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Ep #68: How to Use PR to Grow Your RIA with Megan Carpenter

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This week our guest is Megan Carpenter. She is the co-founder of FiComm Partners, a public relations firm specializing in creating custom marketing campaigns for independent advisory firms. As a recognized expert in PR for advisors, Megan outlines just how to obtain press coverage and leverage that to grow your business.

Megan got her start working as a marketing intern for a hybrid firm and quickly worked her way to director of marketing. She built the marketing departments for two firms from scratch before leaving to start her own firm.

Listen in as we discuss her decision to break from working with insurance and broker-dealer firms to focusing exclusively on marketing campaigns for RIAs.

This episode is loaded with valuable tips on why advisors should consider working with a public relations firm and how the exposure can grow their businesses. While you can work on gaining exposure for your firm independently, working with an expert can help you target the right media sources that will be most effective in establishing you as a subject matter expert.

 

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • Why Megan stopped working in the insurance broker-dealer space and made the leap to RIAs exclusively.
  • Why FiComm Partners focuses on helping firms create the ideal target persona.
  • How firms can develop ideal targets that aren’t specific to a community group affiliation.
  • What public relations actually means and what it can do for your business.
  • The difference between paid and earned media.
  • Steps that advisors should take immediately after receiving media coverage to leverage the publicity.

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Ep #67: Alan & Kitces Unhinged: The Best Questions and Conversations from #XYPN16

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Michael and Alan are back for another Unhinged episode after wrapping up #XYPN16 in San Diego. We had a blast at the conference and loved the opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time talking with members of the XYPN community.

This mailbag episode covers the major questions received as well as highlights from the conference.

In what will come as no surprise to members of the community and long-time listeners, we open the conversation with questions on defining your niche.  The benefit of defining a niche was a constant theme at #XYPN16.

A significant number of attendees are taking advantage of niche marketing and experiencing greater momentum than those who do not. Defining a marketing plan, setting your rates, and determining the right clients to target becomes easier for firms with a defined niche.

We also dive into how to determine and set pricing, and why valuing your services from the get-go is a better long term plan. And if you’re not sure of your value? We provide a simple strategy to attract new clients without setting yourself up for a lasting pricing model headaches.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for the sake of transparency, we took a hard look at what happens then things don’t work out for advisors who launch their own RIAs. We discuss failure rates within the XYPN community and talk about what failure actually means.

We share our top three reasons why fee-only firms on a monthly retainer model don’t blossom into successful practices. The answer just might surprise you.

 

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • Highlights from #XYPN16 in San Diego.
  • Why firms who define a specific niche have an easier time developing a marketing plan.
  • How to approach raising prices with existing customers.
  • How to attract customers initially with discounted fees vs guaranteed fees.
  • A strategy for finding your value and pricing your services.
  • The failure rate of advisors starting their own RIAs.
  • Why firms fail and how to avoid the pitfalls.

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Ep #66: How to Successfully Execute a Succession Plan with Jake Kuebler

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Jake Kuebler is a 30-year-old planner at the helm of the very successful, fee-only firm, Bluestem Financial Advisors. He joins the podcast this week to discuss succession plans, the future of the retainer model, and how to seamlessly manage a firm’s transition in ownership.

When we last spoke with Jake, he had accepted an offer of 50% ownership in Bluestem Financial Advisors with the intention to buy out his partner after she retired. This year has been a whirlwind of experiences, including transitioning clients, recovering from the loss of a lead advisor, and relocating to new office space.

Succession plans don’t often end well with both parties benefiting as expected from the arrangement. Jake’s journey shows us that succession plans work well when structured by the existing owner in a way that seeks a win-win for both parties.

Additionally, Jake offers an inside perspective on how the net worth and income fee structure made better sense for his firm. Learn how they re-evaluated the firm’s business model, doubled their fees, and only lost one client in the process in this week’s episode.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The pros and cons of operating as a solo firm owner vs a partnership.
  • A positive example of how succession plans can work well over time.
  • The custodial changes that are involved with the transition of ownership in a partnership.
  • The compensation plans Jake is considering to attract new advisors.
  • Whether equity partnerships are ideal compensation strategies for new advisors.
  • How to explain your fee structure to clients.
  • The future of AUM and the compensation structure for planners.

 

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Ep #65: Developing a Specialty Service Around College Planning

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalWe routinely receive requests for more shows with established planners who’ve found success implementing the strategies we champion, especially around defining your niche.

Joe Messinger of Capstone Wealth Partners is the perfect example of an advisor running a firm doing just that. He specializes in helping families create a comprehensive college funding plan to maximize financial aid, minimize taxes, and effectively save for retirement at the same time.

Joe transitioned into financial planning in 2003. He worked in a commission-based insurance sales position. While he enjoyed early successes and experienced remarkable career growth, he grew increasingly uncomfortable with the service he was providing.

