John Stokes is the Founder and CEO of John Stokes Financial, a hybrid advisory firm based out of California that oversees more than $400 million in AUM for 1,800 client households. John has built a really unique expertise in layoff transitions, and has leveraged corporate layoff workshops that he delivers to soon-to-be-laid-off employees. He has also built a niche focusing on helping employees go through their layoff transition, allowing him to capture the inevitable rollover and other financial planning opportunities that arise along the way.
Listen in as we discuss how John has established and built relationships with large companies, and then leveraged those relationships to be their expert in layoff transitions. You'll learn what led him to pursue this niche, how he has been able to achieve a steady stream of over a hundred in-person workshops a year and a steady flow of new clients in both bull and bear markets, and why he chooses not to charge for his workshops, but instead feels that it’s his duty to provide goodwill and help people through trying times.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/313
Emily Rassam is the Senior Financial Planner for Archer Investment Management, a virtual independent RIA based out of Texas that oversees $170 million in assets under management for 170 households. After struggling in a position with ever-mounting responsibilities and pressure that kept her away from her family, Emily made it a priority to find a position that not only appreciated the expertise she brought to the table, but also allowed for a better work/life balance.
Listen in as Emily shares her experience working towards burnout at her previous firm, how this experience allowed her to get serious about finding a role that was ideal for her, and how she found her current firm and used key questions to determine whether they offered a positive work/life balance. We also discuss how she overcame imposter syndrome, how she became comfortable with shedding the typical stereotype of a financial planner focused on selling services, and why she believes that newer advisors should focus on the value they bring to clients rather than the amount of work they are doing.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/312
Terry Parham Jr. is the CFO and Co-Founder of Innovative Wealth Building, an independent RIA based out of Maryland that oversees nearly $330 million in assets under management for nearly 900 households. After almost failing out of the business because of a struggle to secure new clients in the first two years of his career, he changed his approach and within 18 months was one of the fastest-growing advisors in his entire company.
Listen in as Terry shares how the small pivot to asking prospects upfront to commit to making a referral—only after he had shown them real financial planning value—turned his career around. We also discuss why he took time to confer with colleagues and conduct research before deciding to go independent, how he used dinner seminars as a way to consistently get $ 3 million to $ 5 million of new assets under management with every event (that cost less than $2,000 to host), and how a simple tool early in his career helped him to gain confidence and better relay information and connect with clients.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/311
Natalie Taylor is the owner of Natalie Taylor Consulting Services, an independent virtual RIA, and the Head of Financial Advice for Monarch Money, a personal financial management tool that helps consumers track their spending and net worth. While working for a FinTech company, Natalie realized that the way to provide the greatest amount of impact and value to the end consumer is to collect the data, deliver the advice, and filter out the rest.
Listen in as Natalie shares how working for LearnVest inspired her to develop a framework for their financial advisors that focused on providing only the most impactful financial advice to help clients move forward, how she developed a brand voice to help advisors communicate advice to clients more consistently, and the catalyst that led to Natalie ultimately leaving LearnVest and dismantling the advice offering that she had originally built. We also discuss why she switched firms to get more hands-on mentoring and the opportunity to work with higher caliber clients, why it is important for newer and younger advisors to concentrate on getting clear on their values and then filtering their career choices accordingly, and why the key to her success has stemmed from developing her own personal list of six core values that she uses to filter major family and career decisions.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/310
Anh Tran is the Founder and Managing Partner for SageMint Wealth, a corporate LPL-affiliated RIA based out of California that oversees nearly $325 million for 195 clients. As a solo advisor, Anh differentiated her firm by leveraging the combination of a high-touch point concierge approach to client service with a unique investment management approach using very carefully chosen structured notes to differentiate her portfolio design from other advisors.
