Many stories exist about financial advisers who used to be teachers. If they weren’t physically standing in front of a classroom, they were coaches or mentors of some capacity. When we really think about the role of an adviser, teaching and financial planning go hand in hand. This theme was echoed when we recently sat down with Damon Sugden to understand better the man behind the Wealth Adviser and Principal title. Passionate about helping retirees live their best lives, Damon’s story reflects the teaching link of assisting others to realise their full potential.
You may already know Damon as your adviser, or perhaps this is your first introduction. Nonetheless, we hope you, too, enjoy getting to know him better.
Life before financial planning
There’s something enviable about people who go through life knowing what they want to do. It’s likely the peace of mind that comes with certainty. Future financial advisers are out there studying finance, knowing their calling is somewhere within the industry. Damon did not share this experience. He had dreams and achieved his biggest ambitions, but certainty about a career, especially in financial planning, wasn’t one of them.
“Before financial planning, I was a professional performance artist. I toured the world with a dance company for 11 years and lived my dream of performing on West End and Broadway. I was funding my entire performance career personally, with everything I made going straight back into performing; on things like lessons, costumes, and travel expenses. When the company I was with started to pay for my expenses and I made a wage, I suddenly had money in my account.”
Damon notes that needing to manage money for the first time was a foreign feeling. He was fascinated to learn that an entire industry exists to help people make smart decisions with their wealth.
“Naturally, relying on my body to make a living seemed like a risky way to earn a living, so I began to think about what I would do if dancing wasn’t an option. Realising that people made careers out of helping people with their money stood out as a rewarding.”
Teacher, coach, mentor, and adviser
Helping others realise their potential brings Damon the most satisfaction. His experience assisting dancers has influenced his approach to supporting clients within his wealth management career. Damon explains that helping clients make informed, confident decisions is immensely rewarding.
“I enjoy the numbers, but money is just a means to living. I love that I can give people life-changing advice. From a dancing perspective, coaching, adjudicating, coordinating competitions, and giving back to a community gave me so much fulfilment. I love that I can continue to do that as an adviser.”
Motivators and greatest achievements
When asked why he chose to specialise in retirement planning, Damon clarified that he had to spend time soul-searching why he found this side of financial planning appealing.
“It dawned on me, seeing my parents pass away early, that I never got to see them enjoying their twilight years. It resonates when I see people in retirement living their ideal life, and I find comfort in imagining my parents getting that opportunity. I help my clients to make that their reality.”
Having lived an exciting life of career paradoxes, we asked Damon to reflect on his greatest achievements.
“My greatest achievement is my daughters. They’re such happy, loving girls. My career path is a personal success story. From printing reports to becoming an adviser and then a principal, that’s been very fulfilling. My previous dance career is also an achievement. My hard work paid off, and I exceeded in achieving my dreams.”
There are likely not many who have traded a life of performance for one of financial planning. Thankfully for us, the opportunities for Damon to mentor and genuinely support his clients came as a rewarding career alternative. As with every team member, he epitomises our values and has an unwavering commitment to helping those around him, clients and team, achieve their bigger futures. A true testament to his character, Damon prioritises living his best life, spending time with his daughters, dancing, and prioritising doing what he loves.