Now is a great time to be entering the financial planning profession. There is so much change happening, and it’s giving advisors the opportunity to be disruptors.

Larry Miles, a Principal at AdvicePeriod, firmly believes that, to build a business, you have to be open to change. Unfortunately, many aspects of the wealth management profession are growing increasingly outdated. Through his work, Larry explores how advisors can focus on what really matters to clients – more planning, less investing and technology.

So many advisors are passionate about helping their clients. That’s the reason they’ve gotten into the financial planning business in the first place. However, when it comes to actually running their practice, they fall down. They aren’t adopting new technology, or updated ways of structuring their services.

They aren’t streamlining in a way that makes their lives easier and helps their work to shine. Larry wants to help change that by facilitating a conversation around disrupting the profession and growing advisors as financial planning professionals and business owners.

This episode is a must-listen for all RIA owners (or advisors who are feeling “stuck” in the antiquated practices of the RIA they contribute to). Larry tackles how to adopt revolutionary planning practices for your business, and where you can connect with like-minded advisors who all want to grow and make this profession the best it can be.

Hannah's signature

[tweet_box design=”box_10″ url=”” float=”none” excerpt=”Tell the world what you believe in and like-minded clients and advisors will find you. – Larry Miles on #YAFPNW e127″]Tell the world what you believe in and like-minded clients and advisors will find you. – Larry Miles on #YAFPNW[/tweet_box]


What You’ll Learn:

  • What really matters to clients and how you can position yourself to deliver that to clients
  • How technology impacts Larry’s view of financial planning – and how it could continue to grow the profession in the future
  • Why Larry believes that AUM is an outdated pricing structure – and what he thinks advisors should do differently
  • How to market yourself in a way that shares your passion and attracts your ideal clients and advisors who have shared values
  • Where to find a community of advisors who are like minded and interested in being part of the next iteration of financial planning
  • What it means to build enterprise value and how to do so


Larry Miles on Investment News 40 Under 40


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Ep127 Transcript

Hannah: Well thanks for joining us today, Larry.

Larry: Hannah, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

Hannah: Yeah. So I am so excited to have you on the podcast and you know, when I go to your website, the first thing that pops out to me is how the current model is totally outdated. And presumably this is the investment in advice business. What do you mean by that?

Larry: My partners and I have worked together for most of the last 20 years and in building out AdvicePeriod, we wanted to take a fresh look at the industry. We thought a lot had changed since we first got into the business from the technology that was available to advisors, to what really mattered to clients, to how we could charge our clients a fair fee for the services that we’re offering. And so it was really with a blank sheet of paper. And so the things that we saw, the big themes were we feel like clients are best served with more planning, less investments, and better technology.

Hannah: And were there any specific conversations that you had with clients or any specific stories that really kind of gave you this Aha moment that something needed to change?

Larry: Our first business was very much investment consulting, open architecture, manager of managers. We could invest in any investment manager that our clients were interested in or that we thought made sense for them. And over the years, what we found was despite we have having this infinite universe of investment options, finding managers that could outperform a benchmark, net of fees, let alone net of taxes, was really difficult.

At first, we thought it was just us, maybe we just weren’t very good. But as we looked around and talked to our peers, we found that most folks were struggling to find investments that really outperformed. And at the same time, we were having success helping our families with planning, financial planning for clients that were saving, estate planning for those who had taxable estates. And we quickly realized that those numbers were much more significant to our families, to our clients, than whether or not we could make them a few extra basis points in the market or in their portfolios.

The numbers are just so much bigger if you can save in taxes, the estate tax, income tax, et cetera, capital gains tax. So that was, it wasn’t one Aha moment so much as a series of them over the years that really led us in this direction. And I think that coincided with the general commoditization of investment management and the advent of the robo advisors and the massive flows of dollars towards index funds. And so that was what really got us thinking about, gosh, if you want to be a financial advisor over the next 10, 20, 30 years, you can’t just do things the way that you’ve always done them.