Listen in as Anh shares why her firm integrates structured notes into their client portfolios despite the extra time and work that is required to conduct extensive due diligence and analysis beforehand, and how they ladder the structured notes on a rolling quarterly basis so clients can continuously reinvest at then-current rates and features. We also discuss why Anh pivoted to become a CFP from a career as an attorney, why she remains a licensed attorney still, and how she was able to find a community that uplifts her by leveraging study groups while also helping to uplift other minorities in the financial services industry.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/309
Matthew Blocki is the CEO of Equilibrium Wealth Advisors, an independent RIA based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that oversees more than $275 million in assets under management for 330 client households. Today Matthew joins the show to share why he and his firm decided to develop and then implement their pre-, during-, and post-meeting checklists as a way to create a more efficient process and better position themselves as their clients’ personal CFOs offering a more concierge experience.
Listen in as Matthew shares how he leverages one-to-many recorded videos and online FAQs to increase his communication with existing clients on key issues, what he attributes the 4x growth of his firm to, and why he made the decision to break away from a large insurance company. You will learn why he decided to go the independent RIA route, how he narrowed down the number of clients he had without losing a significant amount of revenue, and how he formulated the client capacity targets for his advisory teams that he set to determine when to hire the next new advisor.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/308
Stacey Hyde is the President of Envision Financial Planning, an independent RIA that oversees nearly $200 million in assets under management for 206 client households. Stacey and her partner decided to drop their FINRA licenses and launch their own RIA to gain more flexibility and independence for the firm, and in this episode, we talk about why they decided to drop their broker-dealer licenses and drop out of the corporate RIA structure.
Listen in as Stacey explains what she did to simplify language for clients and help them better understand the firm’s offerings, as well as why her firm implemented a fee schedule where the tiers have hard breakpoints after a certain threshold. You’ll learn the processes she has put in place to more easily communicate the fee schedule to clients, how she and her firm built their client base by leveraging both client referrals and an advisor network that has many connections, and what helped Stacey to realize that she had a greater impact in her clients' lives than simply being their “advisor.”
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/307
Cean Kenefick-Rogers is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ironwood Wealth Management, an independent RIA based out of Arizona that oversees just under $550 million of assets under management for nearly 500 households. Cean and his partners inadvertently created a three-way struggle in the early days of their firm that forced them to seek third-party intervention, restructure their partnership roles and compensation, and ultimately unlock the next stage of business growth.
Listen in as Cean shares the journey that he and his partners look from brokerage firm to their own independent RIA, as well as how infighting within their firm nearly led to its dissolution—and how they ultimately managed to turn the firm around and scale the business to the next level of success. We also discuss Cean’s role as CEO, including how he navigated having sole accountability and decision-making for the firm, how he adjusted his mindset from advisor to leader, and why he measures his success beyond his own contributions to the firm.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/306
Mindy Crary is the owner of Creative Money, an independent RIA based out of Seattle that offers a unique 12-month financial planning engagement that has allowed her firm to work with almost 400 households this year alone. Using organic marketing and harnessing the power of Google and Yelp, Mindy has been able to attract clients who are interested in a firm that will advise them without trying to sell them on anything else—and made it possible for her to profitably scale to nearly $1 million of revenue.
Listen in as Mindy shares the journey that led her to launching her current firm and offering advice-only services with a limited-time engagement, as well as how this structure has allowed her to serve a large number of clients comfortably while scaling her business and charging lower fees than other advisors. We also discuss how Mindy has been able to attract hundreds of leads without much marketing spend, how she was able to stick to her convictions and offer financial planning in a way that made sense for her (despite the doubts of others), and why she believes that the key to enjoying a career in financial planning has more to do with staying true to your core competencies than it does with building your own practice.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/305
Chad Chubb is the founder of WealthKeel, an independent virtual RIA based out of Tampa, Florida, that advises on over $100 million in assets for 110 households. Chad has not only implemented a “surge meeting” approach to meet with his ongoing clients, but he has also gone further to implement a “surge onboarding” approach, where he only takes on new clients twice per year.
