3 unmissable lessons Elvis can teach you about choosing the right financial planner

Elvis hit UK screens in June 2022, the latest Hollywood biopic depicting the life and death of a once-in-a-generation star.

Directed by the iconic Baz Luhrmann, Elvis explores the trials and tribulations of Elvis Presley, setting a clear example of how life with your name in lights isn’t always an easy one.

One element of the film that may have surprised viewers is the relationship between Presley and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, known to most as “the Colonel”. The Colonel ran Presley’s career from 1955 until Elvis’s death in 1977, shooting him to unimaginable stardom – but this meteoric rise came at a price.

You no doubt know how vital it is to find professionals who can help to refine the service you provide your clients, giving your clients the best chance of achieving what they want to with their money.

But when searching for a trusted ally to help grow your clients’ wealth and establish your business further, there are important “green flags” to search for in the process.

Without establishing a relationship based on trust, you could find yourself working with financial experts who aren’t interested in putting your clients’ goals first.

So, here’s what the relationship between manager and star in Elvis could teach you about choosing a financial planner to work with.


  1. Find a planner who listens to your clients’ goals

One tragic aspect of Elvis Presley’s life is that, as a young man coming from the south side of Chicago, he was vulnerable to exploitation.

When the Colonel discovered Presley’s talent in 1955, many managers fought to represent him, but the Colonel won out, tying Elvis into years-long contracts that had him performing non-stop around the US.

While the Colonel technically did his job – he made Elvis the rich, famous musician he had always wanted to be – his management style contributed heavily to Presley’s mental and physical decline. Presley was unable to make decisions for his own career, inexorably tied to the whims of the Colonel, who refused to listen to Elvis’s personal goals on most occasions.

When it comes to choosing a financial planner, it is crucial for your clients to work with someone who puts their goals first. While the Colonel often pushed Elvis into career decisions that made money without thinking about his wellbeing, your clients’ financial planner should do the opposite.

Indeed, while a financial planner’s job is to help individuals grow their wealth in a sustainable way, listening to clients’ goals is their primary task.

Your financial planner should understand your clients’ dreams and work to make them a reality, tailoring a financial plan around goals such as:

  • When your clients want to retire
  • How they want to help children in adult life, such as providing a deposit for a home
  • The inheritance they want to leave behind
  • Their desired lifestyle.

By putting your clients’ personal goals at the forefront, your financial planning partner will provide a truly bespoke service, placing your clients’ dreams above their own professional gain.


  1. Discuss fees clearly before your clients sign the dotted line

In Elvis, one of the most shocking revelations is that of the Colonel’s financial exploitation of Presley. According to Screen Rant, and depicted in Luhrmann’s biopic, the Colonel originally took a 25% cut of Presley’s earnings, eventually increasing it to 50% later in his career.

This extortionate division of earnings between artist and manager is practically unheard-of in today’s world, but during Elvis’s career, the Colonel’s exploitation bordered on emotional abuse. He convinced Presley he couldn’t succeed without him, and took whatever he wanted from Presley’s talent and hard work.

Although Elvis’s story is a sad one, there is a lesson to be learned here: when working with a financial planner, it is crucial to discuss fees early. Often, fees can be considered an uncomfortable topic when meeting with a planner – but as a professional yourself, you will understand the importance of being clear about charges from the outset.

So, openly discussing fees – and finding a planner who charges a fair fee – can establish further trust between your clients and their financial planner, meaning they can go ahead and focus on making their goals a reality.


  1. Choose a planner with a collaborative approach

It is now well-known that although his talent was world-renowned throughout his life, Elvis Presley was locked out of many crucial decisions when it came to his own career.

As a result, in the latter half of his working life, Elvis was playing two shows a day, seven days a week in Las Vegas, totalling 636 sold-out shows in a row. The contract for his Las Vegas residency was negotiated by the Colonel, and is widely regarded as an act of financial greed on the manager’s part, with little consideration for the welfare of his client.

This example of the Colonel’s cruelty as a manager is an extreme one, but it rings true for your clients today: if your planner attempts to control their affairs rather than manage them, this is a red flag.


Although a financial planner has years of experience coupled with impressive qualifications in their sector, that doesn’t mean they should have the final say.

Indeed, your clients’ wealth is theirs to control, so a financial planner should always approach that relationship collaboratively, rather than a “manager versus client” setup.

In addition, your clients’ financial planner should be open to discussing any moves they want to make, while offering expert guidance to help them feel confident in their investments throughout their life.

Get in touch

At Henwood Court, we offer bespoke financial planning that professionals can trust. To speak to a planner who will put your clients’ goals first, email info@henwoodcourt.co.uk or call 0121 313 1370.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article.

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