Working Inside the Financial Industry The Insync Insurance Podcast

Please Introduce Yourselves

Gareth: I’m Gareth Sheers. I am a chartered financial planner and a fellow of the personal finance society. I’ve been in financial services since 2008 – nearly 15 years now, and we’ve been running Sanctuary as a directly authorized firm for the last five years. We specialize in kind of working with business owners and entrepreneurs when it comes to business owners.

And we also got an arm for the business, which runs our podcast and our content, which is kind of our YouTube channel. We got an educational platform as well, whereby where we talk about all the kind of skills you were never taught at school about money. We’ve literally just released our first book a week and a bit ago.

Dawn: Oh wow. Congratulations!

Gareth: Thank you. And it’s purely about kind of teaching people habits around money and the stuff we were never taught at school really. I’ve been in the business circus for 20 years across kind of other businesses as well, and property and an online retail company as well in the past, which I built and sold. But financial services and financial education have been my bread and butter for a while now.

Shane Hyland
Gareth Sheers

We’re a little bit different, I’d like to say, than the kind of traditional, kind of old-fashioned, boring financial advisors. Probably shouldn’t say that, but it’s true. We’re big into the content of the media side of what we do. You know, very much like, you know, your company, you’ve got a podcast running. It’s quite unusual for firms to do that, but I think it’s a great medium to get your story across and to educate everyone. But that’s me talking too much. Again, I’ll hand it over to my esteemed colleague.

Shane: I am Shane Hyland, as you can gather from the accent. Originally from the west coast of Ireland. Moved to the UK in 2003 and have since that time have been working in financial services. I am abit like a certified financial planner, and chartered wealth manager. And as of last week, we hit number one in the charts on Amazon the day we released our book, so yeah. Yeah, so I, I think Gar summed it all up. We’re a bit different. We don’t talk straight away about products. It’s more so about the person’s plan, the journey, the process, and then the products.

And it’s working well through the educational side of YouTube and podcasting and all that. And it was good. We recorded a podcast ourselves earlier on, and we were chatting. What people should ask us? And last week I was in a school dealing with, uh, talking to year sixes and what I told them, what I was originally a certified financial planner, chartered wealth man, they were all yawning.

Shane: And then you tell them you’re a YouTuber and a podcaster and a bestselling author, the eyes just light up and it’s probably the same as adults. It gives us a bit of kudos and authority because we’ve put ourselves out there on, you know, audiovisual and in paperback that this is what we do, so it can never be taken away. I think we’re very proud of what we’ve done over the last few years. And it’s a thing of everything that we know, I think we’ve actively pushed out to give to people so that they can get the correct information rather than trying to see what is the right stuff on Google or YouTube, whoever may be.

Dawn: Oh, definitely. So kind of segueing on like how does your business then help others? Like how, how do you work, you said as well, so you’ve done some talks as well.

Yeah, so I guess there, there’s different kind of avenues. You know, we, we do do your generic kind of financial advice. You know, we, we do mortgages, we do insurances and things like that. But a lot of the way we base our business is around the real kind of financial planning. So, a client will come to us and we’ll talk about their real goals, aspirations, needs, and wants. What really makes them tick, you know, what really worries them? Because you, you ask a client what actually really worries you, and generally it is that they’re gonna run.

That’s the simple thing. And we’re here to try and I guess, alleviate those fears, you know, the amount of business owners as you ask, you know, what is your biggest fear? And there usually is go into the cash point cuz they’ve usually been through this, go to the cash point and there’s no money in the in there to put draw out. Now that we kind of draw cash in these days, you can’t use it anywhere. But that’s the analogy they usually give and they just never want to go through that again. So a lot of what we do is goal-based financial planning, whereby we look at what their fears and goals are, and then we make a plan for them for the future.

Now, obviously, that doesn’t fit every client because some people just have a kind of very simple generic need, but the ones who come to us, the business owners who. We kind of really want to get things in order cuz they’re used to getting their business plan really sorted and nailed down and they know exactly what their profit and loss is and their KPIs are their business. They have no idea why their profit and loss is in their own home or the KPIs in their own home. So it’s kind of, that’s where we kind of come in and we have a kind of big passion for that really.

