Cheryl Holland's firm, Abacus Planning Group, is based in Columbia, South Carolina. Working in a mid-sized city such as Columbia might prove tricky for other advisors, but her niche working with families who hold business and other close assets has set her apart. Coupled with her natural drive and a willingness to keep learning, Cheryl has build a firm that rests on the core tenets of learning, growth, empathy, and challenging work.
In this interview, Cheryl talks about how she built Abacus, why she invests so heavily in every one of her employees, and what she’s done to systematize just about every process in the office. She shares how technology has helped drive the growth of her firm, and why she’s put such a strong emphasis on teaching her team (and herself!) how to be keen listeners as well as talented financial advisors.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/35
Sheryl’s firm Rowling & Associates was already a robust planning practice before she decided to design and launch a rebalancing software that would be affordable and simple to use. In this interview, she shares the challenges of running concurrent businesses, what she wished she knew before diving into the software world, and what she learned about life and work while managing two related but demanding ventures.
She’s also a fierce advocate for work-life balance and has built a practice that allows employees to serve clients to a high standard while also carving out time for the rest of their lives. Sheryl shares the structure of her firm today, along with her hiring philosophy and how she manages such great, holistic relationships with clients.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/34
Building a business is already hard. Building a successful wealth management business in a rural area, where there aren’t as many potential clients, is even harder. Meet Jeff Rose, the founder of Alliance Wealth Management, who will be sharing how his business is now managing over $40 million while making over $100k on the side from referrals and partnerships.
Digital marketing is the main key to Jeff’s success. Ever since he got his first online client thanks to his blogging and online presence, his focus has shifted to taking advantage of the internet’s potential for connection. Jeff shares how he’s built up his online presence to make his business known locally and to a wider audience. He also gives us details on how he forged partnerships with insurance agencies and other services to provide more value to his customers while making money on the side.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/33
In this episode, Brittney Castro shares why and how she’s diversified her business and how she’s found great success in all three pillars.
Brittney radiates passion for finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship as she talks about her business and the strategies she used to get where she is today. Her financial planning practice, Financially Wise Women, has successfully resonated with her niche due to her attention to what really matters. Brittney keeps things simple, from the fees she charges to the processes she uses to plan.
By being in tune with her customers’ needs and maintaining personal limits on time and focus, Brittney has been able to build a reputable and successful brand. She shares the numbers with us and gives a closer look at what she has paid for projects and employees and how she has set up her massively successful marketing outreach. She also digs into the details of how she gets paid to represent brands and the process she went through, and is currently going through, to develop her own online content and courses.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/32
When it’s time to hire a new financial planner to help grow the business and build your team, the task can seem overwhelming. Trusting your clients with just anyone isn’t an option, so how do you go about finding and recruiting the best of the best of today’s talented financial planners? Today we have Caleb Brown joining us on the show and sharing his tips for finding the top candidates to join your firm.
Caleb is the co-founder of New Planner Recruiting Firm and has many years of both financial planning and strategic recruiting under his belt. He emphasizes the importance of looking beyond skill and diving into the deeper corners of applicants’ resumes and personalities to find any unteachable traits. From different testing methods to case studies and various interview techniques, Caleb teaches managers different tactics for finding trustworthy go-getters who can get clients to take action.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/31
Josh Itzoe is a CFP, AIF, and Partner at Greenspring Wealth, where he consults with corporate clients about how they can improve their 401(k) offerings.
Josh is also a self-published author and believes that publishing a book about his industry was the best business decision he’s ever made.
In this episode, Josh shares how he initially got into the institutional side of financial planning and what fascinates him about helping companies hash out their 401(k) programs.
Josh also walks through the process of writing and publishing his book, and the results he saw afterward. He shares some of the best resources for those interested in the 401(k) planning space and talks about why he decided to read the entire ERISA law - which is no small feat - to gain an edge over other advisors.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/30
Dana Anspach and her firm Sensible Money have 110 full-service baby-boomer clients, $130 million AUM, and $1.3 million in annual revenue. And they do it all virtually.
In this episode, Dana talks about the structure of her firm and how she’s built it into a brand that she hopes will continue long after she’s gone. She also shares how many of her clients were formerly her readers, and talks about how her foundational client questionnaire, followed by a 3-meeting strategy and comprehensive financial plan, leads about 70% of prospects wanting to become full-on clients.
Be sure to listen to the end, where Dana discusses how her writing has formed the backbone of her brand and business, and the schedule she maintains to make sure it all gets done. Dana also shares many of the technological tools that allow Sensible Money to educate, service, and build trust with clients from around the globe.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/29
Our guest today is Michael Nathanson, chief executive officer of the Colony Group. Michael’s private wealth management firm has over $6 billion in assets under management and a 39% profit margin. Michael has driven this phenomenal growth through strategic acquisitions, high-level systems thinking, and targeted organic growth.