By 2009, there were fewer barriers to entry to starting an independent financial planning firm. Joe and his a business partner started a fee-only RIA from scratch in that year.

Previous years in the industry exposed Joe to the fact that there was limited information widely available on saving for higher education and the right way to go about college planning. The market had a need and Joe decided to provide a solution. He developed a strong expertise in college planning that’s made him a sought after resource and public speaker on the topic. He also enjoys a constant stream of referrals he can trace back to his specific niche.

Today, Joe shares his experience and goes beyond what it takes to start a firm. Planners interested in a roadmap for growing a business beyond the start-up phase will find this episode extremely valuable.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • What a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation is and whether fee-only planners should have one.
  • How Joe sold a book of business at 27.
  • The tipping point which caused Joe to move away from working in commission-based financial planning.
  • How to define a niche market.
  • Successful strategies Joe used to market his business within the school system.
  • The Capstone Wealth Partners fee structure and service model for new clients.
  • The plans in place to service clients beyond a college planning time frame.

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Ep #64: Creating a Unique Financial Planning Service Model with Trace Tisler

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalTrace Tisler walked away from a comfortable job in a successful, fee-only RIA to strike out on his own. He’s now building his own fee-only firm… with one of our favorite financial planning firm names in the industry (listen to the podcast to find out what it is!).

Financial planning doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter service. Trace is one firm owner who’s forging ahead on the path less traveled and making a career out of working with clients before they’ve amassed a retirement nest egg. He works with people all over the income spectrum, and it’s his goal to help them build wealth for their futures.

As we’ve said before, starting a business isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Trace is frank about the challenges he’s facing at this point, three years in. Even though the experience has been much tougher than he ever imagined, he has no regrets.

We offer a number of helpful recommendations for new entrepreneurs who are just getting started in the financial planning industry. Trace was generous with his time and his lessons learned. You’ll find this conversation to be a valuable resource.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How Trace caters to a variety of clients and offers a variable service model (instead of providing cookie-cutter planning).
  • Why managing your expectations before starting a business is important.
  • How he and his wife bootstrapped a Paleo meal delivery business.
  • The importance of selecting an appropriate name for your firm.
  • How planners can be more effective when working with younger clients.
  • Why embracing your mistakes will help you succeed.

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Ep #63: Alan and Kitces Unhinged – Spammy Marketing, Selling Insurance, and More

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalMichael and Alan are back for another episode of Alan and Kitces Unhinged. Your cohosts address questions from the XYPN community on whether spamming potential clients is a reasonable marketing technique, why selling insurance doesn’t vibe with the fee-only structure, when and why advisors should register an RIA, and more.

Traditionally, financial planning clients are generated by referrals, but today we discuss whether advisors should try unsolicited email marketing techniques to drum up new business. We also talk about how to avoid running afoul of CAN-SPAM laws (along with the $10,000 per spam email fine).

Next, we take a dive into the conflict of interest between selling insurance and running a fee-only practice. If you’re struggling with why the insurance licenses need to go, tune in — we’re explaining why. We also discuss how to make the process of moving away from selling insurance easier.

Finally, we walk you through the basics of why you have to register your RIA firm, when you should do it, and how you can operate a business in the meantime without going off the compliance rails.

The XYPN community has questions. We have answers. Tune in below!

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The pros and cons of using unsolicited emails as a marketing technique.
  • What CAN-SPAM laws are and how you can be penalized if you break them.
  • Why selling insurance for fee-only financial planners undermines your fiduciary obligation.
  • The three-pronged description used to determine whether you trigger a registration status.
  • The difference between an RIA and an IAR.
  • The difference in how states regulate the 5-client rule.
  • Whether studying for the CFP during office hours is a reasonable expectation.

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Ep #62: Surviving the Storm on the Path to Success – The Career of Andrew McFadden

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalAndrew McFadden took a traditional route to a career in financial planning. He earned a degree in business and went on to get his MBA. He also worked as a stock analyst and interned at an RIA.

Andrew is responsible for having his previous employer ranked at the number 10 spot on a list of best wealth management firms. His resume is golden, but that wasn’t enough.

Andrew thrives on challenging himself. He left a full-time position to begin his own RIA without a book of clients or a clear plan on how to attract new ones. After reading an inspiring article, Andrew took his experience and vision for offering clients a unique brand of service and started Panoramic Financial Advice in Fresno, CA.

Today, he enjoys success with his firm. He serves as strong niche market and is the go-to expert in Fresno. But his path to success didn’t come without both personal and health challenges. In this episode of the podcast, Andrew opens up about his very private struggles in the business and his marriage and how he worked to overcome them.

The path to success requires entrepreneurs to weather many storms, and Andrew’s story and his advice for other financial professionals considering launching their own RIAs makes for a must-listen-to podcast. He dives into the realities — both good and bad — about self-employment and owning your own business.

In addition, you’ll learn how Andrew pushed passed the reluctance to narrowly define a target audience and how that’s generated opportunities that he would have otherwise missed.

