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Shouty Investors

20 June 2024

FINANCIAL PLANNERS There’s a certain type of prospect I call the ‘Shouty Investor’. 

They are fairly easy to spot, largely due to the ‘shouty’ bit. But there’s a few other traits that give them away: 

  1. They tell you what rate of investment return they expect you to get on their investments. 
  2. They emphasise their own investment prowess and expertise, declaring they could probably do it themselves, but are happy to give you the opportunity. 
  3. They demand you nail yourself to a number to beat you with for the rest of the miserable relationship that you’re about to endure with them. 

However, with you being a fantastic Financial Planner and all, you explain that you cannot guarantee any level of investment return and instead, your role is to help them develop a robust financial plan that aligns with their desired life outcomes while enjoying whatever long-term gains the market brings. 

But that’s not what they want to hear – and this is where the shouty bit starts – much like my Grandad trying to order an ice cream in Paris circa 1994. 

You see, my Grandad was of the generation who hadn’t visited a foreign country (other than in a Bomber) until late in his life and was totally unequipped to deal with people who did not speak English. 

Faced with someone who clearly was not understanding his Middlesbrough twang trying to order a Lemon Top, his go-to solution was to shout louder in English, safe in the knowledge that if he just kept saying the same words but louder each time, they would eventually come around to his way of thinking and he would get his ice cream. 

Shouty investors are the same. 

In their heads, they are offering you a fantastic opportunity to show your genius by investing their savings into a mind-blowing scheme that will double its return in a year. And no amount of common sense or logic is going to dissuade them otherwise. 

So how to deal with them? 

First, we need to diagnose where they are on the ‘Shouty Spectrum’, which I separate into three levels. 

  1. The Pretenders – These aren’t really shouty investors at all. They’ve just been primed to act in that way because that’s what they think they should do. They tend to fall into line pretty quickly (and with some relief) when you explain how the real world works.
  2. The Nostalgic’s – Normally the older generation who remember the investment returns they enjoyed in the 1970’s and 80’s where even cash accounts were generating double digit returns.
    They also tend to conveniently forget that inflation was 15%, rubbish was piling up in the streets and Jimmy Saville was introducing Gary Glitter on Top of the Pops – but that’s what nostalgia does, it blurs out the bad bits and gives a rosy glow to the good bits. Again, telling it like it is now will bring them into line. They’re not daft, they’re just nostalgic for the good old days (but they still want to keep their inside toilet and not die of Polio)

  3. The Shouty Investors – The full-fat shouty investor’s head isn’t for turning with any of your logic and reason – they want what they want and will bully you until they get it.  

The trick is – don’t rise to the bait, you can’t argue with a rock. Simply ask the following question…. 

‘Do you want me to tell it like it is, or tell you what you want to hear?’ 

And then be quiet and make them choose! 

If they choose ‘tell it like it is’, simply explain you have no control over investment markets. Sometimes they’ll go up and sometimes they’ll go down. If you could guarantee a 20% investment return each year – you wouldn’t be sat behind a desk talking to them. 

It’s not what they wanted to hear, but it is how it is. 

If they choose the latter – simply signpost them to one of the many companies out there (you know who they are) that will promise a fantastic investment return for an unnaturally low risk and explain that they’ll tell you what you want to hear. 

Don’t worry about sending your client into the jaws of the lion – they won’t go, because they know this conversation will always be on their mind and if whatever they do goes wrong – they’ll know they were warned. 

Suddenly, THEY have the responsibility, and they don’t want that – they want YOU to have it, but you’ve simply side-stepped it and put it back in their lap. 

And if they do go, well there’s nothing you can do for them – just remember that they’re the reason we live in a world where bleach bottles have ‘do not drink’ warnings on them. 

What you must NOT do, is take the client on with the aim of ‘fixing’ them along the way – it won’t work and trust me – it will be miserable. 

Après tout, mon grand-père est allé dans sa tombe sans qu’un mot de français ne soit jamais passé par ses lèvres. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


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