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Why I became a financial adviser…

Tom Kennedy was a professional footballer before joining Pro Sport Wealth Management

This video series sees International Adviser chat with second careerist financial advisers to discuss their journey into the advice sector.

In the video above, Tom Kennedy talks about his move from professional football to financial advice and the lessons he has learned from his transition in the sector.

He is now a financial adviser at Pro Sport Wealth Management.

[Robbie Lawther] Hi, I’m Robbie Lawther, senior reporter for International Advisor. This is another installment of ‘Why I Became a Financial Advisor’. Today, we’re joined by Tom Kennedy. First question for you would be what did you do before financial advice?

[Tom Kennedy] I played professional football. I was professional footballer for 15, 16 years, came out of the game when I was about 32 year old on a professional basis and thoroughly enjoyed being a professional footballer.

[RL] What made you choose financial advice as a sector to go in?

[TK] I suppose I speak to a lot of my clients about this because it’s a bit of a faux pas within the football industry, coming out of the game. It’s not sometimes as simple as saying, I’m going to choose to do something. You’re used to playing football every day, used to going into training for 9:00, being home for half-one – two o’clock. So to say I chose financial advice would probably be me telling a tiny porkie pie. I basically got offered an opportunity from good people that looked after me when I played and they just gave me a little bit of opportunity, like I said, to to give it a go. And it was a case of sink or swim, a case of do I want to do this? And if I don’t want to do this, what do I want to do? So like I said, I I don’t particularly think that I chose financial advice because if you’d have asked me, five or six years ago, would I be a financial adviser I’d probably have laughed and said: why would want to do that? But what’s probably been the best thing that I’ve done, choosing a career that has got a long, long lifespan and choosing a career that keeps me in touch with football, in touch with the game, but also using my experiences to help make a difference in an area that I think is going to be, and is, a massive problem with lads not doing the basic foundation principles of financial planning. So I think, like I said, I don’t think it was a case of I always want to be a financial adviser for football. I think it was a case of, you know, like many footballers, you got given us a little bit of an opportunity to prove that you’re worthy of doing something. And, like being a footballer, if you give them 100%, then you’ve got a very good chance of achieving it.

[RL] Is there anything that surprised you about becoming a financial advisor?

[TK] Easy! The amount of paperwork and compliance that you have to do. It’s a necessary evil. And I know that, you know, personally, coming from the industry that I’ve been in, you know, not picking up a textbook, not picking up pretty much any reading material apart from the odd book over the past 15, 16 years, it’s been a baptism of fire! But like I said, it’s a necessary evil to make sure that things are done right, because we’ve all seen and read the sort of horror stories of advisers not doing things right. So from a personal point of view, having working for a reputable company who do the right things, the right way has been a blessing. But yeah, compliance is one. Also probably, within the industry of football, a lack of foundation planning the lads have. I think that’s key. I think you’ve got to sort of build from the ground up and I think if you get them foundations in place no matter what happens, whether you come out the game at 25 or of 40, you’re going to have something from the end of it that will help you transition into whatever you can after the football, because not everybody’s lucky enough to play in the Premiership all their career.

[RL] And so the final question would be, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since joining the sector?

[TK] Just get yourself out there. Trust is probably the biggest factor that I can bring from my personality and the way that I am with people. I’ve been in that position before. I never had the most glittering career. But, you know, I was a professional footballer for 15 years and had opportunities to put money away. So having trust with clients, you know, not all clients are going to want to, you know, buy in to the full financial planning repertoire. But if you can point people in the right direction, you can use your experiences, you can educate, which I think is a key word for footballers and people in general, educate why they’re doing things and what they’re doing things for, not just for the sake of it. And I think people buy into that more. So I think using them sort of tools going forward, getting the foundations like I’ve mentioned previously in place and, you know, pointing people in the right direction and education wise of why they’re doing things and why they’re saving. I think that’s very, very important and something I try and take home with my clients.

[RL] Thank you Tom.

See also: Francois Louw talks about his move from Rugby World Cup winner to financial advice – and the lessons he has learned from his transition in the sector.

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