Yeah. I can’t add much to that. I think the education side of the business, I think the two of us through previous generations giving false or misleading information that everyone’s, or the vast majority of people’s relationship with money is, I’m not gonna say bad, but incorrect. People don’t understand. The difference between saving and investing. People don’t have happiness aligned with money. People have a bad relationship with spending. It makes them feel bad rather than good. So, you know, as a result of many 30 odd years of experience, we’ve seen all the pitfalls and we’ve created and are still creating the education arm, which will lead to the, the financial planning arm that will re-educate people.

I think, from children to adults the the right way of thinking about money aligning their spending with happiness and making sure that when they do spend money, it makes them happy rather than the opposite way because silly, but deconstructing all the stuff that grandparents and parents have taught people over the years, which is incorrect. And now we’ve got into the world of, you know, digital money. We’ve gone from bartering to cash to digital money. People need to have a better understanding now because, you know, in the past, if you’ve had a 20-pound nodder or 50 pound north and you spend it, you see that the change back and you notice how much you’re spending.

Whereas now, everything being digitalized it’s the concept of spending is just on the phone or an app, and people just don’t realize what they’re spending, what they’re earning, what they’re wasting, and hence why I think a lot of people are unhappy at the moment and that that can have an impact then on, you know, financial wellbeing being on incorrect, on mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing.

So I think it’s one of the pillars we have to try and get right for. Especially with buy now, pay later, and all of those sorts of schemes where it’s so digital and you just don’t think about the actual real value of it. And that’s how people end up accidentally just racking up thousands of pounds. It doesn’t feel real to them. And also it’s just been almost like pedalled as normal and Okay when actually, especially if you default on those, it can affect you very, very quickly. Yeah, I think unless we try and kind of talk or we, we talk a lot about it on the podcast and, and we talk about it in the book as well, is that there’s this huge thirst for one and everything now.

Mm-hmm. It’s all this fast fashion, fast food, fast. Everything you, like. I, I found out while back, and this really great to me is that you can now use Klarna on the likes of, I think it’s Deliveroo and Uber Eat, so you can get your takeaway on a three month payment. , which is like, where’s the world going? And what are we teaching our kids? Do you what I mean? Of, of today and where? Where’s that ever gonna lead to? Do what? I mean, people don’t realize the effect this will have on you trying to get a mortgage in the future.

Dawn: So, you obviously mentioned your book, which is doing really, really well so far. Could you maybe give me a bit more of a sneak peek of what people would find in it, especially if people would be interested in purchasing books to help change their financial mindsets?

I think that the few, the few people at the outset that read it, that we gave before we launched it when they knew we were doing it, and it was a book by people in the world of finance. I think they were expecting something that was going to be boring. And it seems to have come back that it’s the exact opposite. That there’s analogies and stories and little quirkiness, and even though it does talk about the alignment of things and it’s got four pillars attached to it.

It doesn’t spend the whole time talking about money. In general, there are some stories about the Three little pigs and house insurance and about Rose Dawson from the Titanic and if she made the right decisions and when, you know, instead of jumping off the ship. And there’s a few, a few things like that about football teams against the sixties, against comparing them now and they can bring out stories for people.

So, um, yeah it’s gone down really, really well. And even when it’s been launched, the amount of feedback that we’ve got from people. Saying that it won’t change your life, but it is life changing. If the few points that if you do change things and listen to the few stories on there, you might think about your own life in a different way. And I think one of the big ones is the legacy about Chicago Airport why it was called that, and how it came about. That paragraph and, and little things like that will, will make people think about their own circumstances rather than just giving them an162 page booklet about just do this and do this and do this.

It’s about kind of getting them to understand themselves and can they put themselves in the shoes of the stories and maybe make subtle changes to their own lives? We just wanted to try and just make it a little bit different, whereby it’s not your boring stuff, your book, and people can just pick it up. They can just pick it up and kind of read a short chapter and they can get some little insights out of it. And if we can just make the difference to one person by producing that book the job’s done really for us. It was a bit of a passion project of ours and we’re already looking at turning that book now into one free audience as well.

And we’ve got some other ones in the. It was, uh, it’s quite a kind of fun process which we kind of do on the side because we create so much content anyway. The content is there, it just gets repurposed into a book and all the kind of good and bad knowledge probably. But we’re happy to kind of share it with the world really. And what we try to do as well with it, and we have a few people take us up on the offer is. Any companies that have bought a couple of copies of our book off Amazon, only £7.99 Amazon, we’ll do a free hour and half money wellness session with their staff on Zoom.