Listen in as Chad shares the realization that led to the creation of his surge meeting and onboarding approach to the client experience that eliminates the risk of burnout and allows for him to more easily scale and control the growth of his practice. We also discuss how his pricing has evolved, why he is focused on expanding his team further so he can step into the CEO role, and why he still deals with imposter syndrome—despite the fast growth and success that he has achieved so far.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/304
Louis van der Merwe is the Director of Wealthup, an independent advice practice based out of Cape Town, South Africa that oversees the U.S. equivalent of almost $600 million in assets under management for 115 households. Louis and his partner initially developed a robo-advice technology prototype that automated client services, but after it failed to gain traction, they pivoted to a “fully human” financial planning practice instead.
Listen in as Louis shares his journey of developing—and then pivoting away from—the robo-advice prototype that he built with his partner, as well as why he ultimately decided to leave the firm he was at after they refused to purchase the prototype despite being interested in it. We also discuss why Louis feels that his young age gave him an advantage when starting his own firm, why he feels that running his firm is just as challenging today as it was when he first started, and how his definition of success has changed from the early days of his career.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/303
Libby Greiwe is the owner of The Efficient Advisor, a financial advisor coaching and consulting firm based out of Ohio that focuses on helping advisors run their businesses in less time and with less stress. She does this by coaching advisors on the efficiency system that she developed by living through it herself, having grown to a $1 million revenue practice that she was able to support with a lean team and working only 25 hours per week as a busy mom.
Listen in as Libby shares how she developed the system that she now coaches other advisors on, as well as how she was able to systematize the client experience. You'll learn why she decided to sell her firm and retire at the age of 37, how she was able to right-size her client load based on how much time and energy she spent with each client, and why it’s important for advisors to find support in like-minded communities and work toward their own personal vision of success.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/302
Ramit Sethi is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, and the owner of the online platform of the same name that offers financial educational content so consumers can get refocused on their personal finances. In this episode, Ramit explains how he encourages people to spend extravagantly on the things they love so that they can enjoy their money throughout their life and not just after retirement. Ramit also shares why he is unapologetic about his brand and how he got comfortable charging thousands of dollars for his financial education programs.
Listen in as he describes how psychology plays a major role in the way people prioritize their finances, why he supports the use of financial advisors (but is critical about the traditional AUM), and what forced him to reevaluate his company’s internal processes. You will learn what inspired Ramit to create a podcast that focused on couples and their money struggles, as well as why he feels it is important for younger advisors to find what makes them unique early on and market that uniqueness as a valuable differentiator when trying to find clients and build a successful practice.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/301
Joe Duran is a Partner and Head of Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management, a national wealth management firm within Goldman Sachs that oversees more than $100 billion in assets under advisement for tens of thousands of client households. In this episode, Joe shares how he witnessed firsthand how the financial services industry is evolving as more banks and brokerage firms are implementing advisory services, how the shift of national firms into the advisory business is leading them to reach the next generation of clients, and why he feels that independent advisors are underestimating the power of a brand.
Listen in as Joe shares why he made the big decision for United Capital to be acquired by Goldman Sachs, as well as why he feels that financial advisors are doing a disservice to themselves if they are not utilizing Fintech to develop more efficient processes. You will learn what he believes is the real threat to advisory firms, the importance of finding a way to differentiate yourself through more specialized service offerings, and why he thinks we do not need to fear robo-advisors.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/300
Tim Regan is the founder of PrairieView Wealth Partners, a hybrid advisory firm based out of Illinois that oversees $100 million in assets under management for 190 households. Transitioning from an insurance agency model, Tim decided to focus his hybrid firm on faith-based planning—and he offers middle and back-office support to other financial advisory firms through a separate company that he restructured from his own back office.
