055: Practical Ways to Keep Improving your Skills as a Financial Planner


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Growing Your Financial Advisory Practice | Insights for Financial Advisors, Planners and Investment Managers


In theory, everyone wants to constantly be improving their financial planning skills, but what does it mean to put that into practice? Today’s guest is a relatively new financial planner who has already achieved more than many who have been in the industry much longer. He’s here to share his proven methods for improving his craft. Zak Smith is the Senior Manager of Financial Planning and Wealth Strategies at Sagium, an independent wealth management firm in Calgary. He is a founding member of the newly formed Financial Planning Association of Canada and volunteers his time as a mentor for the Mount Royal University business department as well as with the CPA Financial Literacy Program. His recent successes include being named the 2019 winner of the PlanPlus Canada Financial Planning Awards, and 2nd runner up of the PlanPlus Global Awards program for the Americas region.  Listen in to hear Zak talk about how feedback and competition make him a better financial planner, how he’s helping clients through the recent volatility in the markets, and what it’s like to serve clients as a team. What You’ll Learn in This Episode:  What made Zak switch from accounting to planning (3:20) Zak’s typical process for clients (6:00) How Zak prepared clients for volatility in the markets (11:30) How feedback and competition make Zak a better financial planner (15:05) The challenges Zak encounters in his practice (23:45) How Zak’s team can provide a personal touch while working as a group (30:30) How Zak applies different perspectives to his work (34:15)  Links and Resources: Zak Smith Sagium Why Financial Planning Software Doesn’t Make Advisors Faster Quotes by Zak Smith: “Whether volatility exists now or in the future, we know it’s going to happen.” “I was always cognizant that hey, is there any metric to what we actually do in this industry as far as a standard for what we’re delivering to our clients?” “Clarity became the utmost piece in developing our plan reports so that it just made the conversation a lot easier with the clients.”  Zak is unique as a guest on this show: he’s only five years into his career as a financial planner, and he doesn’t run his own practice. And yet, he’s built into his career ways to constantly improve himself as a planner. So whether you’re just starting or have been doing this a long time, and whether you run your own firm or not, you can draw from his experience and find ways to build on your skills.