Ep #29: Building a Virtual Firm by Marketing Locally with Eric Roberge


Over the last 28 episodes, we have talked about a lot of different topics, some more in depth than others. This week, however, we’re covering a subject we have never fully discussed.

Today, I am excited to bring you a first on #XYPNRadio — a return guest! Eric Roberge shares how advisors can build a virtual firm by marketing locally.

Eric is the founder of Beyond Your Hammock, a financial planning firm based out of Boston. He is a founding member of the XY Planning Network, and was one of the first 30 advisors to join the XYPN movement.

Eric and I have been friends for a long time and talk frequently. Recently, we talked about how he markets his firm and grows his practice. He had a lot of tips, suggestions, and stories around growing a virtual firm, and I knew we had to bring that conversation to our listeners.

Eric has found some truly awesome ways of integrating the traditional financial planners’ face-to-face methodology with today’s technology. He’s had a career that many financial planners could only dream of, and today, he shares how you too can bring the same level of success into your practice.

Listen in below!


Listen to the Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • The ins and outs of virtual planning.
  • Why Eric chose to work virtually.
  • How to build trust virtually and in person.
  • How Eric was able to be a part of a BNI group, in a typically full financial planning position.
  • The difference between doing something that you do not like to do and what you are not good at.
  • How Eric became known as “the face of NexGen” in Massachusetts.
  • Eric’s secret weapon to getting more clients.

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Ep #28: BONUS EPISODE – Alan and Kitces Unhinged (Mailbag Style!)

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalThis week, Kitces and I return to the podcast to bring you yet another mailbag episode. This time, we answer four of the burning questions we’ve received from the #XYPNRadio VIP community.

On this episode, we cover your questions about robo-advisors, how to transition from one career to financial planning, and how to best serve your niche community. We end our conversation with how large advisory firms can adopt a monthly retainer model and keep their younger advisors from leaving.

Listen in below!


Listen to the Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • What robo-advisors will do to the world of financial planning.
  • How robo-advisors can be used in your firm.
  • The dynamics of changing your career to planning.
  • The advantages that a financial planner that changed careers has.
  • What you can do now to prepare yourself for starting a firm in the next five years.
  • The challenges that larger firms face in adopting a monthly fee.
  • How to become an intrapreneur.

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Ep #27: Outsource Your Marketing to Grow Your Firm with XYPN’s Director of Marketing Kali Hawlk


We get a lot of questions from our community centered around marketing, and to start answering them, we invited our very own marketing guru to the show. I’m excited to bring Kali Hawlk, XYPN’s Director of Marketing, to #XYPNRadio today!

Kali and I discuss the most important pillars to your online marketing program, and most importantly, how to get the help you need so you can grow your firm. Because with all that comes with running your financial planning firm (the marketing, the writing, the financial planning itself), there’s no possible way that you can be perfect at everything. Outsourcing what you can — and what you’re not good at yourself — is the secret to productive marketing.

Kali is an incredible writer, and she has been instrumental in helping me get the ideas out of my head and on paper for all XYPN-related content. She has some great information on how to promote your content and, at the same time, promote your business.

You are not going to want to miss a second of this episode, as Kali guides you through the process of identifying your most important branded assets, how to promote your content, and where to start looking to get the help you need.

Listen in below!


Listen to the Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Why Kali went from freelance writing to our marketing manager.
  • How Kali became a financial writer.
  • The #1 marketing tool that everyone needs to have.
  • The importance of including blogging as a part of your marketing plan.
  • Kali’s tips for creating a unique and engaging website.
  • How to work with freelance writers to create amazing content for your blog.

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How to Determine What You’re Worth

How to Determine What You're Worth

One of the biggest questions people have when starting a business or going out on their own to freelance is how to determine what you’re worth. How do you decide what to charge for your time, services, knowledge, or products?

Common advice is to determine what you’re worth to the marketplace, and then ask for the appropriate amount of money based on your findings. As wonderful as that sounds, what does that even mean?

There is something to be said for how worth, and in particular self-worth, leads to more money over the course of one’s career. In a study conducted by Kansas State University and Klontz Consulting Group, researchers found a considerable correlation between a healthy sense of self-worth and financial satisfaction.

There’s concrete evidence that determining your self-worth and acting accordingly can lead to better finances. Here are a few tips on how to determine what you’re worth.

How Do You Feel About Money?

While researching what other people in your market are charging or determining your rates based on experience can be helpful, none of it will matter if you don’t think you actually deserve the money. That’s why it’s important to first start with how much you value yourself and how that plays into your money.