Tune in below!

Surviving the Storm on the Way to Success- The Career of Andrew McFadden

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The value of pursuing an MBA while on a financial planning career path.
  • The service role he proposed, which served as his foot-in-the-door to the largest RIA in Fresno during a challenging period of looking for work.
  • How he determined whether he should stay with his current firm vs venture out on his own.
  • What his 8-month transition to self-employment looked like.
  • The personal and health challenges he faced upon starting his new firm and the steps he took to overcome them.
  • Digital marketing strategies Andrew used to build a steady flow of clients.

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Ep #61: After the Succession Plan – How to Revamp and Rebrand a Financial Planning Firm

XY-Planning-Podcast-finalAre you thinking about becoming part of an existing financial planning firm’s succession plan and taking over the business at some point down the road?

Our guest today, Hannah Moore, bought and now runs a firm after she worked out a succession plan — but that was only the start of her path as an RIA owner.

Hannah Moore is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of Guiding Wealth Management. She purchased the firm from a retiring financial planner while in her early 20s. After the sale, she took extra steps to revamp and rebrand the business.

That included cutting ties with the original broker-dealer to establish her very own RIA.

In the process, she learned vital lessons about valuing her negotiating position. She also learned to separate out the less-than-helpful advice and evaluate her options objectively. In the end, Hannah’s insistence on understanding details helped her face tough negotiations from a place of power to ensure the final deal left her in a winning position.

On this episode, we talk in detail about how she revamped her firm and transitioned to a RIA from the broker-dealer relationship and how she was able to drastically reduce her client roster from 300 to 18 without impacting her revenue.

In a male-dominated industry, Hannah is proving that women can seize opportunities as financial planners and entrepreneurs to create the life of their dreams by building a business that supports that lifestyle.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How financial planners should approach the transition of clients to younger advisors.
  • The inside details of the succession plan Hannah helped create from a contractual perspective.
  • How she learned the basics of setting up a succession plan from studying previous failed attempts.
  • The pros and cons of becoming a firm owner by getting involved with an existing business’ succession plan.
  • How she revised the business processes to rebrand her business and complete the transition to an RIA.

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Ep #60: Financial Life Coaching with Garrett Philbin

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Can you create a profitable business that caters to clients with negative cash flow? Garrett Philbin is working to test that question and find out. Garrett launched Be Awesome Not Broke, a financial coaching firm that helps clients identify their goals while establishing a firm financial foundation based on building cash flow and debt management skills.

Garrett transitioned to financial planning after spending 5 years in the music industry. He leveraged his skills as a liaison between artists and business professionals to build a business that serves young professionals who are living beyond their means or not currently saving toward expressed goals.

It’s an interesting conversation that sheds light on the fact that not all businesses need to serve high-income clients. Garrett shares his philosophy behind prospecting for new clients quickly, networking with fellow advisors to build a client pipeline, and the approach he uses to price his services.

Garrett’s business model is one that financial planners will find intriguing. There’s tremendous potential to improve the client pool of those seeking comprehensive financial planning services from efforts like Be Awesome Not Broke.

Tune in and take notes. His energetic approach to growing a business from scratch is filled with helpful lessons for planners at all stages.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How Garrett connects with other financial advisors to prospect for clients.
  • The importance of building a mutually beneficial relationship with fellow professionals.
  • Why he decided against setting up a RIA.
  • The educational credentials essential to running a level 1 planning firm.
  • His approach to behavior management that facilitates client buy-in to values-based budgeting.
  • How his current pricing structure has evolved over the past eight months.
  • How to transition to value-based pricing model in the planning world.

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Ep #59: Alan & Kitces Unhinged – How to Price Your Services in a Monthly Retainer Model

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Many advisors feel overwhelmed while trying to establish fee structures when they transition to getting paid for the services they provide. Selecting a pricing model was, historically, never an issue because most fee-only financial advisors worked were paid based on the assets they managed.

In the pure advice world where services are completely detached from traditional mechanisms for generating income, well… we’re seeing advisors freaking out a little bit about how to price your services when you try the monthly retainer model (or any other business model that means you get paid for advice and planning services rather than just asset management).

That’s why we’re dipping into the mailbag and addressing questions to help advisors think through a few common scenarios in order to select a pricing model that works.

If you’re having a difficult time valuing your time or lining the services you provide up with an appropriate pricing structure, tune into this episode. And make sure you take plenty of notes on this great information that will surely help you build a profitable practice that serves your ideal clients at the highest level.

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What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • A starting point for determining how to price your services.
  • Why setting a time-based pricing model is challenging to maintain.
  • How you can determine the value of your time.
  • Why not honoring your time early and establishing a lower price point can negatively impact your growth after 6 – 12 months.
  • Other types of fee structures that advisors can adopt.
  • Why complexity-based pricing is less effective for new business owners.
  • How to transition to value-based pricing model in the planning world.

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