How To Define Quality In Financial Advice

There are two ways of looking at things, objective and subjective

Actually there are others, such as quality, but let’s stick with these two for the moment.

If one is objective about something, it means that we see the thing for what it is; based on facts, not influenced by personal feelings. It might mean that we see the thing by our relationship to it, two separately identifiable things standing next to each other.

If one is subjective about something, it means we see the thing by our own opinion of it or feelings about it, rather than solely on the facts alone. One might say that we view ourselves subject to the other thing, by our relationship to it.

Objectively, a car is pieces of metal putting together in such a way that, when you put fuel into it, it moves under its own volition.

Subjectively, a car is a way for me to see my mum.

Objectively, a financial advisor provides financial advice, being information knowledge and expertise about pensions investments and tax.

Subjectively, the financial advisor helps a client to achieve things in life they want to achieve.


Now let’s return to that third way of seeing things, whether something has quality. What actually is quality?

Quality means different things to different people. In terms of a car, it might be the smoothness of the drive. For others it might be the time taken to complete the journey. Still others will have regard the sound the engine makes, or what the car looks like. For me, it is the comfort and the depth of the sound system.

Quality takes objectivity and turns it into something far more interesting. Without considering the quality of something, the car is just a box of metal.

Quality And Financial Advice

In financial advice terms, I would suggest quality means helping somebody achieve a life they didn’t even know was possible before they came to see you. When you lay quality on top of subjectivity and objectivity in the financial advice process, you get purpose.

Suppose you are doing your job as a financial adviser objectively. You focus on the finances; the investments, the tax, the pensions. Maybe it’s a little bit boring, because there is a set process to follow.

If you perform the role of financial adviser subjectively, you will be looking at the client’s relationship with their money. This will include looking at investment, tax and pensions. But you will go deeper than just these facts, and will consider how the client’s finances are affecting their actions and emotions.

If you look for quality within that process, you will start to bring meaning and purpose for a client in their relationship to their finances.

The Outcome

This will have two consequences. Firstly, the client will be far more engaged, as they begin to see the quality in your advice.

Secondly, you will also become more engaged. Looking for and applying quality always makes things more fun!

This creates a knock on effect, as an approach that is more fun will begin to spread. The client will tell their friends, and they too will become interested in the quality you are now bringing to your job. Your colleagues will start to become interested too, as they see the addictive affect that applying quality to the process brings.

Financial wellbeing is the name I would give to this word quality when it is applied to the financial advice process.

It is the focus on how to make clients happier, not just wealthier. It’s a deep and fascinating area, but it starts with an attitude to not just talk about the money, not even just to talk about the client, but to also understand the research about what makes us happy. Only then you can apply that quality to the client.

Bringing that focus, that quality, into the financial advice process is not only addictive – it is infectious!

This blog is inspired by the book Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, a book that has been in our household all my life but that I’ve only recently become mature enough to read.