In the same study mentioned above, researchers used the Money Attitude Scale created by Drs. Yamauchi and Templer. This is a scale used to measure someone’s beliefs about money in an effort to see what could be affecting their financial behavior. A common theme researchers have found is that a very strong belief about money can affect whether or not someone retains or disposes of money.

The same can be true of making money. If you have a strong belief that making money is difficult or that you won’t be able to make what you want, then that’s exactly how you will end up behaving.

So, before determining your rates based on your worth, first check in to see where you stand when it comes to your own worth. Do you have doubts that you’ll be able to get the money you ask for? Do you find yourself saying things like, “Who would pay me that much for my service?” All of these are important things to notice and be mindful of.

If you notice any repetitive negative patterns when it comes to money, then it may be time to do some self-reflective work around the issue. Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill are good places to start.

Do Some Market Research

Once you’ve identified and begun working on any psychological barriers that could be getting in the way, the next step requires a bit of research.

Some people may find it helpful to see how others within their industry set up their business models and pricing schedules. Just note that one person’s model or pricing may not actually work for you. Instead, try to use this research as a template or a jumping off point you can customize to fit your own business and financial needs.

It’s also important not to fall into the trap of competing on price. That strategy may work for Walmart, but it won’t work for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

You don’t want to undervalue your services because you’re afraid people you work with or buy from you will go to cheaper providers. Remember, research has found a correlation between self-worth and financial satisfaction, so underpricing based on what you see during your market research would be an example of short changing yourself.

Focus on Results and Value

This is the real kicker in how to determine what you’re worth when you’re a freelancer or running your own business. When setting your rates and selling your services, what your potential clients will care about most is the kinds of results you can get them.

Do they have a complicated situation you can help them sort out as a consultant? Have you been able to help customers achieve a tangible ROI? Have you been able to help people reach a particular outcome?

Freelancers and entrepreneurs often don’t give themselves enough credit for the incredible work they do. It’s usually because people aren’t accustomed to actually acknowledging their successes, and instead go straight for the next goal they want to accomplish. Not giving yourself credit (which means not acknowledging your worth) is then usually reflected in lower pricing.

How to determine what you’re worth requires both psychological and tactical exercises to help you find the numbers that work best for you.


Amanda AbellaAbout the Author: Amanda Abella is an Amazon bestselling author, speaker and personal finance expert who helps millennials make money their honey through online business. She has built an online brand that touches thousands each month and has been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Seventeen Magazine and more.

Good Financial Reads: Review Your Financial Successes, Should You Open a Store Credit Card, and More

Good Financial Reads 12.18.15 (1)

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:


Review Your Financial Successes This Year

by Cady North, North Financial Advisors

Happy Holidays! As we wrap up 2015, I like to take time to review my accomplishments for the year — especially financial ones. Oftentimes we look at our finances as a constant to-do list, which means it feels like work. There are things to learn (what did my benefits guy say about my insurance coverage again?), bills to pay, retirement to plan for…..oh, and dreaded tax time to deal with.

A tip I’ve learned to make all this work feel more rewarding is to take a moment to think about the major milestones you’ve achieved this year and celebrate them.

[Read the Full Article]


Should You Open a Store Credit Card

by Cathy Derus, Brightwater Financial

With holiday shopping in full swing, you might be tempted to open a store credit card. Retailers try to entice you with offers of extra savings the day you sign up, exclusive coupons for cardholders, and/or rebates once you spend a certain amount. If you do, you’re not alone.

Credit Karma 2013 member data showed that “compared to the previous January the percentage of new store credit cards more than doubled during the months of November (13 percent) and December (11 percent), signaling the most activity of the year.” And a 2014 poll by Credit Karma found that “21 percent – or one in five Americans– opted for the discount and opened a store credit card at least once over the past two years. Shockingly, 45 percent of these shoppers admit they didn’t consider the impact on their credit or finances when they filled out the application.”

[Read the Full Article]


Changes to Military Retirement – An Overview

by Patrick Ortman, Ortman Financial Group

On November 25th, President Obama signed Defense Authorization Act for 2016. With it comes long anticipated changes to the military retirement system. Over the next several weeks, I’ll dive into some of the details of the changes and how it will affect the financial decision-making of active duty and their families.

First things first, let’s address 8 basic questions to summarize the changes. Please note, this is not a complete breakdown of every detail but just a broad overview of the changes.

[Read the Full Article]


Estate Planning Basics

by Jennifer Harper, Bridge Financial Planning

Estate Planning is one of the more misunderstood financial planning topics, especially for younger professionals. Since an estate plan is a cornerstone of a solid financial plan, it’s important to know it’s far more than just a Will, and why even if you’re not planning on walking through those pearly gates anytime soon, it’s still a smart move to have one in place.