You mean to kind of say, we can give them some of the tips and tricks because, you know, we have a coaching element of the business as well. Shane is a Money coach that we can, we can come at it from that angle as well, with the budgeting and teaching people actually on a group basis, the skills about.

Dawn: Absolutely amazing. And it’s really great. You’re trying to make a difference. Especially with the problems of today, we need that financial occasion somewhere and you know, even if someone stumbles upon it on YouTube or the podcast or even maybe through us as well, you know, at least you’re able to help make a difference.

Yeah, that’s the major thing, that there’s no point getting people to have a financial product until they actually understand about themselves. And if they don’t understand about themselves and their relationships or previous relationships with money and learn the new ways, then whatever product they have, they’re not gonna understand it. They’re not gonna feel good about it; they’re not gonna use it, they’re not gonna keep it. So by stripping everything back and st and starting from creating a good foundation of education at the outset – The benefit of us has got more exposure. It’s educated lots more people, but also from the regulated arm, the financial planning arm, it’s ensured that people now understand what we’re trying to do.

They understand the education side for themselves. They go and learn things, and it’s easier for us to work with these people. So, you know, there was a reason for doing it, but the sales, which will never make us rich, but the numbers that have been sold and the positivity in terms of feedback that we’ve got is really nice.

What kind of advice would you give to those looking to go into the industry?

Gareth: Wow, you chose an interesting one because we, I guess, given the backstory, we’ve come from two different routes coming into financial services, haven’t we? You’ve probably come more the traditional route. I’ve come to the non-traditional route because how you’ll generally kind of, and Shane can explain that a bit more, is people will kind of join a bank and then go from that way. But I did a degree in sports science and did absolutely nothing with it. Then, I worked in pubs and restaurants and joined the police. I did six years in the police in Wales down here and decided there was more to my kind of life and career than that. So, I got into financial services. Actually, probably the worst time I could possibly do it, most people would say, I think is probably the best time was just as the credit crunch hit in 2008, the crash.

That’s when I joined the industry. Obviously, the world was imploding when it came to the financial services, the mortgage market and everything. And that’s kind of how I kind of got into the industry. So it was a bit of a how-to build my clients from kind of nothing, but I kind of gone courses to learn everything I needed to do to become a financial advisor. And that’s probably evolved over the years, learning from other people and actually pushing the boundaries of what we think financial advice or financial planning should really offer the clients because we do it very differently here. We have a totally different outlook. You know, it’s not just about selling pensions or investments; it’s about the bigger picture with clients.

Hmm. But that’s something I would say we’ve developed probably over the last four years. I am quite heavily into using more casual forecasting software and really reading the plan. You know, we did a bit of it before, but now it’s really the kind of direction we take our business in. So, I think anyone trying to get into the sort of profession industry, still classes in industry, should really be a profession. So we can stand shoulder with accountants and solicitors, but it’s probably trying to find a practice that is very kind of financial planning based and holistic based, not just outage, just to sell products that potentially does have a bit of a training plan That’s probably the hardest thing coming into the industry now.

Gareth: There isn’t really. It’s a very cottage industry. There’s very small kind of businesses, you know, one-person companies and sort of smaller ones. So that’s the little bit of hardest bit to kind of get into it. But because I say my route was a little bit less traditional, I kind of have to work my way up through kind of learning as I kind of went along. I haven’t had any kind of real sales experience in the background or anything like that. But I know your route was different, wasn’t it?

Shane: Yeah. I’d done the traditional router coming through a bank. And then becoming self-employed and then running a business and that. But I think people who are joining, I think they need to understand that we all hear of CPD or continuous personal development that never ends. A pension is a pension, but if you are looking, to do this I was presenting to a group of financial coaches last week, and one of the slides I showed them between Garth and myself, since 2020, I think there’s 43,600 pounds spent on courses and stuff like that between the two of us.

And that’s regulated financial courses and business courses and all of that. So you’re constantly learning. So, you have to get a certain level of qualifications to be able to give advice, and that costs quite a lot of money because you’re taking courses and doing the exams and all of that. When you get in, that doesn’t mean then that you are, you know, qualified. You have to have an element of shadowing with somebody because you have to be deemed competent. And that can take quite a while on that, and then if you are the business owner, you have to understand the concept of budgeting and managing your time and your money and, and you have to learn how to use social media, and you have to learn how to, all of these things.

