also thinks about lifestyle and takes into account my whole family.” – Ian West, Citywide client
The nature of being a partner is such that it occurs when you’re already well into your career. It means a period of working in which your earnings are likely to be very high, but it’s also comparatively short and needs to be put to the best possible use. It’s imperative to be certain that your money is working as hard as possible for you, so while you’re pushing your work forward, we’ll be fine-tuning your finances.
THEY KEEP IN MIND THOSE CLOSEST TO THEM
“HAPPINESS IS HAVING A LARGE, LOVING, CARING, CLOSE-KNIT FAMILY IN ANOTHER CITY.” – GEORGE BURNS
Joking aside, it’s a family affair. The goals you set for yourself aren’t really just for you, they’re a projection of the lifestyle and even the legacy you want to provide for you and your family in the years ahead. While some of your goals will centre on things like travel, new skills, property or possessions, there’ll be plenty that focus on being able to assist loved ones through key stages of their lives. That could be putting them through university, paying for their wedding, giving them a leg-up onto the property ladder or even literally investing in them as they put together their own business venture.
with them that you want to, doing the things you want to do. You need to know they have the financial security you want to provide for them, both while you’re still around and after you’re gone.
Even if there are times in the future when the demands of your job mean you take your eye off the ball for a moment, we won’t. Ever. It’s our job to make sure someone is always keeping your finances pointed squarely at When you’re in the thick of your career there isn’t always as much time your long-term ambitions. as you’d like for family and friends, so it’s important to make sure that when you leave your professional life behind, you’re able to spend the time
THEY ALLOW THEMSELVES TO LISTEN AND LEARN
“YOU CANNOT TEACH A MAN ANYTHING. YOU CAN ONLY HELP HIM DISCOVER IT WITHIN HIMSELF.” – GALILEO GALILEI
‘Mentoring’ is a tricky word. At its best, it’s a desire to impart knowledge and to help someone steer the most appropriate course. But it can risk coming across as condescending – especially when the recipient is an experienced professional. But it’s really important to always remain open. As we progress through our careers we all encounter new challenges and new ways of working. Even when we’ve already spent many years on a particular career trajectory, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that learning and development should be continuous. It’s always valuable to gain the perspective of someone who understands what you’re facing and can help you to navigate it.
You didn’t get here by accident or by luck – becoming a partner is a longterm goal that requires dedication and hard work, but remember that the high point of your career and the high point of your life aren’t the same thing. Promotions, raises, even reaching the status of partner are pivotal checkpoints for sure, but none of them are the destination.
“What Citywide offers is a hybrid of executive coaching, business You don’t need to figure out wisdom and financial advice in one. everything for yourself, or deal with It’s different. When you really think increased responsibilities on your about the life you want to lead and own. Career progression should be the legacy you want to leave. That’s about rising to challenges of course, what Citywide can do.” – Joel Segal, but you should leave yourself enough Citywide client room to enjoy it too. It’s a sensible move to draw on the expertise of What matters now is how you use others who can help you to view your career success to your best new demands with new eyes. We advantage. It’s for you to make the work with clients who function at very most of your professional years, the very apex of their profession and and it’s for us to make sure that while there’s always a mutual respect for you’re doing that, the life you dream one another’s expertise. You’re the of is waiting for you when the time industry expert in what you do, and is right. we’re the experts in what we do.
W: citywidefinancial.co.uk E: email@example.com T: 01372 365950 Citywide Financial Partners Limited. Registered office: Riverbridge House, Guildford Road, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9AD Registered number: 04868360 Citywide Financial Partners Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority registered number: 231683 Risk Warning The value of investments and the income arising from them, can go down as well as up, and are not guaranteed, which means that an investor may not get back what they invested. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.