The Best of XYPN Radio: Advice for Independent Financial Advisors

15 min read
January 09, 2020

We recently shared our most popular episodes of XYPN Radio—those episodes that continue to rack up the most downloads time and time again.

But that's just a small sample of the stories shared on XYPN Radio over the years. Today, we're highlighting some of our favorite podcast episodes. These are stories we've found particularly inspirational to and insightful for independent financial advisors looking inward at their own firms and journeys.

Happy listening!

Ep #221: Leveraging a Tax Practice to Rapidly Grow Their RIA - The Careers of AJ Ayers and Shane Mason

AJ Ayers

Shane MasonToday we have XYPN members and founders of Brooklyn FI, AJ Ayers and Shane Mason, on the show! The pair has achieved explosive growth, and they join us to share how they did it, as well as how their unique career paths ultimately led them to financial planning.

Listen in to hear about their journeys to discovering financial planning and how they started working together. You'll learn what they do to manage their partnership and divide responsibilities, what it's like for them working on both the tax and financial planning sides, and how they've dealt with imposter syndrome as they've built such successful careers.

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Ep #119: Scaling a Firm to Serving 100 Clients in Less Than 2 Years – An Interview with Amy Irvine

amy irvine-1

Amy Irvine, founder of Irvine Wealth Planning Strategies, is no stranger to hard work. Her finance career started out on a typical succession planning path, but after being told she couldn’t roll out a service model to serve younger clients she decided to split off and join another firm.

In today’s episode, Amy shares some of the issues that she had with making that transition and what all advisors should be aware of before breaking away from their firms. However, since her departure, Amy has seen amazing growth! She produced an additional 46 clients in 2016 and 18 clients in 2017 – serving a total of 100 clients in under 2 years! She even had to turn away other clients due to asset minimums at her old firms, but now most of them are all on board.

Amy also speaks on the importance of mentorship. You'll learn how to become a mentor, how to structure your mentorship, and what you can hope to accomplish within the relationship ­– creating a mutually benefiting relationship between you and your mentees.

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Ep #233: Embracing a Psychographic Niche and Keeping Your Planning Firm Personal: The Career of Alex Yeager

Alex Yeager

Alex Yeager started his career out of college at Vanguard, gaining valuable experience working with clients and their investments. After feeling as though he would like to work more intimately with clients in a comprehensive way, Alex moved to Texas and started working at an independent RIA. Now the owner of Everlong Financial, he specializes in the personal relationship side of the services.

In this episode, Alex explains why he wants to lead by example with his clients as he begins to grow a practice that works for him and his growing family. You will learn what it was like for him to start a firm while facing his own perfectionism, as well as how he is ensuring that his practice meaningfully serves his life.

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Ep #80: Planner, Professor, and Parent - the Career of Inga Chira

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Inga Chira is the President and Founder of Attainable Wealth, a fee-only RIA based in Los Angeles. She specializes in financial planning services for college professors and teachers. Inga has an awesome story and a very cool career path. Originally from Eastern Europe, she came to the U.S. as a high school exchange student and decided to stay and pursue her undergraduate and master's degrees in the U.S. as well.

Inga began her career working with Citigroup and then started teaching courses in Finance at a local university. In 2009, she left Citigroup to pursue a Ph.D. in Finance in order to achieve a better work/life balance. During this time, she also became a CFP  through an interesting route that we talk about in detail.

Inga's extensive resume and educational background led to lucrative job offers. However, she turned them all down in order to open her own firm last January. During her first year, she has started working with 23 new clients while maintaining her full-time position as an Assistant Professor of Finance. On this episode, we discuss her time management strategies and a simple, yet effective technique to connect with her ideal client.

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Ep #204: Leveraging Life Planning to Build a Financial Planning Firm - The Career of Sidney Divine

Sidney Divine_circular vignette

Sidney Divine, founder of Divine Wealth Strategies, joins the show to share how he climbed his way to the top and ended up being voted Financial Planner of the Year in 2017. He explains how he is fulfilling his dream of helping good people live better lives and how that passion has helped him build strong, lasting relationships with his clients.

Listen in to hear how cold calling was beneficial to his career—despite this method being so often discredited—and how, for Sidney, it has always been less about money management and more about financial life planning. We discuss the importance he places on providing freedom to his clients in whatever they decide to pursue, as well as his vision for the future and how he plans to grow his firm.

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Ep #192: From Loan Officer to RIA Owner and Process Extraordinaire - The Career of Arielle Minicozzi

Arielle Minicozzi

When it comes to starting a firm, there’s so much to know about implementation and getting started. After experiencing this firsthand, Arielle Minicozzi found a way to help other advisors with their processes to give them the ability to serve more clients and run their business more successfully. In this episode, she sits down to chat about her career transition, passion for helping millennial home buyers, partnering up with another financial planner, and more.