Shane: And the old-style financial advisor will have you; you’ll see them. They will be product-centric. They won’t have a social media presence. Their business planning business structure will be very outdated. And that that just won’t exist another five or ten years, that’s all gonna be gone. Whereas I think the younger generation i.e. those that are under 50 going forward, have to be continually developing their knowledge on what they’re working in them themselves and their understanding of the business.

So it’s forever learning, which can then take up quite a lot of time cuz I think the minimum for us in terms of the regulation is 35 hours a year, but when you add that into your own personal learning and your own business learning and trying all new things, when the social media, it’s quite daunting. So, you know, if people are joining, it isn’t just get my 15 exams or whatever. It’s condensed down to now. Cause I think we’ve done about 35 between us. It isn’t just get that, and you’re ready to go. There’s quite a lot in it. So if you are getting on board and getting interested in getting into the world of finance, financial planning, and financial advice, you need to go to a good firm.

Shane: They understand the concept of putting their arm around you, teaching you the correct ways and knowing that it’s a long game. You’re gonna have to prove yourself. You will have a great career. You will have a great lifestyle. You will make good money, but it’s gonna take a lot of effort for the, probably the first 60 months. Yeah. It’s a great profession to get into. It’s one, you don’t actually have to go to university to get a degree to do it. You can actually do things by, I guess, your classes. Distance learning. Really the hardest part of doing is actually getting into the industry because. You know, a lot of the firms are smaller.

You are gonna have to go and find sort of a bigger company, you know, your likes. If you see James place, your quilters, you know, chase Deve, some of the bigger firms, or even some of the banks like Barclays Wealth and all that, if you can get in with those type of companies – they’re gonna train you up and teach you all the kind of Sales things you need to know, the qualification side they’ll help you with because it’s not a cheap process to get qualified.

You know, we’ve had a few people come in here over the years, haven’t we, who’ve asked how they get into the industry and they’re coming from jobs which pay quite well, you know what I mean? And we’re saying, look, if you want to get into the industry, you’re gonna have to take potentially a 50% cut just to even get on the ladder. So if you’re willing to do that and pay for your own exams, then you could probably find a smaller company to join. Otherwise, you’ve gotta kind of go and join one of the kind of bigger ones, which will put you through some sort of training and, and so on and so forth. Because it’s a hard kind of industry to get into with a smaller company, isn’t it?

Yeah. But we’ve become an overnight success after 30 years of experience between us. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And your overnight success, as I always kind of say, which is what finance services is like, really. I mean, it’s all about kind of building a client bank and kind of grafting, you know, there’s loads of clients out there, not enough advisors to advise on them. So there’s definitely business out there and I think it’s a great profession get into, um, but it’s kind of finding the right route really for you. And I guess there’s a few ways you can kind.

Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap up?

Shane: We will say we’ve had 30-plus years of experience between the two of us. We’d seen all the recessions there is, um, known, we’ve seen all of the bad ways of doing things. And you know, it’s not for to talk about now, but some really bad things that have been done over the years that we know of, of people.

And there, there, there has been a lot of false information given to people. The people have been done outta quite a lots of money. Some people, um, have gone to jail for the, it’s the, the profession industry has been tainted by those people. And now we’ve got into the world of digital planning and stuff like that. There are infinite answers on the internet, but it’s like everything. Um, there are correct answers and incorrect answers on the internet, and the first thing you have to do is if you’re looking to cut corners is and not pay for somebody who has 30 years of experience is whittle through all of those and find the correct answer on the internet.

Shane: But then with that, there’s probably going to be dozens and dozens of correct answers. You pick the one that is gonna be the most appropriate for you. So yes, you, you can find anything you want through Google anymore. It’s just trying to make sure if it’s the right answer and if it’s the right one for you.

So me & Gareth, trusted earlier that there are hundreds of thousands of people within the UK who do need it. Advice, planning, guidance, and through certain limitations, I think through the regulation, you’re not allowed, to give advice to evidence. There’s a, there’s a thing called TCF treating clients fairly and now consumer duty coming in that everyone has to be treated with, um, the same level of, um, I was gonna say respect with charging and stuff like that, which makes the, the advice gap as they’ve called it, even bigger. So as a result, through the education side, we are just about to. As a result of the book, an education arm of the business for a subscription per month we will do Zoom sessions with people. We’ll teach them about the aspects of money. We’ll show them how to financial forecast themselves.