I heard a fellow XY Planning Network member, Pam Horack, say that investments are the dessert of financial planning – everyone wants to focus on them first because they’re exciting and cool, but other aspects of your financial life like estate planning, insurance, and budgeting are the fruit and vegetables that should fill up most of your plate. I couldn’t agree more! Investments definitely have a key role to play in a financial plan, but they often receive attention at the expense of other aspects of a good financial plan.

[Read the Full Article]

Ep #26: The Career of Jude Boudreaux and How Failure Can Define Success


This week on #XYPNRadio, I am honored to bring you Jude Boudreaux, the founder of Upperline Financial Planning in New Orleans. Jude was one of our fantastic speakers at our XYPN conference back in September, and based on the incredible reception he received at the event, I knew I had to invite him to the show.

Jude is gifted at being incredibly authentic and has an inspiring story of what you can go through and still become a success. We discuss how he transitioned from being an employee to founding his firm, as well as the personal setbacks he experienced that shaped his journey to success.

Jude is a Certified Financial Planner who’s narrowed down and discovered his niche clients that have helped him to live the life he loves. He also has a wealth of experience in the industry, having worked with Janus Mutual Funds, MassMutual Financial Group, and serving as Director of Financial Planning for Bellingrath Wealth Management.

Jude has been able to take both his successes and failures, learn from them, and leverage them into positive progress in the right direction. We’re excited to share Jude’s incredible story and his ability to be completely vulnerable.

Don’t miss this episode featuring one of the Network’s favorite financial pros. Listen in below!


Listen to the Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • Why Jude decided to get his degree in finance.
  • How he learned the soft skills of running a business.
  • Why he left the company he was with for five
  • The two things that typically run out first when running a business.
  • How Jude’s unique fee schedule is set-up.
  • How he was able to work through his failures.

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5 Great Financial Resolutions for 2016

5 Great Financial Resolutions for 2016

The new year is a perfect excuse to check in with whatever needs revamping in your life, and your finances are no exception. Health and finance are the two most common resolution categories, but considering only about 8% of people achieve their resolutions, there’s a good chance your resolutions aren’t working for you.

Most people stick to vague, overarching resolution ideas, but don’t have the details to make them happen. Here are five of the best resolutions you can try this year, including the steps to make them happen. Cheers to 2016!

Set a Budget You Can Stick To

The budget is the backbone of your entire financial plan. If you set one resolution this year, this should be it.

But don’t stop at “set a budget.” That’s a surefire way to fail by mid-January. Take action and get specific with your plan!

Create a spreadsheet with percentage breakdowns of what goes where each month. Use the cash-only envelope system. Look into using a budget app like Mint to help you track your spending.

Whatever you decide, come up with savings goals and specific percentages to help keep you from overspending.

Create a Debt Repayment Plan

“Pay off debt” is another resolution that needs an attack plan to be effective. It helps to come up with a debt payoff timeline that you can hold yourself to, and then funnel money at your debt accordingly.

Start with smaller debts first and work your way up. Or choose specific debts to pay off within the year, like your car or credit cards. Don’t forget to look at each interest rate for the specific debt you have, because that can help you decide which to tackle first.

Again, keeping it detailed will help you stick to the goal you’ve envisioned.

It also helps to have a clear reason that you’re paying off your debt. This works for any resolution, but especially when putting your money toward debt instead of something you want to buy.

What drives you to get the debt paid off? What will it feel like when you’re debt-free? Keep those motivations in mind when you’re feeling hopeless about paying off your debt.

Save More Money

The is one of the most common financial resolutions people set, but there’s a reason people don’t stick to it. Once again, it lacks actionable steps!

At the end of the year, really take a look at where you are financially and where you need to be to feel more comfortable. Maybe you’d like to add more money to a 401(k), create your kids’ college funds, or cushion your emergency fund.

Figure out your goal, break it down into monthly savings goals, and factor that into your budget. Then see the next resolution below to ensure your goals are being funded.

Automate Your Finances

This is a simple step that can make a massive difference a year from now. First of all, automating your payments will keep you from missing payments and accruing late fees and penalties.

Second, you won’t be able to drag your feet on those payments. They are automatically coming out of your account, so you can’t delay them to buy something else.

And third, you can set up automatic transfers into your savings account. If you have money coming right out of your paycheck and going to your savings, you won’t look at it like spending money. Even a small amount every month will add up.

