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Veritas Values and What They Offer You

Aug 12, 2020 | Financial Planning, General | 1 comment

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The start of this month (August 2020) marked 16 years in business for Veritas Wealth.  We have spent some time reflecting on the path we have followed and where the future will likely take us. Importantly, we have been asking ourselves some hard questions. What is our core value proposition and how do we ensure that all our clients are experiencing this? How can we enhance this experience?

Looking back, we have always strived to be at the cutting edge of financial planning, benchmarking ourselves against the best globally and staying abreast of new developments or methodologies. Our underlying philosophy of lifestyle financial planning has not changed and underpins our approach and our processes. This philosophy will not change and only be enhanced. On reflection, we believe that clients who have been through a life transition or traumatic life event with us probably best understand the value of what we offer as a financial planning practice.

To most financial advisers, the money is at the centre of decision making. The central philosophy of lifestyle financial planning is that you (the client) is at the very centre of decision making.

What we are very clear about is that money is a utility, much like a sail of a yacht, where you are the yacht, the winds are the markets and the ocean your life. The sail is only a tool used to skilfully navigate you to your chosen destination using the prevailing wind.

We also know that to do this well we need to know your life story…the big picture. We need to know your financial history and experiences around money, your opportunities, aspirations, situation, challenges you and your family face. Unless we know these things, we will be quite limited in the value we truly offer.

In writing this article, with some insight and help from Mitch Antony (a US based financial planner) we would like to be clear on what we believe our core value offering is and would like you, our clients, to hold us accountable to these in our interactions with you. 

1. Organisation

Everyone does a spring clean of their clothes cupboard once in a while, an arduous task but one that needs doing.  A likely outcome is three piles of clothing – A-Definitely-keep pile.  A Get-rid-of-immediately pile, and A Maybe-someday-I’ll-wear-this pile. It is no different when we meet a client and have a look at their ‘financial cupboard’ full of clutter and things they never knew they even had.

We help you bring order to your ‘financial cupboard’. We do a clean sweep of all the bits and pieces you have accumulated over your life. We declutter the chaos and confusion by getting rid of what you don’t need, keep what makes sense and identify what you are missing. What’s the value of this? It brings clients that great feeling of being in control; of having their hands firmly on the steering wheel and heading in the right direction.

We have noticed that it brings an incredible sense of calm for clients.

2. Accountability

Years ago, as a half decent sportsman who knew quite a bit about training methods and techniques to train effectively, I would chuckle at people hiring personal trainers at the gym. Paying them R450 per hour so they could count to 10 and then move to the next station only to count to 10 again. They must be mad, I thought. What a waste of money.

Today, I pay a personal trainer. Why you ask?  Well it’s not to count to 10 I can assure you but I pay them to hold me accountable. I had stopped showing up, I didn’t work as hard on my own in the gym. Now, when I want to pick a lighter weight or stop after two sets, or rollover and go back to sleep when my alarm clock goes off, I have someone holding me accountable for my stated best intention of staying fit. Now I have to show up and when I am exercising my personal trainer makes sure I get the most out of that hour! The incremental wins have made a significant difference to me. What’s the value of that?

A financial planner brings accountability to your stated financial goals. Everyone will have different goals and plans. We help you follow through on your stated best intention regarding your financial decisions. We make sure that you ‘turn up’ and are held accountable.

3. Insight

We bring insight from the outside. We do not have the answers, but we can help you unravel the problem and allow you to come to your own decisions. We tell you what you need to hear and not necessarily what you want to hear. Our ability to bring objectivity to a decision you are facing is very valuable.

We have realised that one of our greatest value adds is sharing wisdom. We help you to make wise financial decisions. Note the word financial decisions and not investment decisions. This is much wider than just investments. We are constantly helping with decisions around spending, cashflow, borrowing, lending, insurance, tax, estate planning, business planning, succession planning and the construction of wills. As you can see, our job is not just about investing! This is not to say that investing is not a very important component; it is very important, but it is not the only thing we do.

4. Proactivity

As Mitch Anthony says, “It is far better to prepare than it is to repair!” We will all go through many life transitions, whether they be health related (serious illness or incapacity), work related (retirement or retrenchment), family related (losing a loved one or getting divorced). They all have financial implications that need careful planning.

Some of these life transitions are unavoidable. We identify these in advance, and discuss and plan with you.  As Mitch Anthony always says, “life happens and the money follows!” People make their biggest, worst financial decisions at a time of high stress, which is normally coupled by a big life transition like retirement, divorce, retrenchment or losing a family member. There is great value in being prepared for some of these eventualities.

5. Education

This speaks more to investment behavioural finance and getting you to understand and recognise that we are all emotional beings. We all have our own histories and behavioural biases which impact our decision making. We help you think through your financial decision making and act as rationally as possible. What is the value of someone slowing you down and avoiding an emotionally charged decision? What is the value of having someone to act as a sounding board for your important financial decisions?  This is difficult to measure, but given that most bad investment decisions are made at a time of stress this must be hugely valuable.

6. Partnership

We see our relationship with you as a partnership. We cannot row this boat on our own. We need you to pick up an oar. We can’t do this without you and need your full engagement. This is your life and your financial plan and we cannot implement without you.  What is the value of having a partner in your boat looking out for you? We don’t want to be seen solely as your investment manager but rather your partner on your financial journey.

In summary, we still believe strongly that our very simple but powerful philosophy of Lifestyle Financial Planning will remain central to our offering. We are constantly searching to find new ways to understand who our clients are and what they are trying to achieve.

We started this 16 years ago with a simple lifetime financial planning tool. We have evolved and realise now that it is more important to have better conversations with clients and identify these life transitions early. We cannot let the ball drop on how we implement the advice through investments, but as you can see we should be offering you way more than just investments.

We would like you to hold us accountable to these six core values. Have a read of this article before you come and see us again and please make sure you are getting the most out of what Veritas Wealth can offer you and your family.


1 Comment

  1. Andre Du Toit

    Six essential core values in order to achieve financial success/fitness. Well done Veritas Wealth! Keep up the GOOD work.


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