Michael walks us through how he operates as an effective CEO to nurture his seven offices, recruit top-level talent, and delegate effectively. He gets into the details of compensation, leadership and buying other firms. He also shares the company’s trajectory and how it compares to other RIA practices out in the market.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/28
Amy works hard to help financial advisors grow through targeted referrals to high net worth individuals. She accompanies marketing skills with sales development to make sure those leads convert to clients. She calls upon her experience at Goldman Sachs accruing $50M in AUM in just 18 months through highly-targeted cold calling and emailing.
Additionally, she shares her unique methods for finding wealthy individuals. She would go so far as to take pictures of the donor lists at art museums and research the events that these wealthy donors would make great clients. Then, she would reverse engineer a pathway to connecting with them.
In this episode, Amy also covers the places, both digital and physical, she recommends visiting to meet the new rich. If you are going to crack into this population, it is better to start with people who have just come into money. They won’t have as many entrenched service providers already in place.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/27
Steve Wershing is a practice management and marketing consultant who teaches clients to stop asking for referrals. He believes, if you operate in a clear niche, that you will stimulate referrals from clients without solicitation.
Steve consults with advisors to clarify how their marketing materials can more clearly communicate their strengths and structure.
In this episode, Steve discusses being guilty of conflating target market with niche market. Towards the end, Steve shares how to manage a niche practice and why clients will eventually outgrow your services.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/26
Tim Delaney had a bit of a different journey into financial planning, but his 23-year career as a CPA was excellent training. After a few years doing both taxes and planning, clients started telling him they slept better at night because of his help managing life’s financial ups and downs.
In this episode, Tim shares the negative investing experience that made him want to focus on a no-selling value proposition, and how he learned not to over-explain the planning process to clients.
Be sure to listen to the end, where Tim describes the essential partnerships along the way that have allowed his business to flourish and weather several recessions, all while providing clients with excellent service.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/25
Stephanie Bogan has achieved the level of success that most financial advisors aspire to reach. She sold her practice, Quantuvis Consulting, to Genworth Financial and now lives in Costa Rica, coaching other advisors. In this episode, she shares her perspective on growing a serious consulting business.
Stephanie attributes the rapid growth of her firm to a focus on helping other firms transform their own growth rates. She's worked with clients on business strategy, human capital, operations management, and marketing techniques, and she's developed a top reputation for coming up with valuable, tangible solutions.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/24
Today’s guest has a very uncommon structure for her financial consulting business. Liz Davidson is trailblazing a business model where her firm is paid by employers to educate and guide employees’ financial lives. They are now the largest provider of workplace financial wellness programs in the business.
It has been a long process of tinkering and refining to figure out precisely how to deliver value to the wide range of employees that Financial Finesse serves. Liz explains her multichannel approach to serving clients and scaling her team’s expertise.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/23
Jude’s firm Upperline Financial has a unique fee structure that allows them to help clients and families of varying net worth while providing a holistic, vision-driven financial plan.
In this episode, Jude talks about how he carefully considered the decision to open his own RIA, and how he timed the transition to be able to spend more time with his family and also grow the business at a slower but more sustainable rate.
Be sure to listen to the end, where Jude talks about his upcoming merger with The Planning Center and why he’s excited about the future of the business. By merging with another firm, Jude will maintain ownership of Upperline, yet be able to focus his energy on the parts of the business he loves - working with clients - and delegate those that he isn’t as good at and doesn’t enjoy.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/22
In today’s episode, I speak with Inspired Financial founder, Evelyn Zohlen, an independent RIA in southern California. Her business is focused on working with women in transition, namely divorcees and widows. Her small, cohesive team dominates the niche and innovates constantly.
Evelyn shares the details of how she selected this niche and built her team. They have set up their fees and team to deliver over-the-top coverage to select clients and share responsibilities fairly. Some clients pay for AUM, while others pay her a retainer, which is a growing trend within the industry.
For Evelyn, driving referrals from centers of influence has been the foundation of how she has built her business. This has led her to bring $140M in assets under management in 15 years.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: www.kitces.com/21
I’ve received a lot of requests for me a to be a guest on my own show - so here you have it!
In this interview, I talk with my XYPN co-founder Alan Moore about how I manage to keep up with the blog, five growing businesses, speaking gigs, and actual financial planning - on top of spending time with family. I retrace the steps I’ve taken to arrive at the varied career I have today, and share some of the formative experiences of that journey.
Alan and I also talk about the time management strategies I’ve implemented in order to balance everything and avoid overcommitting myself.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/20
Bob Veres has long been a towering figure in the world of financial planning. He's been writing about financial planning since the early eighties and has played a key role in shaping the industry as we know it today.