It’s helpful to figure out how much you’ll have in a year, as well. Saving $100 might not seem like it’s worth it at first, but if you keep in mind that it will be $1,200 at year’s end, you might be more motivated to keep it going.

Review Your Credit Report (and Maintain a Strong Score)

This is a given each and every year, but it’s also easy to forget about if you’re not making any major purchases. You can check your credit report for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com.

This shouldn’t just be on your radar if you’re buying a house or shopping for a new car, either. Look up your credit report to make sure everything checks out. You’ll want to monitor it for suspicious activity or debts you didn’t realize you had.

You also want to maintain a good credit score. The best place to start is by consistently paying your bills, and then checking over your debts. Aim to keep your credit card balances low (ideally 30% or lower) and pay down your loans as much as possible. Also be mindful of how many lines of credit you have open; be careful not to open or close too many simultaneously!

Keep balances low, pay bills in full and on time, don’t open (or close!) too many accounts at once, etc)

Staying conscious of your overall credit health can help guide your New Year’s resolutions for a much stronger financial 2016.


Heather SwickAbout the Author: Heather Swick is an author, freelance writer, and editor who has worked for news outlets, national magazines and blogs. She is driven to help others achieve their career and financial goals and share her own experiences along the way.

Good Financial Reads: Security Reminders For the Holidays, Living a Richer Life, and More

Good Financial Reads 12.11.15

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:


3 Security Reminders for the Holiday Season

by Daniel Wrenne, Wrenne Financial Planning 

As if the Monday following a nice vacation isn’t enough of a bummer already, we came back from the Thanksgiving holiday to find that our website had been hacked. Fortunately, we work with a good team and make sure to backup and protect all of our work. Everything was fixed in less than 48 hours, and we’re back up and running again! What could have been a year’s worth of lost work really just turned out to be a minor inconvenience.

Security issues and scams seem to run rampant each holiday season with the increase in online shopping, spending, traveling, etc., and in light of our recent inconvenience, we thought we’d share a few security reminders & precautions we take in order to help you avoid major security breaches. A lack of planning and/or protection from these situations can result in a (potentially avoidable) disaster.

[Read the Full Article]


Living a Richer Life with Gratitude

by Katie Brewer, Your Richest Life

It’s human nature to set your sights a little bit bigger time after time. We set goals to become stronger, faster, smarter and wealthier. We’re always trying to get a little better bit by bit.

But when it comes to money, always wanting more will mean that you’ll never have enough. It’s hard to be in a place of satisfaction and gratitude when there’s a desire for more.

[Read the Full Article]


Money Matters – Talk to Your Family

by Aaron Britz, Legacy Wealth Management

We live in a time where freedom of speech is alive and well. It seems that nothing is taboo. That is, except, when we’re talking about money. I learned over the years that nothing sends a chill through the air faster that broaching the subject among uneager listeners.

For some of us, talking about money with our own family may be hard. Wait, painful. We often don’t even include family into our financial plan until much later in life. Instead, we disconnect.

[Read the Full Article]


How To Save More Taxes If You Are Charitably Inclined

by Vid Ponnapalli, Unique Financial Advisors

When it comes to saving money and planning for financial future, there is one certain question on anyone’s mind: How can I save money on Income taxes? What strategies help me reduce my tax bite? There is no better time of the year than now to plan for this. Presented below is one technique that could help you give some relief come tax time.

If you are charitably inclined, donate to charity often, and take a tax deduction for the amount you donated, the good news is that you have an opportunity to increase your savings! Instead of donating cash to charity, if you donate a long-term appreciated stock, you can potentially save capital gains tax on the stock appreciation. This may, indeed, allow you to donate more to the charity (to the extent of your savings on capital gains), and take a tax deduction on this higher amount. Let us see how this works.

[Read the Full Article]

Ep #25: RIA Compliance: Staying Compliant When You Start and Run Your Firm


This week on #XYPNRadio, I am excited to bring you what you need to know about RIA compliance. We’re chatting with Jim Cullen, President of Financial Planners Assistance Corp. FPAC is a compliance firm that works with independent RIAs and financial planning firms.

Jim has an incredible wealth of knowledge about RIA compliance and broker-dealers. He also has a diverse and interesting background and is someone I think everyone can learn a lot from.

In our conversation, we dive into the events that led Jim to focus on compliance for financial planning firms. After working at several large firms, Jim went on to become president at his current company while still staying on good terms with previous partners.

Turn up and the volume and listen in as Jim and I chat about his career path and how to get into the compliance market before diving into tips and tools for RIA compliance that all advisors need to know about.

This is one episode that you cannot afford to miss. Listen in below!


