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
In this interview, Eric gives us some background about Austin Asset today and its incredible growth since he joined the firm in 1997. He shares candidly about how he and his mentor John Henry McDonald complemented each other as they navigated the challenges of a growing firm.
While we discuss the nuts-and-bolts of succession planning, we also touch on the oft-ignored emotional aspects of such a transition. Eric also talks about the book he co-wrote on the subject, Success and Succession, which he hopes will make this natural part of the industry less lonely and more navigable for all financial planners.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/10
Today on Financial Advisor Success, I’m excited to host Dr. Carolyn McClanahan of Life Planning Partners. Carolyn is a physician and financial planner based out of Jacksonville, Florida, where her truly holistic ensemble practice works with 80 clients and maintains more than $1 million a year of stable recurring income.
In this episode, Carolyn lays out the infrastructure & beliefs of her firm and shares the client standards document that ensures she only works with considerate, responsive, all-around awesome clients.
Carolyn also talks about how she adjusts her complexity-based fee for each client, why she doesn’t want to grow beyond 100 client families, the hard lessons she learned about hiring, and the parallels she sees between medicine and financial planning. We wrap up with a discussion of her new company that plans to make it easier for financial planners to navigate working with aging clients to ensure their long term financial stability.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/9
David Grau Sr. talks about how he helped start a business at the wholly unique intersection of financial services, technology, and consulting that is FP Transitions’ bread and butter.
We also discuss the four sectors that David and his team break the industry into - books, practices, businesses, and firms - and the critical differences between them. David also shares his potentially controversial (or at least counterintuitive) perspective on compensation, which by now is an industry standard. (We’d love to hear your thoughts on this!)
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/8
In this episode, Matt talks about how he transformed a stagnant firm into a profitable lifestyle practice with the help of his father Nathaniel (the founder of Jarvis) and his two excellent office staff. He outlines the business’ metrics, service model, and the infrastructure he’s built to ensure his clients get excellent service even if he’s not in the office.
We also talk about industry criticism of lifestyle practices and the heavy investment Matt and his team have made in the technology that keeps the business running. He discusses the future of the practice and the factors he weighs when considering new clients, including potentially spending less time with his family.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/7
Eleanor Blayney talks about the challenges of growing an independent RIA in a male dominated industry. She was one of the founding partners of Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney. The firm grew to a billion dollars in AUM before it was sold to Harris Bank in 2003. She focuses on serving the needs of women - both as clients and as advisors in the profession.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/6
Mark Tibergien is the current CEO of Pershing Advisor Solutions, an advisement firm custodian to some of the wealthiest practices and clients in the world. Pershing is part of BNY Mellon, which oversees $33 trillion in assets globally. Mark was formerly a part of Moss Adams, where he pioneered the benchmarking studies that helped define and continue to shape the industry today.
In this episode, you’ll hear about how Mark got recruited into the early financial planning world back when he was still an aspiring journalist. He then talks about how his benchmark studies at Moss Adams helped him become one of the foremost authorities on professional practice management. Mark also shares the four stages of an advisory firm’s lifecycle, and the key roles that great leadership and people skills play in the establishment of a successful firm.
Get the full show notes and transcript for this episode at: https://www.kitces.com/5