Listen in as Tim shares how he first got comfortable with concentrating on faith-based planning despite today’s often polarized environment, why he made the decision to offer back-office support under his Focus Forward business to other financial advisory firms (but keep his own marketing support in a full-time internal role), and why he decided to incorporate continuity agreements with his advisory firm under the PrairieView umbrella. We also discuss why he chose to join Thrivent Advisor Network after being a captive agent for Thrivent Financial for two decades and why he believes that it’s important to hire the right people early—even if there is a fear of spending money.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/299
Carolyn Armitage is the President of Thrivent Advisor Network, an RIA platform that offers partnership and affiliate models for financial advisors and that oversees $6.5 billion in assets managed by over 20 affiliated independent advisories. She joins the show today to share how her experience developing strategies for broker-dealers to transition to advisory models has given her a unique perspective on the industry’s ongoing evolution from brokerage to RIA platforms.
Listen in as Carolyn shares how she rose through the corporate ranks in the financial services industry and made her mark by becoming an established executor for major broker-dealers that wanted to add advisory models. You'll learn how she built a new training and development platform in just three short years, why that platform was eventually disbanded for being too successful, and how Carolyn faced head-on the challenges that arose as she was building new kinds of advisory platforms within firms that were often resistant to change.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/298
Andy Panko is the owner of Tenon Financial, a virtual independent RIA that oversees $70 million in assets under management for 43 retired client households. Andy was able to reach his client capacity goal in only two short years by leveraging a Facebook group that he created to share his expertise directly with the types of clients that he wanted to serve.
Listen in as Andy shares how he was able to leverage his Taxes in Retirement Facebook Group to grow his firm, how he inadvertently created a virtual firm through the process, and why he first structured his firm with a flat-fee model to clearly project his revenue potential. We also discuss how he was able to build his initial list of members to his Facebook group, why he created a list of advisors that have similar focuses to refer prospects to, and why he chose not to take on any more clients—even though his Facebook group is still gaining momentum.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/297
Ed Coambs is the founder of Healthy Love & Money, a financial therapy practice based out of North Carolina that helps families uncover and understand the roots of their underlying financial conflicts. Ed himself is a former financial advisor turned financial psychologist, and he utilizes couples therapy techniques to help his clients get to the root of the issues that may be blocking them from achieving their financial goals.
Listen in as Ed shares how he connects with clients on a deeper level so they can overcome their stalling points, as well as how he knows when he needs to refer a client out to a mental health professional. We also discuss his career trajectory, from firefighter to financial advisor to financial therapist, and how he overcame the challenges he faced launching his financial therapy business.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/296
Shari Greco Reiches is the Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at Rappaport Reiches Capital Management, an independent RIA based out of Illinois that oversees more than $800 million in assets under management for 350 client households. After experiencing a life-changing incident, Shari created her 5-step framework and “CFO Family Checklist” that she now uses with her clients to help them stay focused on their financial plans and ensure that their plan is consistent with their personal values.
Listen in as Shari shares how she developed her “Maximize the Return on Life” framework and how her team built their “CFO Family Checklist” over time to identify planning issues to discuss with clients. You'll learn how they use these tools as a form of living financial plan to help their clients stay focused on their goals and values, how their Diamond Teams approach establishes clear roles for each team member, and how they use a combination of financial planning and a passive investment approach to gain more referrals.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/295
Neel Shah is the Founder of Shah Total Planning, which is a combination of an independent RIA and a law firm based out of New Jersey that oversees $57 million in assets under management for 50 households. Neel himself is an estate planning attorney turned financial advisor who offers a one-stop shop for advice while outsourcing his investments, leveraging his background as an attorney to generate referrals from centers of influence to help scale his growth.
