Today’s guest has built a high-margin solo practice with quite an unusual structure. The founder of Bason Asset Management, James Osborne grew his advisory firm to over $225 million of AUM and nearly $400,000 of revenue by charging his clients a simple flat fee of $4,800—regardless of their assets. And he managed to do so by the age of thirty-five.
In this episode, James shares why he decided not to follow the traditional AUM model, as well as the benefits of his flat-fee approach. Listen in to learn why he chose to build a business model that fits his personal lifestyle and family goals, why he isn’t working to gain more clients and hire staff, and what he plans to do in order to maintain his high-income lifestyle practice once he reaches his personal capacity.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/94
My guest today has one of the most fascinating practices and niches in the advisor space. Sunit Bhalla is the founder of Oak Tree Financial Planning, a solo advisory firm that oversees more than $40 million in assets under management in a hyper-targeted niche of engineers. A former engineer himself, Sunit has been able to build nearly $300,000 in revenue—with an 85% profit margin—by working with just 17 affluent clients.
In this episode, he shares how he built his highly efficient solo practice with a relentless focus on staying focused. Listen in to hear about his unique financial planning process, why he offers all his prospective clients just one comprehensive financial planning and investment management service, and what he says all advisors should focus on in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/93
Today’s guest is an expert at operations and systems. Jennifer Goldman is the founder of an eponymous practice management consulting firm that works intimately with advisory firms on their operations, technology, workflows, and processes. After starting her career as a financial advisor and transitioning to operations leadership roles at two more advisory firms, Jennifer ultimately decided to go out on her own as a consultant.
In this episode, Jennifer shares her personal journey to building her own consulting practice, as well as the important lessons she learned while scaling her business. Listen in to hear the key mentality shift she had to make in order to transform from an advisor to a business owner, what it really means to adopt and implement workflows and processes into an advisory firm, and why it’s so important for business owners to do just that in order to grow and scale their firms without losing themselves in the process.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/92
My guest today trains and coaches financial advisors on how to ask the right questions in order to have better conversations with clients. Mitch Anthony is the co-founder of ROLAdvisor, a coaching community that helps practices transform into Life-Centered Planning firms. With his truly unique gift for finding the right words for effective client conversations, Mitch describes the value of financial planning itself based on six principles that all advisors should take into account.
In this episode, we talk about the real value that financial advisors provide, as well as the best way to communicate this to clients and prospects. Listen in to hear Mitch’s advice for effective client conversations, the problem with the traditional focus of benchmarking an advisor’s return on investments, and why he is more focused on providing what he calls a “return on life.”
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/91
My guest today has not only had a unique journey into the financial planning world, but she also brings a very different approach and perspective to the field. Julie Murphy is the founder and Chief Visionary Officer of JMC Wealth Management, a dual-registered advisory firm that serves more than 200 clients with $200 million of AUM—on top of generating nearly $300,000 a year in recurring planning fees. With financial conversations that are heavily focused around the intersections of money, our emotions, and our energy flow, Julie’s firm offers a distinctive focus on financial healing.
In this episode, Julie shares how was able to accelerate her success and growth by doing what she calls “letting her freak flag fly” and simply being her authentic self. Listen in to hear how she’s allowing clients who are interested in what she has to offer to be drawn to her (rather than trying to advertise out to them), how she transitioned into doing only the things that make her happy in her business, and what she says is a critical component for people to be successful.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/90
My guest today has built one of the largest successful advisory businesses in the country. Ric Edelman is the founder and executive chairman of Edelman Financial Services, a mega-independent RIA with more than $22 billion in AUM, with 165 advisors serving 36,000 clients across 43 office locations from coast to coast. After starting out like any other financial advisor—selling mutual funds in the 1980s as an individual advisor—Ric has spent the last thirty years ultimately building a marketing machine that brought in a whopping 45,000 prospects to his firm last year alone.
In this episode, Ric shares how he grew and scaled Edelman Financial over time, as well as how his marketing of the firm has evolved over the years. Listen in to hear why he considers it the firm’s job to bring in new clients (and the role of advisors to simply service those clients), how he would do things differently if he were starting fresh today, and advice for advisors who are thinking about or actively building a practice from scratch.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/89
Today we’re going to talk about a topic that makes many financial advisors cringe: sales. But despite the negative reaction many people within the industry have to this topic, my guest today is here to explain why “sales” actually isn’t a dirty word. Nancy Bleeke is the founder of Sales Pro Insider, a training platform for financial advisors that teaches how to better turn prospects into actual clients, and she’s here today to share how to take a comfortable and ethical approach to selling that really works.
