The secret lives of financial planners – what we’ve learnt from six months of studying their passions

2 April 2019

Amyr Rocha-Lima grew up under the vast blue skies of the Brazilian Midwest. His childhood hero was a farmer, a formidable and fearless man who taught Amyr not only about nature and his surroundings but about how to live a good life. That man was his grandfather.

As an adult, Amyr moved to London and forged a successful career selling financial products. Then the unthinkable happened – his grandfather developed motor neurone disease and died several years later. For Amyr, it was a life-altering loss and a turning point. It inspired him to rethink – with the help of meditation – how he could apply his skills and experience to making people’s lives better, as his grandfather had.

And he began to help clients pursue their most profound goals and to find security, fulfillment, dignity and independence.


Chris Budd was 43 by the time he realised he was suffering from depression. His head was “muzzy” and he was struggling to think straight.

After much soul-searching he finally realised what would get him through the rut: writing.

Chris set aside Wednesdays to craft the chapters of the many half-imagined stories that had been swirling in his inner consciousness and within six months the muzzy head was gone and he was well into the first draft of a new book. Now on his third novel, Chris rarely misses a writing day and says the hours he spends writing are “essential”.


A defining moment in Anita Wright’s life came in the form of a cruel remark about her appearance trotted out carelessly by a companion at the beach.

The words stung but rather than wallowing, Anita resolved to be proud of her physique and hit the gym. Within months, she was a competing bodybuilder who was traveling the globe and regularly placing highly in the world rankings.

What do Anita, Chris and Amyr have in common?

They are financial planners, who have fascinating life stories – just like most of us. They are everyday people with hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties and passions – just like you and me.

As you might expect, then, these are only three of the many fascinating stories we have unearthed over six months of asking financial planners to reveal something of their lives as part of our “Why I…” project.

We’ve also had a desert runner, a dragon boat racer and an opera singer. And we’ve had stories from planners who have dedicated time to helping those who have been dealt a bad hand; victims of work-based discrimination and domestic violence, for example, and children with life-threatening illnesses.

So what have we learnt from “Why I…?”

That Britain’s financial planners and paraplanners are embroiled in a world of passions and past-times.

These are stories that the public at large find fascinating. We’ve had close to 10,000 views of our subjects’ tales and a pop-up gallery is being set up in summer to showcase them.

Every financial planner knows that telling the stories of the clients they’ve helped is good business.

But we believe they should also be telling the stories of their own lives and experiences because this is a way to connect emotionally with potential clients before they even meet them.

After all, we all have something of Amyr, Chris or Anita in us.

So, like another contributor to our project – Chris Broome, an enthusiastic gamer –  we believe financial planners should embrace who they are and enjoy the connections that come from telling the world!

If you’d like to hear more about the secret lives of Britain’s financial planners, please sign up to our monthly e-newsletter.

Maria Marques
Author
Maria Marques

Head of Marketing at Advicefront

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