Many planners have enjoyed former lives.
Some worked for the big banks, many tried their hand at accounting before deciding it wasn’t right for them, while others fell into the industry almost by chance after completing a broad commerce or business degree.
But few have the backstory of Scott Brouwer, who from the age of 14 to 23 was a professional boxer.
“I wanted to be a world champion and I almost got there,” he says.
Brouwer grew up in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. When he was a teenager he regularly rode his bike across the lawn of one of his neighbours.
“He told me and my mate to stop doing it because he was a professional boxer so it wasn’t a good idea,” Brouwer says with a laugh. “I was intrigued.”
Rather than staying away, Brouwer began pestering his neighbour for boxing lessons.
“He told me no, but I wouldn’t listen,” he recalls. “I think he thought I was some upstart kid who wouldn’t listen to him during training, but eventually I wore him down.
“He said to me, ‘Well, you have perseverance and that is a good place to start.’ ”
And so began Brouwer’s boxing career, which led to two Australian titles in two separate weight divisions.
His parents were horrified – his mother refused to watch his matches – while his dad figured the worst thing he could tell his rebellious son was no, so he gave his tacit approval.
“Boxing exposed me to people I would have never had met otherwise,” Brouwer says. “I had a slight build and I wasn’t very good at footy or traditional sports, so it was either boxing or marathon running for me. I probably should have chosen marathon running because you can have a much longer career with it.”
In the end, a handful of factors combined to force Brouwer from the sport. He perforated an eardrum, and he was also planning on starting a family with his wife.
He knew by the age of 23 that it was time to quit the sport.
“Luckily, my dad had insisted I have a back-up career, so I was already working in financial services,” he says. “From there, I transitioned into planning, and although I studied accounting previously, planning was a much better fit for me.
“In fact, I remember my dad reading an article in The Australian Financial Review about planning and bringing it to me saying, ‘I think this is something that would be right up your alley.’ And it has been an amazing career so far.”
Brouwer says the skills he developed via boxing are vital to his success as a planner today.
“Firstly, there is the persistence that is required,” he says. “In boxing, you’re going to have setbacks and you’re not going to win every round or every fight and planning is like that.
“There is also the importance of hard work. If you don’t put your head down and work hard, then you won’t see results. There are a lot of talented people in the world, but [many] don’t work really hard at what they’re naturally good at, so they don’t succeed.”
Then there is the importance of being strategic with clients’ affairs, which Brouwer argues is not dissimilar to boxing.
“Boxing is like a violent game of chess,” Brouwer says. “You have to anticipate and plan for what is coming next.”
Name of firm: Prosperum Wealth
Name of licensee: Banyan Securities
Time in the industry: 25 years
Academic qualifications: Diploma in Finance, Diploma in Business (accounting)
Accreditations: Certified Financial Planner, Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants
Professional association memberships: FPA, Institute of Public Accountants
Other memberships: Most Trusted Adviser Network