Tackling transition: With Francois Louw, financial planner

Ask former Bath Rugby flanker Francois Louw about the highlight of his career and he’ll tell you it was beating England to win the World Cup with South Africa.
Last year he retired as a professional player and is now tackling a different challenge – as a financial advisor with his new company RMS Advisory.

We have asked Francois to explain how the transition happened, what it entailed, and why planning for your future while continuing to develop yourself is crucial – whoever you are.
“My new company, RMS Advisory, was born out of lockdown, although the idea goes back to 2017.

We want to advise our clients on their financial affairs and create strategies to help them achieve their life goals. Beyond that, we want to be a financial sounding board and have ongoing relationships, bringing a much more personal element to it. We are a team of three currently. It’s very important that we grow organically and try to achieve what our mission is.”

Preparing for a new world

My career was coming to an end and retirement was inevitable. You have to say to yourself ‘what do I want to do and how can you do that?’

I had to prepare myself for a career in the financial service advisory and wealth advisory. So I’ve been doing my professional qualifications over the past few years online.
I had my pressures: I have two young kids, my wife, and sporting affairs. It’s a bit of a cliché, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. I had to achieve it and if you have to do something, you have to make it happen. It’s also about saying that what I’m sacrificing now is hopefully going to come back to me tenfold.

Skybound Capital, who are a shareholder in RMS Advisory, were very keen to support me with my idea and help put it in place.

Inspired by experience

The drive for financial planning came out of first-hand experience. I didn’t feel professional athletes, especially in rugby players, were being looked after well enough from a financial planning perspective. There’s an onus on the individual to make the right decisions in life and seek the advice necessary. It’s a super demanding profession and comes with a lot of stresses. A lot of money is made during the competitive years but that income can stop quite abruptly. I was very keen to play a part in helping athletes make good financial decisions to put them in a better place on the day they retire. I want to make a difference in a world that has given me so much.

We’re not limited to advising pro athletes but we are going to have a focus on helping them.

Learning from others

As a sportsperson, one of the most important lessons is that you can always better yourself. You can always learn from other people. It’s the same in life. You have to continuously try to better yourself. I think that’s a wonderful outlook on life – having a desire for discovery and education. I’m not a perfect example of that but it’s something I try to attribute to my life. That was a motivation for my studies and I pushed through. Time will tell if it’s successful but it’s started!

Attitude is so important to continuously stay current. Don’t fall behind the pack, because there will always be someone else out there who’s hungry to achieve what you have, if not more. Accountability is very important as a pro-sports person and there should be an element of accountability in terms of the planning you do in life.

As a 22-year-old, being involved in a pretty high profile career, you’re in the limelight and you get remunerated well. It’s very easy to lose perspective and at times I might have done that.

However there are people in my life who I try to mould myself on, like senior players, friends, my parents, and later on and especially my wife who is highly motivated and driven. But it is important to have that attitude of continuously learning. Be complacent at your peril.

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