Shane: We’ll do one-to-ones with them. So it’s our way of plugging the advice gap because unless you have a shed load of money in the six figures, a lot of the time people can’t access our experience because they just can’t afford it. So to try and make, make a difference, we’ve brought to the forefront. So it’s not advice, it’s more so education and planning. And so as a result of not having to give specific advice, we can reduce the cost for. Pass it out to the masses, and hopefully, people will be able to subscribe to that on a monthly basis and, understand the meanings of certain phrases and finance.

Learn how to budget, learn how to look after their own finances and so create good habits and behaviors for themselves. So, I think it’s nearly done now. We’re just tweaking one or two things and hopefully have a rollout officially at that by the end of this month or, the beginning of March (2023).

Dawn: Wow. That sounds brilliant.

Gareth: And probably just to add to some of that, the, um, what we find out there in the world is this, there’s this big fear and greed issue that, mm. Crypto was a good example of that. Everybody bought crypto when it was at the highest, people thought that this was the time to buy, but by that point, the horse had already bolted. The ones who made real good money got in really early, but people were trying to go in at this peak and money was $62,000 they were trying to buy then because they had this fear of missing out, this fomo. And I always kind of come back to the, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. So everyone was hearing about this massive kind of, but people who put their money in when it was at its highest will have seen that money.

You know, somewhere in the region, 60, 70% overnight. And that then is gonna have to take a 500% return to get back to where it was. So people just need to, as Shane said, there’s so much stuff out there on the internet and you can watch, like we watch some of these YouTube videos and people class themselves as financial advisors cuz they’re qualified as Fran advisors, but have never advised the client in their life. You know, they’re, they’re giving financial advice on YouTube. You know, we don’t give financial advice on, we give guidance, we give kind of education, but people aren’t giving financial advice on the likes of YouTube and Google, things like that. They’re qualified financial advisors cause they’ve got the level four diploma, which is the minimum we need.

Gareth: They actually never advise the client in their life and they’re on there telling people how they should kind of do it. And that’s a huge problem for me. And that’s the hardest thing: to sift through the noise and nonsense that is out there. , but I kind of come back to the fact that you look at things and feel like it’s too good to be true, it usually is. And that’s what a lot of these things are with crypto NFTs and all these things, and they’ve all proved their kind of worth, they’ve all tanked and people have lost a lot of money. Now, if you bought those early and held them as you would with any investment for a long term, then you probably would’ve done it.

Shane: Right. You can’t just jump in and out. No one can time the market. None of us got a crystal ball. Those are my thoughts on that. The last thing I’ll finish on, I think there is a massive, and, and you may know this, don’t, through this shortage of, of insurance for all aspects of people because they, it’ll, the concept is it’ll never happen to me. I’ll never, you know, or my business or anything like that. But on the other hand, they do the lottery every. And, and say the opposite. It could be you, but it’ll never be you when it comes to, you know, losing your business or house insurance or business insurance or personal insurance.

And, and that, again, comes back to the need for education and understanding of, for us, we’re planning a journey based on your circumstances for what you want to do and achieve and win. But we also have to throw into the mix, uh, when we’re educating people, the, the scenarios, not just, this is gonna be the rosy scenario because we know that that hasn’t been the case even in the last three years. You know, things that we’re unaware of can happen. You have to put into the mix the what if scenarios. And only by talking in such morbid ways. With that as well, can you cover all eventualities? So we’re planning maybe as a family to ensure that Mr and Mrs stops working at a certain age or they send some kids to university or whatever it may be.

But also what happens if somebody, you know, falls seriously ill and can’t work again? Or the per one, one family member who’s the biggest earn. Passes away. At least by having those discussions and understanding the consequences to that, people are more educated in terms of the what-if scenarios and can put plans and procedures in place for that because, unfortunately, it does happen to, to some people.

Dawn: Hmm, definitely. Well, thanks so much for talking with me today. It’s been really insightful, I think, for myself, but also hopefully, everyone else is listening as well. Thank you for having us.

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