Listen to the Full Interview:

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • How to get into compliance field for financial planning firms.
  • Why Jim loves RIA compliance.
  • How Jim was able to leave his old company on good terms.
  • The difference between compliance requirements from FINRA and from broker-dealers.
  • The #1 thing that new firm owners need to do to stay compliant.

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Reduce Your Student Loan Debt Burden Next Semester

Reduce Your Student Loan Debt Burden Next Semester

Student loan debt has become a huge burden on recent graduates, with the average college grad carrying $33,000 in student loan debt in 2014. If you can’t afford to make payments on your student loans, you can try to buy some more time with deferment or forbearance, but you will still pay the price in the long run.

When loan payments are postponed through one of these programs, they still accrue interest. When it’s time to start back up with payments, the balance will have increased even more. If you just avoid or ignore paying your loans, they could go into default. That can cause lenders to take legal action against you and will leave negative remarks on your credit for at least seven years.

This all sounds like bad news for college students with debt — and the reality is, it’s not easy to balance this financial responsibility right out of college. Trying to reduce your student loan burden now while you’re in college is the best solution. Try one (or all!) of these ways to keep your student loan debt burden to a minimum as a college student.

Search for Scholarships

Scholarships are a great way to earn a large sum of money to go toward your education that you won’t be required to pay back. Unfortunately, scholarships are often overlooked and underestimated.

Sometimes, it’s much easier to apply for a quick loan than write an essay, fill out an application, and ensure that you meet other requirements for a particular scholarship. But if you take the time out to search for scholarships and grants and apply for ones you qualify for, you’ll lessen your financial burden in college and not need to rely so heavily on borrowed funds.

Check with your college or university to see if they have a scholarship office or list of current scholarships that are open for applicants. Ask your advisor if he or she knows about any public or private scholarships that you could apply for. And double-check scholarships that you might have applied for in the past but didn’t receive. You may be a more attractive candidate now than the first time you applied.

Don’t forget about private scholarships and grants. You can search online for private scholarships on sites like FastWeb.com or Scholarships.com. When searching online, just make sure the scholarship sites you look at are legitimate. Scholarships.com has a A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (and you can check with the BBB before sending in your info to any source that claims they provide funding).

Focus on Saving More Money

College can be such a fun experience, but the cost of an extremely active social life adds up on top of the rising cost of tuition and fees. It’s important to learn how to save more and live well on less if it means avoiding extra student loans.

You can get a roommate to help cut your cost of living. You can also get rid of extra expenses like cable and transportation costs by switching to cheaper alternatives, like Netflix and Hulu and walking or biking instead of maintaining your own car.

Invest in a crock pot and cook more easy meals at home, and in batches, so you can have plenty of leftovers for additional meals. Check out thrift stores first when you need clothes, take part in free events around campus, and opt for nights in with friends instead of dropping a lot of cash at bars.

The money you save from cutting your expenses can go straight to the bank to use toward the following semester’s tuition. You don’t necessarily need to miss out on the college experience. You just need to make smart swaps and choose inexpensive options over things that cost more cash than you really have.

If you fund your fun with money you received from student loans, you’re effectively financing your lifestyle — and you’ll have to pay it back one day, plus the interest. Is spending money you don’t have really worth having to pay 5% more than the actual cost when it comes time to repay your student loans?

Increase Your Income

If you make more money during college, you won’t need to borrow as much to help fund your education. Getting a part-time job in college is one of the best ways to earn some money when you’re not in class.

You can also take advantage of other flexible ways to earn money on the side like babysitting for family or others in your neighborhood, tutoring other students, working on campus, or working online.

You can earn a nice income from working online whether it’s becoming a virtual assistant for busy business owners and bloggers, writing for other websites and blogs about topics that interest you, or taking surveys and selling items online via sites like eBay, Amazon, and Poshmark.

Freelancing can even help your future career, and there’s no reason to wait until graduation to start gaining experience. Set up your own blog or profile, connect with influencers in your field, and start pitching yourself!

Empower Yourself to Stop Student Loan Debt Before It Starts

Student loan debt statistics should not be taken lightly. If you’re still in college, you have a few options to take when it comes to lowering your student loan debt burden. Focusing on obtaining public and private scholarships, increasing your income, and saving more of what you have can all help lighten your debt burden upon graduation — and make it that much easier to start your fully independent, adult life on the right financial foot.


Chonce MaddoxAbout the Author: Chonce is a freelance writer who’s passionate about helping others get out of debt and work toward financial stability. You can connect with her on her blog, MyDebtEpiphany.com.