Gain Valuable Wealth Management Advice: Interview with Tom Griffin

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Gain Valuable Wealth Management Advice: Interview with Tom Griffin

An insightful interview with Tom Griffin, business entrepreneur now turned writer, mentor and coach helping people who are going through extraordinary things to achieve extraordinary things.

You can listen to the full interview here.

We met Tom last year whilst attending an Accredited Financial Planning Firms conference, which Tom facilitated exceptionally well. Tom also shared his interesting and inspiring story of his life so far, which like a lot of us has not been plain sailing.


I began by asking: What was your driver or motivation to go into business and was it a success?

Tom: ‘To answer that I need to go back to my childhood which was a very challenging childhood. There was a lot of abuse at home and it was very, very difficult. That was my life and I knew nothing different, but I did run away from home to join the theatre and I became a classical actor. Being able to sing and dance I ended up in the West End in musicals. I trained my singing voice and learnt and became an operatic soloist at the Sadler’s Wells in London. It was at that point in my life and I was about ten years in as an artist, I met and fell in love with my then wife and decided it was time for me to settle down and get a proper job. That proper job for me was starting a marketing agency which I built up over the course of 17 years into a multi-million pound business, which I sold in November of 2007. Your audience will know it was a very, very lucky escape from the subprime financial crash that followed. During the course of those 17 years, as I got further and further away from the truth of who I really was as a human being, I turned to alcohol and drugs and developed this terrible addiction.

When we sold the business I had everything that we’re told we should want in our society, all of the material stuff, the Aston Martin, the big house, the boat in Spain, anything you could want in this world, but actually, I didn’t even want to be in the world because it was meaningless. I thought during that climb that I would find the things I want when I reached that material goal and I came to realise that those material things, in and of themselves, don’t contain the happiness and the joy that you seek. Those things lie elsewhere.’


Reflecting back, what would you have done differently?

Tom: ‘I would have been more curious about why it was I thought I wanted these things. What was it that they were really serving in me? And then what I would have discovered is that they were serving this need for me to have external affirmation, this need in me to have other people think I was hugely successful. No matter how successful I was, and I was very successful in the theatre and in business, it was never enough for me, no matter how much, no matter how many millions I had, no matter how many West End stages I trod on because you’re chasing something that cannot be acquired through material means and actually, you’re chasing something that you actually already are. And that’s the beautiful thing, that’s a wonderful thing. Now, that’s not to say that financial resources and careful planning is not important, it’s hugely important. I am absolutely convinced that I would not be here today had I not had the good fortune to have had proper financial planning in place and a pension that was tucked away nice and safe, such that when I reached the age of 55, I was able to make a radical shift in my life. A radical shift that quite literally saved my life and led me to move out to Portugal where I now live.’


You clearly went through a period of great reflection which has set you on a different path of helping others. What does success look like now for you and what drives you?

Tom: ‘The big drive for me was this realisation that the best way to achieve whatever it is you want for yourself in your life is to help others get what they want in theirs. It’s as simple as that. The more you help others, the more you’re actually helping yourself and that was a light that began to shine for me in the darkest part of my life. When I found myself in a grip of addiction and alcohol and drugs and the only way out became this insight that the more I helped others, the better I felt about myself.

I now have such a fascination for helping people who have been through extraordinary things achieve extraordinary things. All of the challenges we face are the very things that will help you achieve those things you want for yourself and others in your life. These challenges are fantastic opportunities because they give you the chance to re-evaluate what really matters, especially if you’ve had some level of success. It’s often at the point of achieving that which you thought you really wanted, you realise that it hasn’t given you what you really need and what you really wanted.’


Do we as individuals spend too much time thinking and investing in the future and not enough time investing in ourselves and living in the now?

Tom: ‘Certainly, it’s what you might call external actualisation, whereby the society that we’ve developed over several thousand years of civilisation is one that points to that which you have in material terms and status terms, and even more invidiously, that which you have relative to others around you, and that becomes the external driver.

We put all of that investment in those external things, those material things, and we put precious little investment into ourselves. And the wonderful thing is that we all understand that what Einstein called the seventh Wonder of the world, compound interest. We all understand how if we manage our financial affairs carefully, properly, and the way in which you guide your clients, and if we are consistent just a little bit every week, every month, every year, that will then take care of business by the time you come to need it. There will be plenty of external resources there. Now, the tragedy is when you get to that point where all of those external resources are there and because you haven’t done the same investment in your own well-being, in your own sense of what matters to you, well, then you don’t know what to do with it. You become kind of lost. But in the same way that compound interest works in the financial sense, what I call compound incrementalism, works in terms of personal development. Just doing this tiny little bit every day, just consistently over time will have the same compounding impact, so that when you get to that moment where your financial planning comes to fruition and you have all the choices available to you, so your investment in yourself comes to fruition and you have real clarity about what it is you want to do with that wonderful blossoming moment in your life.’


We meet many people who have been successful in their working lives but when they retire, they soon realise they have no purpose and struggle to adjust and be happy in retirement.  How can you prepare yourself for this type of life event?

Tom: ‘I think you’re so right pointing this out because we’re so externally actualised as we’re achieving our success and starting to sensibly think about how are we going to provide for our financial security and freedom, whatever our chosen point is, that then is exactly the moment to think about your purpose. If you haven’t started already, get really curious about what kind of life you want to create for yourself. Questions I often ask people are, ‘what is your version of a life well lived?’ ‘What’s the kind of life you would love to live?’ All the time during that period where you’re noticing that your financial material resources are nicely growing towards that freedom moment you’re also nourishing and feeding all of the wonderful thoughts of things that you’ll be able to do when you reach that moment. And what you will find out is some of them will be a real big surprise to you and you’ll say to yourself, I never knew that about myself, I never knew how interested I was in this, I never knew how fascinated I was in this. You find yourself, as I am, in a position now where I would describe myself as probably being semi-retired because I’m fortunately in a position where I don’t have to work. I do the stuff I do because I enjoy it and I want to help others. I find my time is absolutely bursting full. You know, there’s so much I want to do with my life.

There’s a lovely exercise that I call future memory. The idea is to travel yourself forward to that time period, let’s say for sake of argument it’s at age 65, and see yourself where you feel you would love to be and really powerfully bring that to life. In terms of what you’re seeing, what you’re hearing, what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, really vivify it, really bring it to life. From that place, look back at the milestones you can see of all of the things that you’ve done that have enabled you to be enjoying this moment so richly and so fully and what you will see is that the seeds that you planted of this future memory, of this future happiness, are not on the financial side. You will find that the seeds of this happiness are on the quality of the life that you were living and the choices you made about what really mattered to you and that investment you put in to understanding what really makes you tick as a person, what really stimulates that lovely feeling inside you. You might be riding a motorcycle in the Black Forest, cycling in Italy, sailing, helping others doing charitable work, it might be any number of things but the seeds of that happy future memory are the seeds that you’ll plant now and getting curious about that is really powerful.


Our thanks to Tom for giving up his time to provide a brief insight into his journey and how he is now helping others to help him live a life well lived.


Tom can be found on YouTube, LinkedIn and his website is

Louise Oliver

Louise Oliver

Founding Partner
Piercefield Oliver