How I Use PocketSmith With My Clients as a Financial Adviser

Have you ever considered talking to a Financial Adviser about your money? They’re not just for society’s financial elite! James from Lighthouse Wealth tells us about how he’s helping his clients feel empowered about their money decisions in his role as a Financial Adviser, and how he uses PocketSmith in his process.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company?

I spent nine years at a bank where I was an Adviser and then led a team of Advisers across Aotearoa New Zealand. I love my job. I get a huge buzz out of a client coming into the office unsure and worried, and then leaving the office feeling confident and optimistic about the future. 

Starting my own business had been a dream of mine for a while. Financial advice is changing, and I think going forward the industry is about a tech-supported, value-for-money proposition which puts the client at the center of every decision. I’m only in my early 30s so plan to be in this industry for a long time, and I really want to improve financial literacy and empower Kiwis to make the most of their future. 

I set up Lighthouse Wealth a year ago. We are now a team of three, with two Advisers and an Analyst. While we may seem small, we are part of the Lighthouse group which also has Mortgage Brokers and Accountants, so we have an office of 20 or so professionals. We can take care of pretty much all things money!

We also film a weekly podcast called Cheques & Balances. Michael Vincent (Director of Mortgages) and I talk about a wide range of money topics, like how to talk to your partner about money, shares 101, and the recent housing policy changes. We’re just about to launch a new series called Money Bites on YouTube, which will be two-minute videos explaining common money jargon. A few examples are inflation, LVR, compound interest and managed funds

Why would someone work with a financial adviser?

Money is a taboo subject. Schools don’t teach you about money and if your parents don’t teach you about money either, how are you meant to know what to do? I think a Financial Adviser can help clients in two ways.

  1. Asking the right questions so you know what you want out of life and can sort a plan of attack to get there. 
  2. Peace of mind. There’s enough stress in life without thinking about money and a Financial Adviser can help reduce that stress.  

What are some of the issues you help your clients tackle?

We help our clients plan for their future, grow and protect their wealth. Simply put, where are you now, where do you want to go and helping you work out how to get there. 

The products we provide advice on I really think of as ‘widgets’, which are the right fuel for a specific person to achieve their goals. That might be budgeting, buying a house, investment property, managed funds, KiwiSaver, life insurance, income protection and more. 

How is PocketSmith helping your clients change the way they do money?

I think most of us get excited by shiny objects. Investing into property, shares, starting our own business or even, dare I say, crypto. While that’s all fine and dandy, you will be able to achieve your goals a lot faster if you can become a budget ninja. 

PocketSmith enables clients to understand where their money is going and make informed decisions going forward. 

How long have you been using PocketSmith with your clients?

Just under a year. Even after 10 years I’m still learning as an Adviser. PocketSmith has been a great reminder of the power of managing your budget.

It still surprises me how much faster clients can achieve their goals if they are conscious of where their money goes. Paying down debt sooner, retiring earlier and helping their children all become a lot more achievable when you are managing your money effectively.

What PocketSmith features do you use?

We are definitely not using PocketSmith to its potential! At the moment we are using it to categorize expenses and set budgets

Some clients are a bit scared when we start this process. It can be very confronting when you categorize your expenses and you see where your money is going. Lunch out everyday definitely adds up! Though once you know where you are, PocketSmith is a great tool to set targets by different types of expenses — groceries, clothes, entertainment, etc. 

What’s the best piece of money advice you’ve received?

Get rich slowly — small consistent steps over time will get you to your goals.


James has been a Financial Adviser for the better part of ten years. He helps clients from their first job all the way through retirement, and he believes in keeping finances simple and making advice accessible to all Kiwis. James provides advice on managed funds, KiwiSaver, investment property, budgets, debt repayment and insurance. You can also get weekly money tips from his podcast Cheques & Balances.

Related articles

Five Ways to Cope With Financial Anxiety
Feeling stressed or worried about your finances? It's normal to experience financial anxiety. Emma from The Broke Generation shares some tips you can use when you're feeling in over your head.
How to Understand Your Spending With PocketSmith
The first step to getting your spending under control is to find out where your money goes. Only then can you make meaningful changes to your habits.
Darin Makes the Most of His Financial Data With PocketSmith
We asked some of our wonderful users to share how they use PocketSmith to be productive with their money and plan for the future. Their stories are filled with ideas, suggestions and inspiration on how you can start crafting a meaningful relationship with your finances.