Financial Mistakes: Part One


Financial Mistake #1: You Have No Plan In Place

This video explains why the absence of a financial plan can prevent you from achieving your financial - and therefore your life - goals.

The full video transcript is below.

Watch the next video about Financial Mistake #2 now:


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Video Transcript

As a Managing Director at a Bank or a Partner at an Accountancy firm you have an incredible opportunity: you are already earning good money which a lot of people aspire to – if you can optimize everything else then you have the chance to obtain the most valuable thing on earth – and that’s time.

If you can sort your personal finances out then you can gain freedom around how, what, who with and when you spend your time.

I’m Max Keeling and for the last 2 years I’ve been coaching senior executives and business owners around their finances, many of which have been MDs at banks or Partners at Accountancy firms.

Why? Because that’s my background so I am relatable to people in those fields.

I started off as a Chartered Accountant at KPMG in the UK, and then worked at a number of Commercial Banks and finally Barclays Investment bank, 5 years of which was spent in Singapore.

So, the first mistake I see this group making almost without exception is this.

None of them have a documented life and linked financial plan.

By now you will have been sent my Wealth Guide workbook – make sure you print it off and spend 10 minutes considering this section.

By many standards you are a high-performance individual – to make MD or Partner you have to be.  And you probably run large teams, or direct others in their careers.

And you probably spend a lot of time every year filling out your internal career goals and objectives, assessing others and giving appraisals.

But you never apply it to yourself and your personal life.

In the guide there is a quote from Winston Churchill which I use regularly – ‘plans are of little importance, but planning is essential’

The plan is out of date as soon as your finish it, circumstances change, pay changes, So, whatever assumptions that were used are likely to change.

But spending the time to consider what you want to achieve, where you are now, and whether you are on the right track is invaluable.

At your stage of your career you need to be thinking about what the next 1, 5 and 10 years looks like.

You are earning great money – but for how long do you want to do this, and what’s the end goals – how do you know when enough money is enough money?

If you are a Front Office MD then there’s a good chance your career at your current employer is 3-5 years maximum – and when I was running the Cost function in Asia for a large Investment bank I was involved in lots of MD redundancies – and I saw the personal impact it had on those individuals who hadn’t planned for it.

If you are a Partner at an Accountancy firm, then your tenure is probably less fragile.  However, this means that what you can achieve in your lifetime is massive, and if you aren’t planning for it then it’s a wasted opportunity.

There’s so much more you can be doing with your money – whether it’s a bigger lifestyle for you and your family or leaving a lasting legacy to current and future generations or impacting other people’s lives through charities.

So use the guide to think about what does each stage of your life looks like.  For example - you are an expat now – how does that fit in -  is this a 2 year thing, 10 year thing?

I don’t need to tell you that documenting your goals helps to keep on track and ensures you are accountable to meeting timelines.

If fact a lot of what I’ve done with clients over the last 2 years isn’t investment advice, it’s being their task master and holding them accountable to goals they set!

It gives you the opportunity to explore what is most important in your life and where your priorities really lie: you’ve got a successful career but has if running a marathon is on your bucket list, but you’ve got your head down and just working, not putting any real effort into getting fit, then it will never happen. And before you know it you are 80, on your deathbed, and you say: ‘I always wanted to run a marathon’.

Don’t let that be you. Write down what’s important and work out a way to achieve it.  Lead an inspirational life both at work and your personal life.

You can’t have a financial plan without knowing the big stuff – the life plan.

Now some of you will be saying to yourselves that you don’t have time to sit down and work on some grandiose life plan.

But really this doesn’t need to be a big- time suck – and it should be something that you enjoy doing.

As a first step - go and print off the timeline sheet in the Wealth Guide I sent you and go and spend 10-15 minutes just scribbling some things you would like to achieve over the next 5, 10, 15 years.

What does a successful life look like for you?

In the next video I’m going to cover something much less grandiose as a life plan…but equally important. And I’m sure you are making the mistake.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on what’s holding you back from spending time on a personal plan and objectives – as its very helpful when I’m coaching other.Please email me at with your quick thoughts from this video.