Arielle’s experience is valuable to those who are thinking about starting their own firm—or even those who have been in the business for a while. She talks about how she got valuable experience that paid off big time and the value of having support and using systems to work more effectively in order to offer more value to your clients. Her success and passion for what she does says a lot about the importance of paying attention to what you’re good at and what you enjoy, as well as why we shouldn't be afraid to take risks.

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Ep #187: Laying the Foundation for Growth by Merging with Another Firm - The Career of Angela Moore

Angela Moore_circular vignette

The lack of financial literacy is astounding, even for those who have college educations. Angela Moore lived through the frustration of not easily being able to find a good advisor, but once she found one that helped her change her life, she decided she wanted to do that too. She joins the show today to share her story of shifting careers and growing in the financial advising field to pursue her passion.

In this episode, Angela opens up about her reasons for starting her own firm, as well as the benefits of having her own business. You'll learn why she decided to merge with another firm, how she scaled her business, how she fell into her specific niche, and what working with her clients really means to her.

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Ep #134: Leveraging SEO and Print Advertising to Supercharge Your RIA Growth - The Career of Taylor Schulte

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The process of transitioning from working within a firm to transitioning into a more independent hybrid RIA model and finally to owning his own RIA has given Taylor Schulte some great insight and experience. He joins us on the show to talk about these transitions, the ups and downs and how he ended up where he is today. From the details of working under an umbrella RIA to the details of owning his own RIA, Taylor has a lot of insight to share.

Taylor talks in detail about the benefits and drawbacks to working under an umbrella RIA and shares some valuable information on hiring challenges and growing his firm through different marketing strategies and techniques. Taylor reveals details about why he spends more on advertising than most advisors and how it has been very successful in growing his firm.

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Ep #206: Running a Hyper Growth Firm with Your Spouse - The Career of Michelle Smalenberger

Michelle Smalenberger_circular vignette

Michelle Smalenberger has over 12 years of experience working at a nationally-recognized firm and has been mentioned in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Financial Advisor IQ. Today she joins the show to discuss the benefits of owning a business with your spouse and how she and her husband manage the relationship stress that comes along with that.

Listen in to hear why the couple decided to leave their previous firm and start their own business, as well as how they have grown their firm to the large size that it is today. You'll discover Michelle’s biggest failure and what she learned from it, how she makes her firm so easy to find online, and more.

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Ep #208: 3 Years In and Hitting Her Stride - An Interview with Meg Bartelt

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After coming on the show two years ago to talk about her first year in business, Meg Bartelt has agreed to come back to share her journey and progress since then. In this episode, Meg gives a raw and authentic look at the life of an entrepreneur and opens up about how she handles the many different stressors that come along with that. You'll hear about her process, methods, mistakes, and triumphs over her first three years in business.

If you’re thinking of starting your own firm, this episode is for you. You'll learn about the marketing strategies that have made Meg's hyper-niche, virtual-based practice possible, all the details on her numbers and progress since 2017, what she is focusing on now, and more.

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Ep #152: Leveraging Their Passion for the Environment to Grow Their SRI-Focused RIA - The Careers of Courtney & Morgan Ranstrom

Courtney Ranstrom_circular vignette

Morgan Ranstrom_circular vignetteToday I’m excited to have siblings and XYPN members Courtney and Morgan Ranstrom on the show! Co-founders of Trailhead Planners, the two found an interesting niche working with clients who care about their environmental footprint and want to build carbon-neutral portfolios.

With complementing skill sets (Morgan is more of the big-picture person and Courtney is the realist who focuses on the operations of the firm) the pair works really well together to provide real, comprehensive financial planning for their clients. Offering an awesome blend of comprehensive financial advice with investment expertise, this duo is incredibly dynamic and are doing some really interesting and creative things in their business. Listen in to hear all about it.

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Ep #158: Helping Clients Live Their Life After Grief – The Career of Chris Dale

Chris Dale

Dealing with clients who are grieving or going through a great loss requires a great deal of courage, compassion and wisdom. Chris Dale is an advisor and planner who has gone through significant loss and channeled that into a practice of his own that caters specifically to people going through a hard time. In this episode, he shares extremely valuable advice that will shed light on how to truly be what our clients need during their hard times.

Chris has quite a story and background that pushed him to focus on a niche that many people don’t want to get involved with. He talks about his particular niche and how he is helping other advisors work with clients who are grieving. He also gives some solid advice on starting a firm, finding a mentor and how he emotionally connects and disconnects in order to handle situations in the best way.

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Ep #171: Leveraging Processes to Allow Explosive Growth Working 20 Hours-Week - The Career of Rebecca Conner

Rebecca Conner

Rebecca Conner took the leap and started her own financial planning firm. Her early success is something she credits to having a specific niche from the start and implementing processes that nurtured growth. She discusses the risks she took on, her unique niche in tech and how she figured out the right path for her firm.