In this episode, Nancy shares her somewhat nontraditional sales training approach that simply focuses on having a structure to conversations with prospects to ultimately help them make a decision or take an action at the end. Listen in to hear her expert advice for how to talk to both prospects and clients using the WIIFT™ structure—which is both focusing on what’s in it for them and a five-step conversation process—the big mistakes many financial advisors make that scare away potential clients, and what it takes to increase both your comfort level and the comfort level of your prospects when it comes to selling.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/88
My guest today has had quite an unusual path through the industry. After building a successful practice at a wirehouse for the first 20 years of her career, René Nourse went independent so she could use the system she wanted to use to build with the type of clientele she wanted to serve. Now the founder of Urban Wealth Management—an independent RIA in the Los Angeles area that manages nearly $120 million of AUM for more than 200 clients—René is focused on serving her niche working with professional women.
In this episode, she shares what it was like building her advisory practice in a wirehouse environment as both a woman and a minority, as well as the process she went through to break away from the wirehouse world and form her own independent RIA. Listen in to learn how she retained the trust of her clients after the shift, how she structures her own firm, and how she has used a digitally savvy marketing approach to grow her business to where it is today.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/87
Eric Roberge is the founder of Beyond Your Hammock, an independent RIA that specializes in financial planning services for high-income young professionals in their 30s and 40s. In just five years, Eric propelled his advisory firm from $0 to $300,000 of revenue with a unique marketing approach that's earned him a fair share of criticism along the way.
In this episode, he shares how his unusual marketing process works, as well as why it serves as the ultimate differentiator for his business. Listen in to learn how he survived the early years of getting his practice off the ground, what he did to move away from the way advisory businesses typically operate, and how he ultimately figured out and attracted the exact type of client he wanted to serve by simply being himself.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/86
My guest today has been in the financial planning industry for 35 years, and has been incredibly active in the profession. In addition to serving as CEO of Yeske Buie, an independent RIA that manages nearly $750 million in AUM for 240 clients, Elissa Buie sits on the Cornerstone Advisory Board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, serves as a Dean for FPA's Residency Program, and holds an appointment as Distinguished Adjunct Professor in Golden Gate University's Ageno School of Business.
In this episode, Elissa shares what has kept her excited to remain in the field for all these years, as well as her firm’s unique way of leveraging next-generation talent. Listen in to learn how Yeske Buie uses a resident program to boost productivity, how things have evolved with the way advisors are trained and educated as professionals, and advice for new advisors coming into the field.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/85
Diane Compardo is a partner and team leader at Moneta Group, an independent RIA with 40 partners and nearly $20 billion of assets under advisement. Now the leader of a 16-person team with four partners and $1.4 billion of AUA, Diane shifted gears after nearly two decades of building an incredibly successful advisory practice as a way to re-energize herself after a mid-career crisis.
In this episode, she shares the details of her trailblazing career path to working her way up to partner, as well as what she did to pick herself up from the low point of her career. Listen in to hear the key lessons she learned over the years, how she maintains a healthy work-life balance, and advice for newer planners hoping to follow a similar path to success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/84
My guest on today’s podcast shares my philosophy that the industry could use a little more transparency when it comes to broker-dealers, and he is working to make that happen. Jon Henschen is the president of Henschen & Associates, a recruiting firm that specializes in helping advisors find and match themselves to the right independent broker-dealer when making the switch to a new platform. In a segment of the industry that historically has thrived by keeping much of its compensation hidden with back-end commissions and markups, Jon’s willingness to be transparent is refreshing, to say the least.
In this episode, he talks in depth about what advisors should know about the broker-dealer landscape these days. Listen in to learn how the independent broker-dealer recruiting model works, the differences in dynamic between larger and smaller firms, and what advisors need to know in order to pick the right broker-dealer for them.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/83
History always has a way of shedding light on current issues and giving us insight into the future. Ben Coombs was one of the first recipients of the CFP certification and having been involved in the growth and evolution of the financial planning industry, his insight and acquired wisdom is incredibly helpful. He talks about the early struggles of the industry and shares advice on how to advance your career while providing more valuable services to your clients.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/82
My guest today has found an impressive balance between creating a successful advisory firm and giving back to his community. Louis Barajas is the founder of Wealth Management LAB, a multi-family, office-style advisory firm that specializes in providing financial advice and business manager services to entertainers and other celebrities in the Latino community. The first Latino minority to join the National Board of the Financial Planning Association over a decade ago, Louis built his advisory firm over time, from trying to serve Latino small business owners in the barrio where he grew up to writing books and teaching financial literacy to the Latino and broader communities.
