Updated: Sep 28
In Early 2019, I was walking with a client over from my office to Plaza Singapura after a conducive day of Financial Planning for her.
Now. there are Two Ways to the Mall -
a) The Quick Way, where you Jaywalk to Istana Park and take the Underpass
b) The Slow Way, where you walk pretty far down, take one green man to the direction of YMCA before waiting one more red light so you can cross over to Plaza Sing.
You guys know me. I was about to engage Option (a) when I received a HUGE OBJECTION from the client, a mother of two.
Mind you, this client had been an absolute joy to work the whole way, with clear reverence for my expertise and appreciation for my time.
So it surprised me when the biggest objection I would get from her all day was NOT to Jaywalk, rather than some other Financial Objection.
"But its pretty safe," I pointed out.
(With light traffic, four years of this specific jaywalking experience under my belt and a hot sun beating down on us.)
Plus, there wasn't even a 'No Jaywalking' sign. It just didn't have a Traffic Light.
"What if there are kids watching?" she responded, looking indignant. "You don't want them to learn from us at that age. It would be very different."
I was incredulous. It was only over a year later, I finally seemed to understand what she meant.
1) Don't Jaywalk...Because Kids are Watching
On Leadership: Having Mini-Maverick around has exposed my flaws quite loudly and embarrassingly.
For example, he notices that I often skip compulsory trainings in the interest of getting more work done. Usually, I end up studying what I miss on the bus and finishing the quizzes later.
Unfortunately, during his first few weeks all he could see while he was with me was the first part, which is the skipping of training.
Obviously as a beginner consultant, you have no business doing that until you have a solid foundation.
It hurts someone who doesn't have experience when you Jaywalk in front of them, because when they're inclined to mimic you - they don't have your experience or expertise.
The consequences for children trying to mimic you without this understanding can be literally fatal - and in business, you have to ensure that you protect both your understudies and your children.
On Investing: This applies even more so for investing. In Finance Forums today, we have a tremendous amount of expert Jaywalkers who actively promote a culture of Jaywalking.
Metaphorically speaking, anyway. Some common expert Jaywalkers have some pretty outrageous ideas about expected returns or leveraging. Trying to imitate an idea just because it is seemingly popular or capitalizes on your greed could leave you dead on the road.
(That was morbid.)
Even though I'm a big fan of taking calculated risks, I think it might not always be fair to be in a position to influence others badly. If I have to teach someone to Jaywalk for the purpose of saving time, I'd better be holding their hand. SEE ALSO: Why you should invest aggressively NOW (and how you still can have peace of mind)
...And I watch out for children too, not just cars.
2) Do what you say...Or You Won't Get Respect
Being caught out on doing something particularly hypocritical is surprisingly not uncommon as a leader, either. I've often found in the last few months that Mini-Maverick finds me in a position where I end up having to suggest that he does as I say, not as I do.
In true classic fashion, I was comfortable with this because I am hardworking, not disciplined.
(I often find that I work best in an unstructured manner where I work on what I feel on working on most and eventually get it done.)
But the negative results on his discipline became obvious because I don't hold myself to standards that I tell him to.
That had to change - and as a result, he's takes everything I say extremely seriously in a professional setting.
Children will not listen to you if you tell them not to Jaywalk but persistently do so yourself? At the very least - if you must break from the mould - tell them to watch both sides of the street carefully and look out for other children.
For investing, this applies much more to having your interests aligned with a client. In the past, some mutual funds were called out for this because you could take a conflicting position from your clients investments, resulting in a conflict of interest.
While I'm not a mutual fund manager, it's usually important for my clients to see that I am willing to take the same risks as what I'm recommending, or at least to the appropriate degrees.
That doesn't mean compromising your risk profile to suit your client (be it too low or too high), but to show them that you have vested interest through your
i) Securities: Where you're investing in some of the securities you'd like your client to consider, and you can speak to them both on a fundamental (e.g. the securities involved, track records, strength and projections) and personal level
ii) Actions: Where your experience can serve as a testimonial for your credibility. For example, when did you invest? Why did or didn't you invest in it? How did certain points make you feel, especially if you weren't as good an investor as you are now?
I've often found that my clients, much like children who may not want to listen to you - are much more willing to try them if you show them that you practice what you preach. If you do it right, they won't
That doesn't guarantee it'll be an amazing experience for everyone, but it helps a lot - and at least teaches them not to Jaywalk without looking in future.
3) Some Last Thoughts and Wrap Up
In summary, that's how I've been mentoring my kid.
For the full story of how I ended up taking him on, you can watch his self-produced video here. All the events are entirely true.
Incidentally, not everyone has liked it - which is reasonable, but I think the entire Money Maverick brand is plagued with critics who say they want the truth and can't deal with it very well. Time and hard work will tell if he'll be a great advisor, and I think he's really putting in the hours to make it so.
For those of you who have been with Money Maverick since 2018, you guys know that I am not a big fan of management. It has been an exciting time in the last three months to see what kind of leader I am.
Erdem has also been banned from the Seedly Group despite not having ever posted a single thing there nor had any conversations with them. SEE ALSO: What I Wrote to Get Kicked Out of Seedly [And Should You Be Worried?]
Which basically means his success is inevitable.
Lastly, some of you have been asking for more technical articles that I'm known for. The last two articles on Mortgage Interest have been technical enough and offering readers an opportunity to see what I might do for them, but its time to seriously get down and dirty with some investment and insurance material.
Starting with this next week.
People have been asking about how I achieved my track record for years. I'm not going to reveal a lot, but it's not going to be nothing.
Look forward to it.
Investments are also available using CPF (Ordinary Account), SRS (Supplementary Retirement Scheme) and Cash.