In this interview, Bob shares how and why he’s worked to close the disconnect between planners’ and clients’ interests, and why he thinks financial planning could one day be a profession on par with medicine and law. We trace the changes of the profession through time, followed up with Bob’s predictions for the future.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/19
Angie Herbers consults with financial advisors to help them break through growth barriers and bring their firms into alignment with their core values. Although she gets about 4-5 prospects a week, Angie only works with about 10% of the advisors that want to work with her.
In this interview, Angie talks about the critical importance of setting boundaries with your business and your clients. Angie explains why your business by nature is a selfish entity, and how to protect your time and energy to ensure you don’t lose yourself to the business.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/18
There’s constantly buzz in our industry about the importance of integrating social media with your practice. Not only is Josh Brown an advisor at Ritholtz Wealth Management; he runs the widely-read blog The Reformed Broker and appears on CNBC’s The Halftime Report.
In this conversation, Josh tells the story of how he became one of the best known voices in the business, beginning in the financial world as a broker dealer for some questionable companies. Josh also shares advice about building your social presence and the necessity of being authentic with your audience.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/17
Our guest this week, Deena Katz, was already writing entire books about practice management when I was still cutting my teeth as a financial advisor. Deena is a financial advisor, author, and educator who has long espoused the importance of holistic financial planning.
Deena was an early adopter of niches, settling into work with widows and divorcees that needed help managing their money. Deena has empowered not only women during her 41-year career, but clients and planners from all walks of life.
In this interview, Deena talks about the early years of financial planning and how she and her partners established one of the first fee-only practices. Deena also talks about the second half of her career, which she’s dedicated to teaching the next generation of financial planners.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/16
You’ve undoubtedly heard of “life planning” within the financial planning world, but we’ve got the originator himself with us today on Financial Advisor Success.
In this episode, George Kinder talks about his early career and the inception of life planning. He shares the three questions he asks of new clients to get to know them, and the short- and long-term goals he often has clients identify. For George, life planning is the first step of any good financial plan - get to know your client well, and then figure out how you can help them become who they’re meant to be.
George also shares how life planning became so popular in the first place and how he transitioned away from and sold his financial planning firm to teach life planning full time. He also talks about the other passions in his life, and why finding and holding onto freedom is the main motivating factor for all of his work.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/15
Carl Richards has a career that many people would be envious of. He’s worked for top-notch financial planning firms, built his own RIA, written two books and a column for The New York Times, and travels internationally to speak to crowds about financial planning. But like most of us, Carl still deals with impostor syndrome that threatens his confidence in his own success.
In this interview, Carl and I talk about why many great financial advisors constantly question whether or not they’re providing the value their clients are paying for.
We also dive into the many opportunities Carl has had throughout his career, and why he still feels today like he’s lucked into many of them. He shares some real wisdom about why advisors shouldn’t let impostor syndrome keep them from doing valued, important work for clients or seizing the chances that come their way.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/14
As a serial entrepreneur, Steve Lockshin has founded several businesses in the advisory industry. Listen to this week’s episode to learn how he got started as a financial advisor without any experience in the field and how he created and sold a software company without a background in programming.
Steve shares his journey from insurance into financial advising and how he got started. You’ll hear the lessons he’s learned from selling companies, his entrepreneurial successes (and failures), and growing his revenue 100% every year.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/13
Today I’m chatting with Sophia Bera, the founder of Gen Y Planning. Sophia was the subject of a post on Nerd’s Eye View back in 2013 when she was starting her firm. Four years on, she’s bringing home more than $100,000 in revenue and serving about 50 clients on a monthly retainer model.
Sophia’s firm is another example of just how powerful a niche can be. Although peers told her that millennials would be a challenging and non-lucrative group to serve, she quickly found that advisors were lacking, not millennial clients.
In this episode, Sophia breaks down her fee structure and service model. Sophia’s experience with traditional firms, financial startups, and running her own business make her uniquely suited to consulting clients and other financial planners alike on their various options for financial management.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/12
Alan and I co-founded XY Planning Network in 2013, but he had to go through a lot of growth and challenges before he got there. Three years later, Alan firmly believes that being your own boss is safer than letting one person (your boss) be in control of your income.
In this episode, Alan and I talk about his internship with Rick Kahler and subsequent job, during which he learned that being an associate advisor in someone else’s firm wasn’t a good fit.
We then dig into Alan’s transition to entrepreneurship, the practice he started from scratch, and the financial ups and downs of making it happen. He shares his motivation for creating a specific niche for other young financial planners and why he’ll never go back to working for anyone else. We wrap up with some of the growing pains of building a business, and how to make sure being an entrepreneur stays fun amid all the hard work.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/11