Louis Goacher, talks about studying professional qualifications on active military duty and why he did both CeMAP and DipFA.
In 2010, at 20 years old, Louis Goacher was in the Royal Engineers in Afghanistan. His job then was to find improvised explosive devices.
“I joined the military on a whim really. I went to college and didn’t want to go to university and was stuck as to what to do. Finance wasn’t even on the cards.”
But it was in the army that Louis found his passion for finance and gained the confidence to speak and present to people.
“I was looking around me, seeing other people making too many mistakes with regards to their finances – making incorrect decisions and not spending wisely. And I vowed to myself I’m not going to do that.”
There are times in a military career when you can’t spend money so you end up saving a decent sum. Louis bought property and then moved some money into tax-efficient investments. When his colleagues saw him prosper, they started coming to him for advice.
“I really enjoyed it – helping them and talking about saving and investing. I felt valued.”
By now, aged 29, he was in Estonia. So he set about discovering how to become a financial adviser and signed up for the Diploma in Financial Advice.
Studying to become a financial adviser
“Every bit of downtime I had I was in my books,” he says, “and any time during operations, when I wasn’t doing anything, I was in my books again.”
The learning made sense to him and he got a lot out of it.
“Every time I flipped a page I was learning something new. And I was like, yeah I’m really getting this! I totally understand it! Obviously it’s nothing like giving advice in the real world, but you need to learn the foundations of finance.”
Back home on leave, Louis landed a voluntary work placement at Complete Financial Planning. This was a great way to discover how financial services work in practice – from being in front of a client, to the research element and compliance.
Learning to give both financial and mortgage advice
Once he’d passed DipFA and returned to the UK, Louis decided to do the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice (CeMAP).
“CeMAP was an additional extra,” he says, adding that he thought it made good business sense to get a mortgage qualification. “I thought people around my age are going to be buying homes so they may approach me for that.”
Louis took and passed his CeMAP exams and is glad that he studied both CeMAP and DipFA.
“They do complement each other,” he says. “I’m fortunate to have clients where I’m in and out of each topic. So I’m doing pensions and investments as well as mortgages and protection.”
As someone who believes there’s always more to learn, Louis is planning to do the Level 6 Advanced Diploma in Financial Advice next to achieve chartered status.
The best thing about working in financial services
“The thing I really enjoy is problem solving,” says Louis.
“When I can improve something in people’s lives, or give them answers to what they want, for example retirement planning. And then it’s over to me to decide which investments to invest in, I really love that. And the analytical side, I love that too.”
So what’s his advice to someone considering a career in financial services?
“Get yourself out there. If you’re studying and you put yourself forward to do a voluntary work placement it shows you have a good ethos. That will help your CV because even if the placement can’t give you a role once you’re qualified, they can act as a reference.”
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