"Smarter not harder": Part 1 of our Work to Live series

In the first of our four-part series in conversation with Ian Richards, founder of Work to Live Financial Planning, we meet the man on a mission to promote the concept of ‘working smarter not harder’ to clients and entrepreneurial IFA peers alike.

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“It holds no appeal for me, working 50, 60 hours a week…I don’t want to just work really, really, really, really, really, really hard to get to a point where I don’t have to,” muses Ian Richards as he bounces his sparky, yet well-behaved toddler on his lap. 

The IFA turned founder is at ease during his video chat with us, calmly greeting his wife and two young children when they return home during our interview, even introducing them and letting his youngest see what’s going on, demystifying ‘daddy’s working’ in one fell swoop. 

Ian Richards, IFA and founder of Work to Live Financial Planning (image: Ian Richards)

For these actions alone, the CEO of Work to Live Financial Planning is one of our personal heroes. Since leaving the corporate finance world and setting-up shop solo during the summer of 2019, Richards has spent some time not only promoting his business, but talking about what drives him. He seems to be fuelled by encouraging clients and fellow IFAs towards true work/life balance and it’s this unapologetic determination to be happy whilst working that has caught the attention of those in the industry.      

His fairly recent decision to strike out alone hasn’t been a catalyst for consciously avoiding burnout, which is often the case for many a seasoned professional deciding to quit their 9-5. 

“If I had another job, then I would still try and find a way to balance it all. Balance comes reasonably naturally to me. I find it easy to take time off. I focus on the family, or work, at different times. I’ve always been like that. 

“I mean, I’m not like, the hardest worker”, he chuckles. 

“I know some people that work, like, 910 hours a week and for them, their job is their life. Actually, I probably do work hard but I’m not giving my all to work to the extent that there’s nothing left for myself or my family.” 

Acutely aware of his own inspiration/rest cycle, he shares: 

“So my plan is, I’m going to sort of switch off and do nothing for two weeks. I’m not sure how successful I’m going to be, because I know that there’s loads of stuff that I could be doing. I’m hoping that the rest will free-up my mental capacity.

“I’m taking a step back, because when you’re constantly doing something, you’re constantly thinking about the next thing, it’s difficult to think about the big picture.”  

For a person who spends most of his working day advising others, Richards is suitably sold on the benefits of being accountable to someone who can help him make the best possible decisions and regularly works with his own life coach. 

“One of the things we need to speak about, as anyone who works in this [financial services] business, is how to take time for yourself and the importance of building that in and not feeling guilty about it; which I think a lot of people can do. 

“It’s easy to think, ‘If I was working now, instead of relaxing, I’d be earning amount and this is what it’s costing me to not be doing anything. For me, it’s important to have time out, just because when I go back I know I’m going to be able to do a better job.

“When I take time out, I just bring my thoughts back to why I set the firm up in the first place and what I’m trying to do and that gives me fresh focus.”

To win a copy of The Happy Financial Adviser by Andrew Goodwin, simply share this blog post on LinkedIn, tagging ourselves and Work to Live. You can also share on Twitter, again tagging Advicefront and Work to Live into your post. Winners will be picked at random in the next 14 days and notified via social media 📲😀

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