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From Sports Person to Financial Planner

How Ben Stebbings went from cricket to Financial Planning

How it all began

I live down south in the beautiful city of Winchester with my incredible wife, Sarah, and our nutty (but wonderful) golden retriever, Mabel. We have a love of travel, are absolutely sport and fitness mad and have a desire to create a lifestyle that we love. One of my drivers for wanting to go from sports person to financial planner was to help others lead a life they love, much like us.

I will give a little more details behind my motivation for becoming a financial planner later in this article. To keep it brief, I am a former (failed) cricketer having played a decent level and been fortunate to travel the world. I then moved into the commercial world of sports medicine and orthopaedics where I spent eight years in various sales, marketing and management roles.

Here I had some brilliant mentors and met some amazing people. Most importantly, I had some great experiences and learnt a lot that I can now apply in my new role as a financial planner. Whilst I enjoyed my career, I couldn’t see myself doing it long-term as I had a real interest and draw towards the financial planning industry.

From Sports Person to Financial Planner
From Sports Person to Financial Planner

Why I changed careers

As I transitioned from my dream to be a sportsman to one in sales where I was earning good money, I wanted to learn how to best put my excess income to work so I could enjoy life whilst also creating the life I had imagined growing up. Hours on the road and nights in hotel rooms exposed me to podcasts and books that began to introduce me to the concept of “lifestyle financial planning”. It also made me aware that there is a career where you can help people use their finances as a tool to help them achieve their life goals. Suddenly my interest was piqued.

I want to create my ideal lifestyle that allows me to do the things I enjoy, when I want and I understand that money is a tool that will allow me to get there and I could also work in a career that helps people do the same?

Couple this with witnessing how an adviser working with my dad allowed him to retire early from a career he didn’t enjoy and suddenly I could see how fulfilling a job this could be. It was not as if I disliked my current role.

I enjoyed my career in sports medicine and worked with some brilliant people but the long-term career prospects didn’t quite fit in with my vision of how I wanted to live my life. This is where I started to take financial planning seriously as it aligned with my values,  provides fulfilment through helping others achieve their ideal lifestyle and can also allow me to “walk the talk” with my own life.

My motivation

Early on in my journey I read a really good article where the first point made was for new entrants is to define their purpose – the reason you are in this profession and why you are passionate about it. I saved this article so I could use it as a reference point as I transitioned into the industry. This is what I wrote down prior to starting my journey:

Lifestyle planning – help others live the life they want by understanding the individual’s goals first and then using financial planning in order to achieve them.

Simple but two years into the transition and over 12 months as a financial planner, I can confidently say it is still the same and I truly believe it will be the case in the future. If it is, then I know I am on the right path and will have a very fulfilling career that I enjoy. I also know how lucky I am to be in an environment, working with amazing people who have the same ethos for their clients and themselves.

From Sports Person to Financial Planner
From Sports Person to Financial Planner

What I am doing now

Just over a year into my new career, and after a bit of a false start within the industry (I quit after 2 weeks at my first firm – story for another time!), I am now a fully-fledged financial planner at Unity Wealth Management. I spent the first 5 months at Unity as a trainee; shadowing my boss in a variety of different settings, spending time doing role plays and generally absorbing all I could from the business.

After that, I was signed off and let loose into the world as a financial planner… Not quite the truth as I was still being closely monitored and receiving plenty of support and guidance! But it was nice to be given the trust and responsibility to start working independently with clients. I look back over the past 12 months and I am amazed at how far I have come in that time.

I could never have envisaged I would be where I am now and being given the responsibility I have. But at the same time, with the right environment and support (coupled with being pushed hard) alongside an openness to throw yourself at the role and work hard, then anything is achievable.

What does the future look like?

As I look to the future, my focus is on continuously honing my skillset as a financial planner. I will begin my advanced exams in order to improve my technical knowledge and it seems appropriate to do them now as I will be able to apply it to real life cases with clients.

But I know a technical qualification isn’t going to turn me into a good financial planner. I am also excited about exploring other aspects of the role, such as financial wellbeing as I believe this can play a major role in helping clients align their money with what matters most – their happiness.

They key thing for me, which I have learnt ever since I first picked up a cricket bat, is the learning and growth never stops. If I get to a stage where the motivation for that wanes, then that will be the day I will move onto something new. But as it stands, I can’t ever see that happening, and I can safely say changing careers was the best decision I could have made.

From Sports Person to Financial Planner

Ben Stebbings is a Financial Planner with Unity Wealth Management – specialising in holistic financial planning to business owners, executives and self-employed individuals


Read our Financial Adviser Role Profile for information on salary expectations, entry requirements, exams, and where to look for vacancies.

View Our R0 Exams overview/toolkits to purchase any of the R0 Study support including Study Guides, e-Learning modules, online workshops and study buddy.

Read another insightful article on ‘A Day in the Life of a Financial Planner’ to find out more about information about the Financial Planner role.   

Read a second article ‘A Day in the Life of a Financial Planner’ to find out more  information, tips and advise about Financial Planning.

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