In this episode, Louis shares the stages of his unique path into financial planning that culminated in him starting his own solo practice, as well as how he stayed positive and overcame the setbacks he faced along the way. Listen in to learn how Louis built his success by focusing not on financial planning but on what he calls financial doing, the immutable laws that everyone in his firm follows, and what he says is the key to expanding financial advice to a broader range of underserved consumers.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/81
My guest on today’s podcast has grown his niche practice of serving physicians and retirees to nearly $70 million in assets under management and $800,000 of revenue in just eight years. Matthew Blocki is a 30-year-old financial advisor who built his financial-planning-centric business by starting out at Northwestern Mutual and quickly evolving from nearly 100 transactional insurance clients per year to a hyper-focused practice that’s aiming to grow with just 15 affluent clients per year instead.
In this episode, Matthew shares how he got started and survived in the early years of building his practice from scratch, as well as how he differentiated himself as a 20-something advisor working with retirees. Listen in to hear what helped shape his career in the beginning, how his practice and focus have changed over the years, and what it takes to come out exponentially ahead in your business.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/80
My guest today has built her practice to more than $250,000/year of recurring financial planning fees in just her first three years—and she did it while also starting a family. The founder of FIT Advisors, Anjali Jariwala provides financial investment and tax planning advice for young physicians and small business owners in their thirties for an annual retainer fee that starts at $10,000/year. Working entirely virtually with clients, her firm has achieved impressive growth, due in major part to focusing in on a niche from the start, which allowed the firm to pursue unique marketing channels that most other financial advisors don’t use.
In this episode, Anjali shares how she positioned her advisory firm squarely in the niche of serving independent physicians and similar small business owners by leveraging her background as a CPA and a CFP certificate, as well as how she iterated her business model very rapidly in the first few years until she eventually eliminated all the upfront fees and just raised her ongoing retainer instead. Listen in to learn how she structures her upfront and ongoing planning meetings with clients, how she balanced her work life with her home life after having her first baby barely a year after the launch of the firm, and how she reinvested into and restructured her staff support to be able to continue serving her clients during her time off.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/79
My guest today brings a unique discussion to the podcast, as well as a fascinating history with an organization that a lot of advisors aren’t necessarily familiar with, but can surely learn from when it comes to really listening to the clients you’re serving. Charlotte Beyer is the founder and former CEO of the Institute for Private Investors, a private networking organization for ultra-high-net-worth investors and advisors who serve them. After building a new category of community group twenty-five years ago—in a space where people said it couldn’t be done—Charlotte now has a highly successful business and an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and concerns of her particular client base.
In this episode, she shares her impressive professional journey as she built a series of conferences and networking events in an online community for ultra-high-net-worth individuals before the world of social media and online communities, as well as insights from her recently updated book, Wealth Management Unwrapped. Listen in to learn how the needs and concerns for people of high net worth differ from those of other clients advisors serve, what Charlotte sees as the future of working with ultra-high-net-worth investors, and lessons any advisor can draw from regarding the importance of adapting what you offer to fit what your specific clients really want and need.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/78
Tanya Rapacz is the co-founder of The Partnership Resource, a unique business in the industry that does facilitation and mediation for advisory firm partners. Given her own experience working as a financial advisor—as well as her experience with a partnership merger that didn’t work out—Tanya understood the challenges that can arise from partnerships even before she was trained in dispute resolution mediation.
In this episode, she talks in depth about what it takes for a partnership to work. Listen in to hear details about Tanya’s process for working with financial advisor partners to facilitate healthy communication and conflict resolution, the surprising truth about what kinds of people make the best business partners, and key areas that should be worked out early on for a partnership to be successful.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/77
My guest today brings a truly unique perspective to the financial planning world. In addition to being an associate professor in the financial planning program at Kansas State University, Kristy Archuleta is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her background as a trained psychologist means she understands how to help clients improve their financial behaviors in a way that isn’t typically seen with advisors.
