Financial Planning: ‘Walking the Walk’

At Smart Financial, you may already be aware that our philosophy is ‘investing money is purely for the fulfillment of goals’. Hopefully, you will also be aware that this isn’t just a catchy phrase – we not only mean it, we live by it.

Allow us to let Smart Financial CEO Steve Martin to demonstrate how he ‘walks the walk’ as a financial planner; what he set out to achieve when setting up Smart Financial, running a business from Spain and what’s next, in this great interview with Adviser Hangout founder Abraham Okusanya.

Establishing Smart Financial

“Smart Financial was set up to do nothing but lifestyle financial planning from day one and that’s what we’ve done – nothing but lifestyle financial planning from day one.

“We started off as my wife and I, with no intention of hiring staff, but when Michelle was pregnant with our second child I had to hire someone to help me. I then went on a business workshop which asked us to think about what would happen if your staff left or were ill, which led to me taking on another member of staff.

“After this, I found that the business I’d started that was profitable, was no longer profitable and I had to generate new business. I then realised I’d got myself a proper business, which I’d never wanted! But I thought, ‘Actually, this could be fun’.

“I’m now really clear that the best way to live a lifestyle business is have a lifestyle within a business.”

The Move to Spain

“The move was fairly straightforward. Most of my wife’s family is in Spain and we’d holidayed there a lot. Each time we went, we didn’t want to come back.

“We were already technology-literate and using cloud-based systems, so we had portability in the way we worked from day one.”

What Did Your Clients Think?

“They needed reassuring that I hadn’t just gone on holiday for nine months out of the year! Initially, I didn’t make any announcement, we just moved and continued to work as normal. After three months, I started telling people and found out no one had noticed!”

Walking the Walk with Financial Planning

“I spend time with people talking about their goals and aspirations, encouraging them to push their boundaries and do the things they want to do and not be held back. At some point you have to look inside yourself and ask ‘Who’s the hypocrite?’

The Future

“Our ‘why’ at Smart Financial is to continue to prove that doing true, proper financial planning for every single client, every time, can be more scalable and profitable than mere product flogging. I want Smart to continue to grow to demonstrate that this is the way to do it.

“Over the next couple of years, I want to quickly grow the number of advisers and planners in the business to join us on the this journey, to prove you can build a strong, successful, pure, ‘absolutely-nothing-other-than-financial-planning business.”

Watch the full video below – and our thanks again to Abraham for being a great host!