You can’t just charge the one percent, gather as much assets as you can. Clients aren’t going to go for that because it’s just not valuable to them. They’re going to really seek out results. They’re going to demand something more. So financial advisors can either decide they’re going to go out of business because they don’t have a business anymore, they’re going to have to dramatically reduce their fees, or they’re going to have to add value in other ways. And that was the path that we chose, was we wanted to add value in other ways.

Hannah: One of my favorite saying is you’re either the disrupted or the disrupter, and it sounds like you were firmly wanting to be on the disrupter side of the side of the business.

Larry: We definitely want to focus on what really matters to our clients. We can learn a lot from the status quo, but ultimately, yeah, I agree. You’re either getting ahead or falling behind. There really is no status quo and I think that’s the amazing opportunity that financial advisors have right now, is that I think we’re at a bit of an inflection point, whether it’s the convergence of technology, planning, shifting demographics in our client base, those that are looking for something new and different. I don’t think clients are going to just accept the old model and so I think that’s a huge opportunity for advisors who want to take advantage of it.

Hannah: And so what does this new model look like?

Larry: I’ll give you one example. One of the more traditional aspects of our industry that we think is completely outdated is the focus on AUM. For us, AUM is an irrelevant statistic, irrelevant in terms of being a horrible indicator of whether or not you’re a good financial advisor. I know great financial advisors whose clients truly benefit from their advice who don’t have big businesses.

And at the other end of the spectrum, I know advisors who have tremendous assets under management but focus, at least in our opinion, on all the wrong things. And I don’t think their clients are well served. So to us, AUM is a horrific indicator of whether or not a client is well served. And I think our industry would be greatly benefited from shifting away from that as the kind of defacto indicator of whether or not you’re successful.

Related to that, we think that charging based on assets under management is likewise a relic of the past, that advisors whose business was just to gather as many assets as they possibly could, cram them under a one percent fee, and go about their merry way and play golf half the day, four days a week, that business just shouldn’t exist. And so eventually, it won’t exist.

Instead, advisors who charge a fair fee for the value that they’re adding. Sure, there’s some correlation between the value that you can add for a family and their assets, but ultimately, I don’t think the correlation is one. I think it’s far less than that and I think the savviest advisors are figuring out a way to charge a fair fee for the value that they add.

Hannah: You said you just charge a retainer fee, monthly subscription. What is the fee that you’re charging your clients?

Larry: So what we’ve done is we’ve looked at the different ways we think we can add value to clients. Everything from the fairly low value added of asset allocation and investment selection to the higher value add for financial planning or estate planning. And we’ve built a calculator that we share with all of our clients and pull up in client meetings and say, “Look, here are the facts and figures of your situation.”

Here’s your investments that we’re going to manage. Here’s your family’s net worth that incorporates maybe a family business, maybe real estate. Here’s the complexity. We’re going to help you with financial planning or estate planning and these are all options. And so based on what the client’s looking for and how we can help them, we’ve calculated a fee. And it’s like a Monte Carlo. It gets you in the right neighborhood. It may not be exactly the right fee, might be a little bit high, might be a little bit low, but it allows us to have a conversation with clients where they’re truly going to understand how we’re going to help them.

And it’s not just, well, we’re their investment person. We manage their money and I’m not really sure what I pay them or what I’m getting for it. We just think there’s a huge opportunity for transparency. And then yes, we bill quarterly in advance. So you can think of that as a bit of a retainer model. To us, it’s just better business. It’s better for the client because it’s more transparent. They understand what they’re going to pay.

And it’s better for us. Look, when the market’s down, the AUM based advisor is taking a pay cut at exactly the time where they’re going to be working their hardest to keep their clients focused and on course. And we just don’t think that makes any sense. And so our advisors are really thankful that, I think it’s over over 80 or 90, maybe 85 percent of our revenue is fixed flat fee. It goes up each year with inflation, but it’s just a better way to run a business. And I think that too is a theme that a lot of advisors miss out on and that translates into lack of enterprise value is that they’re not building a business.

