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A good wingman is hard to find

This article originally published in The Northern Daily Leader on 8 June 2012.

Being single can be fun. The anticipation of what the next night out will bring, who you might meet, what might happen…the dramas over love lost and love won. Despite being happily married for some time, I’m not that old that I can’t remember the excitement and adventure of a night on the town as a single guy with a few of your buddies in tow (my wife is out of town this weekend, so I’m free to indulge in a little reminiscing without any severe consequences, such as a night or two camping on the lounge sofa).

For any single guy, the most important accessory on a night out is a wingman. Your wingman is a designated buddy who’s there to assist you in your mission, take the shots if he needs to, and generally play a supporting role in helping you to achieve your goal (whatever that may be). Your wingman has got your back and won’t abandon you even when the chips are down and things are looking grim (for example, when the girl you’re talking to happens to have an insecure and angry body building/kick-boxing boyfriend, who has just spotted you from across the pub). Over the years an unwritten code has developed regarding the role of a wingman; it’s a job with significant responsibility, so proper guidelines are sometimes necessary. An important wingman rule is to be likeable…but not too likeable. Girls judge guys by their friends, so a good wingman is polite, friendly and interesting. Don’t overdo it though; the wingman is there only to assist, not to take out the target himself. The most important rule however, is that the wingman puts the interest of his buddy first. If that means taking punches, buying drinks, being laughed at or doused in beer, a good wingman accepts it all amicably. Being a wingman is a position of trust, it’s not to be betrayed through self-interest.

Although investing and financial planning are not as exciting as a big night at the pub, your financial adviser should be your wingman too. Ducking punches and buying drinks is probably beyond the job description, but your financial adviser must obey the cardinal rule of being a wingman – putting your interests first. Always. Did you know it’s not even a legal requirement that your adviser puts your interests first? Legally there is nothing wrong with investment advice which puts the interests of the business first, not yours. So ask yourself, is your financial adviser a good wingman, or is he only interested in the prize for himself? Distancing yourself from an untrustworthy wingman can be difficult, but at the pub a knee to the groin usually works a trick.