Bruce Kluk runs a boutique financial advisory business, nestled in the heart of a quiet leafy street in beautiful Double Bay, Sydney Australia. Yet from his third floor office looking on to the park, his firms manages the financial affairs of some of the most successful people in Australia. They have come to Bruce and his team for guidance, ignoring the pleas of advisers from large financial institutions and the super slick private banks.
I have had the honour of working as an adviser with Bruce and living in that lovely part of the world, so, I was delighted he agreed to take time out from taking care of his clients to chat about life and happiness.
Frank: How did you chose the path that you have taken?
Bruce: This is my 37th year of financial planning, I started in 1981 when I qualified as a chartered accountant. I decided that instead of looking into the past I wanted to help people into the future. I have devoted my whole life and career to working in the financial advice area. I have really been focused on not chopping and changing, this is what my destiny and path was to be and I stick to what I know.
Frank: Do you consider yourself as having a happy life so far? Why?
Bruce: Yes, it has been very full, exciting and a challenging life, so no issues.
Frank: What has contributed most to your happiness?
Bruce: Happy wife is a happy life. Family is core, if you have a fulfilled and happy family, it gives you a stable environment. You need to have goals and objectives that you stick to and focus on getting through.
Our business is about service to people and looking after other peoples aspirations and putting that at the core of our business.
Frank: How important is the level of income/assets to your overall happiness?
Bruce: Money and assets help you achieve and enjoy things in life, but, it is not the purpose and driver of your existence. You can live a very simple life without having all the assets.
My drivers were never about building an x amount of dollars it was to achieve the things I wanted. Once I had achieved my goals of building a business and having a happy stable family, I was able to focus on achieving the assets and income that gave me financial independence.
Frank: Do you thinking happiness is temporal (day to day) or can you learn to develop a longer lasting happiness?
Bruce: I think it comes from within, it comes from self-satisfaction. If you go back to Maslow’s hierarchy, it states that firstly you need to fulfil the basic needs of your existence, food, clothes, shelter and warmth. As you move up the steps of the pyramid you can achieve self-fulfilment which forms the basis of an enduring and long lasting happiness.
Frank: Being able to deal with and recover from difficult events in life whether it be stress, conflict or loss is often considered key to maintaining an enduring happiness. Can you give any guidance on how you deal with periods of unhappiness in your life?
Bruce: We get curve balls thrown at us all the time, you never know when or where a curve ball is going to come from. When you get them, you have to face them and to front up to them. I have had many in my own life.
You have to focus on and realise your own internal strength to deal with adversary. There is always someone to speak to, when theses difficult things happen, if you try to bottle and block it, it doesn’t help you.
You need to be outward instead of inward focused and participate in activities that will help you relieve the stresses such as exercise and meditation. It important that when you hit a roadblock or something falls off, that you speak to someone that will help you put things into perspective.
Frank: What habits or thoughts do you have, if any, do you feel reduces your happiness? How do work to minimise them?
Bruce: Negativity, we are all here for a very short period of time and you have to surround yourself with people that are positive and are looking to enjoy life and not be negative and down. It is the same as having a wound, you have to clear it out. If something is eating into you, you have to cut it out, remove it from your circle of influence before you can move on to do something better.
Frank: What are the daily habits, if any, that have contributed the most to your happiness?
Bruce: We all need to have a structure and a discipline in our lives, otherwise you are aimless and you just drift through life. Having daily, weekly, annual and 5 year goals provides that structure and clarity to keep you moving forward to where you want to be. You have to get through the daily small steps to achieve your big goals.
Frank: What are the daily habits in your business that have helped you achieve such success?
Bruce: Don’t sweat the small stuff, learn how to rely on other people and delegate, if you need to step in to do things, do so, but allow other people to achieve what they need to do, and if they don’t hold them to account.
Frank: What are the happiness benefits of working with a financial adviser
Bruce: I have seen how my clients have achieved their life long goals and experience real happiness. I have seen how they have been protected when someone has got sick or died, giving them funds so life can continue. I have seen the fulfilment people have experienced at retirement when they know their assets will be sufficient to maintain their families lifestyle for the rest of their days.
Frank: Thank you for sharing your time and your thoughts with us today it has been very special.
Bruce: You are welcome.
© Trinity Financial Management 2018