Rebecca talks about the importance of doing work that aligns with her passions and values and how that had a lot to do with her starting her own firm. She discusses how she found her confidence in the early days and how the birth of her daughter effected her new business. Rebecca also shares how she found her clients and avoided issues with non-compete with a previous firm.

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Ep #120 - Career Changing From Tax Attorney to Financial Planner With a Focused Niche of Serving LGBTQ Couple Clients - The Career of Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson Circular Vignette

Brian Thompson, founder of Brian Thompson Financial, is committed to helping the LGBTQ community with their financial planning. He started out as a tax attorney but his interest in personal finance grew after he watched his mom get sold inappropriate annuities and saw more opportunity to help people in this area. He sat in the CFP exam and opened his own RIA in February 2016 though he didn’t launch until August 2016.

In this episode, Brian shares some of the challenges in growing a business in the first year and how servicing a niche audience has helped grow his firm. Currently, he has 13 retainer clients, charges $1500.00 upfront, and around $300.00 monthly. He uses a net worth-based income calculation. Brian also speaks about using content marketing to help grow your business – his amazing writing skills has produced a lot of content geared towards his market.

 You’ll learn what some of the biggest challenges are as a beginner in financial planning (e.g. what the CFP doesn’t teach you), how you can differentiate yourself in the industry, and how to leverage content in your business.

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Ep #236: Audits: The Do’s and Don’ts According to a Former Regulator: An Interview with Kingston Hollman

Kingston Hollman

Kingston Hollman is one of XYPN’s compliance consultants and a former regulator with the state of Minnesota. Having been a financial advisor and firm owner himself in the past, Kingston now provides firm owners with expert advice on how to embrace a culture of compliance and what to expect when it comes to audits.

In this episode, he sheds light on why audits don’t have to be scary, as well as how regulators of different states communicate with one another. Listen in to learn the importance of being as transparent as possible, what you can do to prepare your company for an audit, and more.

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Ep #224: Leveraging Investors to Launch Their Financial Life Firm - The Careers of Cristina Livadary & Stephanie Bucko

Cristina Livadary

Stephanie BuckoYou have the chance to gain or lose mana with everything you do. What is mana? Today you’ll find out the importance of this word, as well as the value of life planning and building a meaningful business from Mana Financial Life Design co-founders, Stephanie Bucko and Cristina Livadary.

Listen in as Cristina and Stephanie explain the paths they took from different industries into financial and life planning and the foundations they used as the basis for their firm. You'll learn how they navigated a deal with investors to help start their business, how they grew to almost 40 households in just one year, and their vision for the future of their firm.

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Ep #198: Providing Multi-Generational Financial Planning to Minority Families - The Career of Emlen Miles-Mattingly

Emlen Miles-Mattingly

Today, Emlen Miles-Mattingly joins the show to describe how he took his career from bank teller to president and CEO of the successful firm, Gen Next Wealth. We’ll discuss Emlen’s unique niche in providing multi-generational financial planning to minority families and what he is doing to bring diversity to the industry.

Emlen recounts a personal story of how listening to XYPN Radio prompted his decision to break off from his old firm to develop his own business. Listen in to get an in-depth look at how he establishes lasting relationships with his clients and the extensive work he puts in to continue impressively growing his practice.

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Ep #215: Marketing on a Limited Budget with XYPN Marketing Coach Carolyn Dalle-Molle

XYPN Carolyn Dalle-Molle headshot

In financial planning, you can’t be all people, and you can’t be all numbers. This is also true when it comes to marketing, and today you will get to hear from XYPN’s Marketing Coach, Carolyn Dalle-Molle, who is fantastic at helping XYPN clients find the right marketing strategy for their practice and goals.

Listen in as Carolyn shares the most common questions she hears from advisors at different stages and addresses these in an open and uncomplicated way. She really has a knack for demystifying marketing and its different aspects that people struggle with. You'll learn how she changed the word "niche" to make more sense to people, how you can measure your marketing effectiveness, and more.

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Ep #228: Why XY Planning Network Sued the SEC Over Reg BI - With Michael Kitces

Alan and Michael

This year, we announced we would be suing the SEC over Regulation Best Interests, better known as Reg BI, and many people have asked some great questions about this process and what it entails. So today, Michael Kitces joins the show to help answer those questions, discuss how this came about, and explain why this is so important for financial planners everywhere.

Listen in to learn about the origins of Reg BI, as well as what led to the mess we are in currently. From the fiduciary vs. suitability rules to the RIA and the broker-dealer landscape, you will gain a better understanding of why the SEC is overstepping their boundaries when it comes to creating rules and our view on the potential outcomes of this case.

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