Seek something extra. Find someone who goes the extra mile. Any half-decent adviser will send a Christmas card, but every financial institution knows your date of birth, so why don’t they send you a birthday card? If you’re married, they should know your anniversary date and send you a text or email 3–4 days ahead of time to remind you to plan something special or pick up a gift. They know your account balance, but do they know your kids names? Do they know your hobbies and interests? The little things make a big difference.
As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Britton.
Jeremy Britton started his first financial planning business at age 19. He went on to start six more financial planning businesses (plus several retail and service businesses) and sold a tiny startup business for six figures. Along the way, he discovered a 300-year old financial tool which helped him to predict the 1999 Tech Wreck, forecast the GFC two years ahead of time, and predict the 2020 crash six months before COVID hit. He also became a best-selling author, won a Money Magazine award and co-founded the world’s first crypto mutual fund.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My parents were both schoolteachers, so I had education ingrained into me. My path was supposed to take me onto university to find a “good job” but I wanted to work flexible hours and make money on my own terms. My first business failed after six months, but I learned from it and kept trying. My second business failed after 18 months, which to me was a 300% improvement! I persevered, hired a business coach, sought the advice of mentors, and found success was not from a high-school education or diploma, but from ‘street smarts’.
Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
I have many humorous stories and life lessons, but probably the most potent lesson is around self-belief. When I was 19 years old and broke, I felt out of depth advising millionaire clients in their 60s and 70s. My mentor told me “all you need is to know 5% more than the client, and they will think you’re an expert”. I did not have decades of experience and millions of dollars back then. I just had to trust in my training and theoretical knowledge and put myself into my client’s shoes: Knowing what I know, what would I do, if I were you?
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
The stock market was elitist before the 1970s, with only the very wealthy able to own stocks. This changed with the creation of mutual funds and discount brokers. Five years ago, we realised it was difficult for average people to create a safe and diversified portfolio of cryptocurrency, so we created the world’s first crypto mutual fund (BostonCoin). This helps to democratize crypto for the average person who does not have the time to manage a portfolio on their own. Five years after launching the moderate BostonCoin to diversify and reduce volatility (or “take the bite out of bitcoin”) we will soon be launching two new portfolios: DartCoin and PollyCoin.
This is to service different market demographics, toward the traditional bank savings versus the speculative investors. Whereas the diversified BostonCoin has enjoyed returns of up to 500% per year, Polly will aim for stable returns around 5% per year, and Dart will target returns higher than bitcoin. This gives investors a “small, medium or large” choice, rather than a yes/no choice.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
I used to work in a windowless office for up to 70 hours/week. I ignored lunchbreaks, ignored bodily aches and pains and neglected family duties, as I was always chasing the money. I suffered a stress-related heart attack at 33, followed swiftly by a six-figure divorce. It was only after I lost connection to my health and my family that I realised that “true wealth” was not just money. I committed to starting a new business, working 24 hours each week, maximizing time spent with my children and focusing on health and wellness. I have created a few businesses which only require 24 hours/week to run, and they are easy to build, scale and sell. Next time you are thinking that a few extra hours in the office are a good move, ask yourself, “WWBD?” (“What Would (Richard) Branson Do?”)
What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout? Can you give a story or example?
My burnout story is the best example of what NOT to do. I would not recommend a heart attack, crippling divorce, anxiety or depression. The time to plan for things is before they occur, so take steps to decrease workload, increase physical and mental health. Spend time with loved ones and learn to meditate.
Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As an “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?
- Seek an independent financial adviser. Most advisers are paid by banks or financial institutions, so they do not actually have your best interest as their top priority; their duty is to their employer.
- Seek someone who has experienced at least one market downturn, preferably more. Anyone can make money when things are going well, so find someone who has been in the markets for 10+ years and knows what to do in troubled times. “A good sea makes for a bad sailor; a bad sea makes for a good sailor”
- Continuing the nautical theme, find someone who will be with you for the whole voyage. Investment timeframes can be 20+ years, and you need someone who can be with you and advise you over that period. Find a younger adviser who has 10+ years of experience but 20+ years to retirement, or choose a firm with a succession plan.
- Seek someone with a multi-faceted approach. Even if you are 100% stocks, your adviser will need to know bond markets, property markets, macroeconomics, cryptocurrency and more. In this world everything is connected, and all of these diverse things will interact and impact upon your investment.
- Ask for referrals to 3 or more past clients. Due to privacy, an adviser cannot give you the names and numbers of their clients, but you can still offer your name and number to be passed onto them. Even a bad adviser will have 1–2 happy clients, but only a good adviser will have 4 or more happy clients.
- Seek something extra. Find someone who goes the extra mile. Any half-decent adviser will send a Christmas card, but every financial institution knows your date of birth, so why don’t they send you a birthday card? If you’re married, they should know your anniversary date and send you a text or email 3–4 days ahead of time to remind you to plan something special or pick up a gift. They know your account balance, but do they know your kids names? Do they know your hobbies and interests? The little things make a big difference.
I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why? Can you give an example?
I once had a man complain about being referred to me, as he said “financial advisers are for people with a LOT of money.” He only (!!) had 100 000 dollars. Most advisers can easily assist people who have 3000 dollars – 5000 dollars, so I would suggest that financial advisers are for anyone who wants to have a lot of money.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My original “rich dad” mentor was a man who was generous with his time, and totally flipped my limited world-view. As a child of working-class employees, I saw rich people only on TV, where they were invariably typecast. The villains on Scooby Doo were always rich real estate developers, and the heroes are poor students. As a teenager, I watched screeds of Hollywood movies where the villains were wealthy criminals and the heroes were broke cops or ordinary employees. Only when I met and worked with multi-millionaires did I realise that rich people were not all criminals (and broke people were not all heroes). Most kids want to be richer, but not if it makes them evil. If you have been conditioned by Hollywood or your parents, you may need to wash your brain or flick your rich switch.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Education is everything. Unfortunately most people stop reading books when they stop school. There are people in the world who took years of trial and error before reaching success in their chosen field. Most of them have written books which condense decades of wisdom into a few days of reading. Turn off the TV and join the library. Stop being brainwashed into mediocrity by Hollywood. Read a book by a millionaire, billionaire, Olympic athlete or someone who overcame the odds in their chosen field. Abundance comes through education, and self-education in your chosen passion beats school.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me anywhere online using “24HourWealthCoach”; that’s a nod to my recommended work week, as well as a celebration that life is not just about money; wealth is anything which you value.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.