Engineers: Smart vs Professional


Specializing in engineers, I have come to realize that I enjoy working with intelligent people. I find myself enjoying the conversations outside of finance more than I do talking about the markets. We have a great depth of engineering clients that work on amazing things and I find it expands my knowledge base just knowing that some of these things exist and how much time and effort is put into them. Over the past few years we have started a lunch and learn program that is attended by many engineers. We have had great feedback from those who have engaged our services as to how they feel about having their financial affairs handled by professionals.

Herein lies the issue of being smart vs. being a professional. Is it that these clients are not smart enough to handle their own finances? Do not understand how the markets work? Not at all. They recognize that simply comprehending a subject does not qualify them as a professional in that field.

I consider myself to be a reasonably smart guy. That said, could I go home every night and study books on engineering? Read about historical engineering feats? Brush up on my physics and calculus? Yes, I could, but the fact remains is nobody in their right mind would trust me to design a crane! Even further, if I designed a crane and successfully used it on some jobs, would you put your life at risk using it? Of course not! My crane may have gotten lucky here and there, but perhaps it was not exposed to the many elements that have to be taken into consideration when engineering a crane (i.e. terminal stress levels; lifting loads on a windy day; etc.)

Case in point, many engineers make this very mistake. Regardless of your intellect, it does not make you a professional in every field or industry. Substitute an investment portfolio with the crane. Many people have designed an investment portfolio over the past five years and it has performed very well. The caveat, in engineering terms, is designing a crane for half the price of what professional engineers charge and to prove your crane’s ability, show it can lift the required weight under perfect conditions.

We, at The McClelland Financial Group, are professionals. We have 4 CFP’s (Certified Financial Planners) in the office. We have seen the markets at their best and worst and know how to respond. We are well aware of the financial components that lead to a successful plan. In my experience, I have realized that one of engineers’ biggest pet peeves is when engineers by trade, refer to themselves as professional engineers. The sentiment is the same in the financial arena. Similar to how you have gained the trust of your clients for being a professional engineer, trust in the fact that you have hired a financial professional to manage your affairs with the same duty of care and responsibility.

Mike Connon, B.Sc, CFP
Senior Financial Planning Advisor, Co-Branch Manager, Certification in Estate Planning and Trust Strategies

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