In Focus: Modern financial planner  

'My team mates' sudden retirements showed me the need to prepare financially'

'My team mates' sudden retirements showed me the need to prepare financially'

It was a series of coincidences that led former professional rugby player Dave Lewis to the world of financial advice, but he is not planning to look back anytime soon.

Lewis, a financial planner with Timothy James & Partners, was introduced to the idea of financial planning by a representative of the Rugby Players Association, who had mentioned a previous meeting with a business development manager from Brewin Dolphin.

This manager eventually helped him with his first advice exams, but it was an event before that which Lewis credits as being an eye opener to the world of financial planning. 

Lewis started playing rugby at the age of six and after his GSCEs enrolled with a school that offered rugby training alongside education. He became a professional rugby player in Gloucester before moving back to Exeter when he was 24, and eventually playing for Harlequins in Twickenham, London, in the final years of his career.

When his salary started to jump at age 21/22, and with it his tax bills, he started to think about what to do with the money. At the same time two players in his squad were forced to retire, bringing home to him that a sports career can end at any point and abruptly, leaving players in a precarious financial position if they have not prepared.

Lewis was fully qualified with the CII by the time he retired from rugby (Credit: Carmen Reichman)




"In the same year, a couple of players in the squad actually had to retire. One for injury, he was probably in his prime, and then one who was a little bit older.

"And the guy that retired in his prime had lots and lots of things going on outside of rugby, he obviously didn't want to retire but he had a few properties, which is typical for sports people, he was going into schools and doing coaching.

"But he also got correct insurance to cover sort of loss of income. And then the other guy, who's a little at older, he didn't have such an idea of what he was doing.

"And from the outset... my understanding is that he was a bit more challenged in the transition."

This was also noticed by the other players, he adds: "I think we all learned very early through a terrible situation that this could end at any point and you know you need to prepare for that."

Preparing for retirement

Lewis retired from professional rugby three years ago, when his contract with Harlequins was not renewed. "I had a look around, there were a couple of options, but by this stage we had our daughter and my wife worked [in London], I was getting on and I wasn't enjoying [rugby] as much," he says.

"So one of the options was to actually not pursue any more rugby professionally, so do the semi pro move into the real world, as I call it, which is the option I went down in the end."