In this episode, Kristy shares the details of the work she does at the intersection of financial planning and financial therapy, as well as why—according to the best practices research of therapists themselves—the typical advisor approach is actually not a good way to get people to change their financial behaviors for the better. Listen in to hear what she says makes clients more likely to implement financial planning advice, why she anticipates that financial therapy will eventually become a specialization path for financial planners, and more.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/76
Kathy Longo is the president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management, an advisory firm in the Minneapolis area that oversees nearly $130 million of AUM for 61 affluent clients. Surprisingly, Kathy chose to start this firm after successfully climbing the partnership track ladder to become one of the next generation successor owners of an independent RIA worth over $1 billion.
In this episode, Kathy shares what led to her choosing to leave a successful firm to pursue her own entrepreneurial goals, as well as the challenges she faced in doing so. Listen in to hear how she has grown her business, why it’s so important to find study groups of peers and colleagues, and the crucial philosophy she says all small business owners should embrace.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/75
Today’s guest brings a unique perspective to the show. Not many financial advisor coaches have experience actually being an advisor, but Diane MacPhee is one of the few who understands both sides of the divide. Now the founder of DMAC Consulting Services—a financial advisor coaching and practice management consulting firm—Diane spent over fifteen years as a fee-only financial advisor herself.
In this episode, Diane shares the common challenges of being a successful solo financial advisor, as well as the self-limiting beliefs we sometimes inflict on ourselves that prevent us from growing and being as successful as we could be. Listen in to hear her tips for how to deal with the feeling of overwhelm that can come with growing your business, how to avoid becoming a bottleneck in your own practice, and what she says is the key to financial advisors achieving continued success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/74
My guest today is well known in the financial services industry as a true creative force. Sheri Fitts is the founder of ShoeFitts Marketing—a marketing consulting firm for financial advisors—and the Chief Marketing Officer for Sheridan Road Advisors—a Chicago-area advisory firm with nearly $13 billion in AUM. With more than 25 years of industry experience, Sheri specializes in crafting unforgettable marketing strategies that really stand out.
In this episode, she shares her journey from working a traditional corporate job to going out on her own as an independent consultant, as well as the key marketing concepts that have helped her get to where she is today. Listen in to hear Sheri’s take on how to leverage and maximize marketing ideas, the fundamental difference between sales and marketing, and what advisory firms need to cultivate in order to succeed.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/73
Today’s guest lives in a very interesting space that is becoming a bit of a hot trend in the industry these days. Dave DeVoe is the founder of DeVoe & Co., a practice management consulting firm for RIAs with a focus on business valuation succession planning and facilitating mergers and acquisitions of advisory firms. After his time leading the Schwab Advisor Services Mergers & Acquisitions program—and now working as an independent consultant who runs one of the industry’s leading deal book tracking studies on financial advisor M & A activity—Dave has a deep history in consulting on and tracking the trends of advisory firm mergers and acquisitions and the value of firms themselves.
In this episode, Dave talks about the mechanics of advisory firm deals from the buyer’s perspective, including the main considerations that go into valuation. Listen in to hear his expert perspective on the buyer and seller trends in the industry, the flaws in the traditional 2x revenue valuation estimate for a firm, and why he sees it as both a buyer’s market and a seller’s market right now.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/72
Peggy Ruhlin, CFP board member and CEO of Budros, Ruhlin and Roe, joins us on the show to share her experience and financial planning journey. She goes into depth about her firms unique process that ensures all clients get the same treatment and experience. Peggy gives us the details of what they offer regarding planning and investment services and talks about how their clients actually requested they get more involved in the investment area.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/71
My guest on today’s podcast has had what I consider one of the most fascinating journeys into the financial services industry. After making several major shifts in her career—which she began as a freelance and professional cellist who played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra— Sue Stevens founded Stevens Wealth Management, an advisory firm in the Chicago area that serves 150 clients with nearly $350 million in AUM.
In this episode, Sue shares how her unique ability to take leaps of faith led to her leadership roles at Morningstar, Vanguard, Arthur Andersen, and now Buckingham Strategic Wealth. Listen in to hear how she navigated multiple career changes, what she did to craft her own dream job description as the owner of an advisory firm, and her advice for tuning in to your own intuition on your path to success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/70