“Relationships with clients are all about trust.”

Farida Hassanali is based in London and has been working in the financial planning profession since she graduated in 2007. She has been working at Paradigm Norton for four years with a split role as a Client Manager and Deputy Chair of the Investment Committee.

Farida is a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) and Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments(CISI) having completed the Chartered and Certified Financial Planner qualifications. She values professional and personal development, aiming to take a course or qualification at least once a year. This year that has included the Financial Wellbeing Certificate and becoming a Mental Health First Aider.

Beyond work, Farida continues to challenge her fear of public speaking having undertaken a course at CityLit and joined the local CrossFit gym, which provides a great level of community and support.

Farida was recommended by Sally Matthews. Sally says: “I don’t think I know anyone who is as devoted to relentless self-improvement as Farida.”

How would you summarise your passions, both in and out of work?

Maths doesn’t come naturally for many people, but for me numbers have always made sense and I love that I get to use that skill to help people. Whilst there are plenty of complexities within tax and investing, I’m passionate about empowering people to get started because I know that those small steps now will make a big difference going forward.

Outside of work, I like challenging myself and trying new things be that doing something active or something creative.

What’s your happiest memory?

Seeing the sun rise at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. I’d always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro as my family are from Tanzania and decided to do so to celebrate completing my financial planning exams. This was one of the first big things I’d done by myself, but also for myself.

What one thing do you wish you’d been told about finance when you were 15?

My parents have always worked hard and saved diligently. However, they are incredibly risk averse. I wish 15-year-old me knew that investing in a diverse low-cost fund is a risk worth taking.

What made you want to work in finance?

I never actually thought about myself working in finance – I’ve just always wanted to be a financial planner! I had my financial planning lightbulb moment when I was 12 whilst watching Alvin Hall’s ‘Your Money or Your Life’.

The show helped people understand their finances and how to control them, rather than letting things pile up and cause anxiety and fear of the unknown. I remember sitting there thinking what a great job that was and what a difference it would make if more people could have a similar experience working with someone to organise their finances.

What prompted you to join the Institute for Financial Wellbeing?

Chris Budd was always an active member of the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) community. I was excited to see the launch of the IFW and fortunate to work at Paradigm Norton, who are big supporters of anything you can do to improve your skills and better serve your clients.

What drew you to financial wellbeing in the first place?

It feels like a natural extension of our roles as financial planners. I’ve always been interested in how coaching can lead to clients having more clarity and encouraging them to help themselves. Paradigm Norton are encouraging all of us to complete the Financial Wellbeing Certificate and this is a really valuable introduction to coaching.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about financial wellbeing since joining?

For me, it’s actually been a very introspective journey. I need to feel authentic when I am talking to others about their financial wellbeing. To do that, I need to make sure I’m prioritising my own wellbeing.

Relationships with clients are all about trust. By spending time listening to them early on, you can make recommendations that are better tailored to them, helping to organise their finances as a whole. For me, that organisational aspect is key so that they don’t have to think about what they do not know or what opportunities they might be missing, because you are doing that for them.

What’s your top tip for someone wanting to improve their financial wellbeing?

Think about the five elements of wellbeing (career, social, financial, physical and community) and what you can do to make sure you are giving each of them regular attention. There will always be times in your life where one takes more energy than another and for some people that may be their preference. However, the Financial Wellbeing Certificate has taught me that you need at least a little of each to live a truly balanced life.

Who or what is your favourite wellbeing guru, podcast or book? 

As the one to first introduce me to financial planning, I would have to say Alvin Hall. He has been an adviser for over 30 years with numerous television shows, books and articles focused on financial education and helping people help themselves.

Outside of financial planning, I was introduced to Brené Brown earlier this year. Starting a conversation with the simple words ”the story I’m telling myself…” makes such as difference to helping understand each other’s perspectives. Her ‘The Call to Courage’ presentation on Netflix is well worth 75 minutes of your time.

What are you doing to advance your own financial wellbeing?

Being more mindful to spend time in areas that will provide me with day-to-day and long-term benefits. A key example if switching from an expensive gym membership I wasn’t using to a more expensive one that’s provided me with support, motivation and a community that I always look forward to attending.

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