Chris Bates – Financial Advisor & Founder of Wealthful
Posted February 5, 2019, by Jenny
Chris is an Aussie with English blood and has a serious love for adventure and travel. Nothing makes him happier than seeing wildlife in the wild, and everything he values most in life is free (ironic for a guy in finance right). While he's thriving now, a career in finance wasn't always smooth sailing, read Chris' career story here...
What is your current role and what does it involve?
Technically, I am a Financial Adviser and Mortgage Broker but I see myself more as an educator and coach. My role is helping people align their life and lifestyle with their finances. Inside the tin, I help people take action with financial advice to get better results with their time, energy and money.
Tell us more about Wealthful and the inspiration behind starting it
One purpose, Wealthful is a really simple business. We help our clients (young families in 30s and 40s) make the right decisions and take the right steps financially to help them live a life fulfilled with True Wealth. We believe wealth is so much more than money and it’s everything we value around us. We have three services and I started Wealthful because I truly wanted to make a big impact on the future of young Australians. My true mission is to help countless people with sound principles they can implement to help them live more fulfilling lives. I have a long way to go but I am on the right path.
Tell us about your study journey
I was always a bit conflicted with education because I always wanted to learn my way. I started to work at 14 and I have never stopped. When I finished school I went to Uni part-time but left to see the world and live in London. I have since done a number of Diplomas, a Graduate Certificate at Uni and now going to go back to finish my Masters.
What was your first job and what do you think it taught you?
McDonalds. It was brilliant and while I don’t step inside there now, every kid needs to work. Working at a young age was a huge confidence boost and personally, I loved the structure that highlighted when you achieved great results. We would gamify the way we worked by setting challenges throughout the day to push ourselves. Perfect burger up in 32 seconds.
What does a typical day at the office look like for you?
It swaps around a lot but I do get to work out of a cool co-working space with just a backpack, that’s all I have. I spend at least 30 minutes reading every newspaper, 30 minutes on LinkedIn producing content and engaging my community, the rest of the day is spent on phone calls, between meetings, returning emails and chatting with my business partner and managing clients. I also like to keep up my podcasts, attend events and catch up with others I love to learn from.
Why steps did you have to take to become a financial advisor?
Back in 2007, I was in the UK and it was not right. I paid around 500 quid to do a course and I was advising clients within 3 months. This was one of the reasons we have some many failings in financial advice. After three months, I had no idea yet, I was giving bad advice and clearly needed more training.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened to you in your career?
I have met thousands of clients and the most interesting thing is hearing their life stories. I could talk for days on my clients over the years, I’ve seen and heard it all! You have to genuinely like learning about people to be an advisor and my clients make me laugh every day.
Name a career highlight
I would say a career highlight is recently starting to see the business make an even bigger impact on more peoples' lives. Overall, I am very proud of my advice from day one, so a highlight to me is staying truly ethical and to my personal principles in an industry inherently not.
Name a career low
In years 0-5 as an adviser, I was regularly battling with the industry both in my head and vocally. It was and is hard for me to deal with what I saw and see. I got kicked out of the first bank for upsetting the bosses after I called out misselling of product and the second bank was the same. Everywhere I looked I was angered by what I saw. The low came when I almost quit advice altogether to follow my passion to become a safari tour guide in South Africa (I will do this one day).
Name something you still don’t know
Financial advice is all about deeply understanding people, their motivations and their dreams. As I become more spiritually aware, older and wiser, I become a better adviser. I know I have so much more growth to come and it’s why I am so addicted to learning every single day.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Without doubt, it was to make sure you stick to your principles. I have always fought the fight for what I think is fair from a young age, whether it was friends bullied at school or people mistreating strangers. I can't not step in. A good adviser once said to me, “Chris don’t ever lose fighting for the principle, it’s what makes you, you”
What career advice do you wish someone had given you after you graduated high school?
Take time to truly understand your true passions and don’t be focused on getting your career locked in now. Go travel to learn about the world, others and yourself. But remember to invest in yourself every day to learn more and keep asking yourself what do you care about. Once you know that, make sure you don’t follow the career that others around you want you to have. Find your own path, don’t compare yourself to others and treat life as a journey, not as a destination.
What are important qualities and skills should people have if they want to become a financial advisor?
Genuine care for others. Enjoy conversation. Ability to think big. Feel fulfilled seeing others succeed.
What is the standard salary for the field?
It's hard to say. But I am confident that you will benefit financially in the long term if you invest in yourself and others.
What’s next for you?
I want to help more people. Whether it's books, through courses, or hosting events – I have a mission to help thousands, maybe millions and so I am investing in my knowledge so I can.