Listen in as Neel shares how he transitioned from attorney to financial advisor, as well as why he went down the path of financial advice to develop deeper relationships with his clients. You'll hear why he views himself not as a career-changer, but as a career-adder, and how he has learned to get comfortable with the realities of building and scaling a business by aiming to make each year better than the last.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/294
Anna N’Jie-Konte is the founder of Dare to Dream Financial Planning, an independent RIA based out of the New York City that has grown to more than $400,000 in annual revenue in only 3 years by having a base of 32 ongoing clients and more than a dozen project-based planning clients who go through her one-day financial planning intensive. Anna has been able to accelerate her firm’s growth by leveraging her reach through appearing on podcasts with sizeable audiences and by developing her own virtual conference that allows her to get in front of the audiences of financial influencers.
Listen in as Anna shares how she used a network of 19 financial influencers to get in front of more than 1,000 highly engaged prospects during her free 5-day virtual conference, and how she vets podcasts to appear on and targets those that have not directly featured financial experts previously. We also discuss why she decided to leave her position at a broker-dealer to launch her own firm and find better work/life balance, what she believes the keys are to creating a successful career path as a financial advisor, and why it’s important to know when to ask for help to avoid serious burnout.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/293
Matthew Topley is the Founder and CIO of Lansing Street Advisors, an independent RIA based out of Pennsylvania that oversees $160 million in assets under management for 60 client households. Matthew has been able to differentiate his firm by offering high-net-worth clients the opportunity to diversify their investment portfolio by syndicating private real estate partnerships that directly purchase individual multi-unit rental properties.
In this episode, Matthew shares the realization he had that led him to diversify his own investments, as well as how he was introduced to truly passive income. Listen in to learn why he built his firm around financial planning advice (even though his background is in portfolio management), why he outsources much of his back-office services to focus specifically on conversations around financial planning advice and real estate investing opportunities, and how he uses tools and systems to execute on syndication deals on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/292
Amy Irvine is the owner of Rooted Planning Group, an independent RIA based out of New York that oversees $67 million in assets under management for 175 households. Impressively, Amy has successfully managed the complexities of starting her own RIA focused on Gen X women despite seeing a very rapid expansion from 30 clients to over 100 clients in under 18 months.
Listen in as she shares what made her realize that there was an untapped opportunity to provide financial planning services to career-driven Gen X women, as well as how she gained a generous amount of referrals. We also discuss how Amy managed the rapid growth of her firm, including why she chose to stop taking on any new clients for 3 months and instead hired a coach to prioritize the mental health of her staff over the economic growth of her firm.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/291
Andrew Komarow is the Founder of Tenpath Financial Group and Planning Across the Spectrum, a hybrid firm based out of Connecticut that oversees $100-million in assets under management for 100 households. Andrew identifies as a financial advisor with autism and has built a firm with a specialized niche of neurodivergent clients, helping them navigate their unique and sometimes complex financial planning challenges.
Listen in as Andrew shares how being diagnosed with autism as an adult gave him the realization that he was uniquely positioned to serve other neurodivergent clients through his firm, why he credits his autism with helping him earn more than 16 financial planning designations despite never graduating high school, and how he created an impact investing index with 79 companies that embrace neurodiversity and inclusion. We also discuss how educational tools on his website and Facebook groups for the special needs community have helped Andrew grow his client base, and why he believes that hiring his first team member before he had the revenue to afford it was the best business decision he ever made.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/290
Kamila Elliott is the CEO and Founder of Collective Wealth Partners, an independent RIA based out of Atlanta that oversees nearly $25-million in assets under management for 175 client households. Kamila and her partners built a firm comprised entirely of Black CFP professionals that are dedicated to supporting the creation of wealth for BIPOC and underserved communities through a model that charges them for advice only, even if they don’t yet have assets.
Listen in as Kamila shares why she intentionally shifted her career focus to build an independent practice, how working with ultra-high-net-worth clients in her previous role gave her the skills and insight to help her firm’s clients grow and retain wealth, and how she explains the value of a financial advisor to clients who have never had an advisor before. We also discuss how Collective Wealth Partners is structured, including why they chose to serve clients collectively with a team approach, and why they chose to create a firm with equal partnership in every aspect.
For show notes and more visit: https://www.kitces.com/289