Hannah: How have clients responded from moving away from the AUM model to more of a retainer model? I know when I’ve talked to … One percent is such a simple concept to grasp.

Larry: Our experience has been that the advisors, and I think this is true systemically with anything new, that advisors are much more reluctant than their clients. Advisors are moving from an AUM based pricing model to a fixed fee model. They’re very pragmatic and reluctant, and they have a lot of questions, and they’re nervous. Clients who hear about it, love it. And so once the advisor gets a couple of those conversations under their belt, and she sees that yes, my clients react well to this, they appreciate the transparency, then the advisors embrace it fully.

But it’s like so many things that are new, it can be a little bit scary. And I think that’s where we can help a lot of … That’s where we help our advisors get comfortable with things and say, “Well, this has been our experience moving away from a model based on assets under management, to active management, to something more passive and fixed fee.” They can benefit from our experience because it’s something new, but clients have really appreciated it and I think that’s a trend.

And whether we think of that as the millennials coming of age and what they’re looking for just as consumers, I think they’re going to focus on value. They’re not going to accept a system just because it’s been there and it’s what their parents used. I don’t think they’re going to just pay a fee because it’s always been paid. I think they’re going to look for value, demonstrable value, and they’ll be willing to pay for it, but they’re not just going to blindly send you one percent every month or every quarter every year and hope that it works out. They’re going to want to see more evidence that you’re helping them.

Hannah: And so do you manage investments for clients?

Larry: Yes, absolutely. It’s one of the services that we provide. I’ll say we offer it to all of our clients. We have about 800 families that we work with and about 2,500 lives that we impact. That’s one of our key measures of success is just how many lives we’re impacting. And investment services is something that we offer to all of them. A lot of our clients, most of our clients, we manage money, but for some clients, their net worth, the vast majority of their net worth is tied up in illiquid assets. And so we’ll advise them on how to structure it, we’ll help them get the right estate planning and tax advice. We’re the overall quarterback.

Hannah: And then do you have like a minimum fee? I guess maybe a better way of asking this is, what do your clients look like? Do you have a specific demographic? Or what’s the minimum fee for somebody to work with?

Larry: Something that we wanted to try when we started AdvicePeriod was not having a minimum fee. We had always felt, ourselves included, that most businesses, most financial advisory businesses, have minimums based more on their own business metrics and the smallest client where they can be profitable. They’ll couch it as well. We really focus on clients between X and Y or over, but we just think that’s all a bunch of marketing and PR. So we wanted to start with, there’s no minimum investment size.

I’m sure we have minimum fees because of the time and the help that we provide our clients, but we have 800 clients. 100 of them are over $100 million in net worth. Probably half of those are over a billion. And then we have 700 clients that are call it anywhere from $500,000 to $10 million in assets or below taxable state levels. So we have a pretty broad cross section of clients and we think that having that diversity helps all of our clients.

The thing they have in common is that they are looking for more planning than investment advice. If they’re looking for stock pickers, we’re not their firm. But if they’re looking for good investment advice, they’re looking for planning, and honestly, that’s where we came up with the name AdvicePeriod, was we just wanted to offer our clients advice, period. And that’s what we found was most helpful and most valued by our families. And that was the business we wanted to be in.

Hannah: I think it’s really interesting looking at kind of that just range of clients that you have because a $500,000 client is a lot different than a $500 million client. So do you have the same business model set up for all those? How do you operate that? And I know you have a bunch of offices, so maybe perhaps it’s different offices focused on different things.

Larry: The group, and it’s largely my partner, Steve Lockshin, who focuses on those $100 million dollar plus families. We have a team based in Los Angeles that we call The Lab. The Lab’s sole focus is on those centi-millionaires, those $100 million plus type of families and all of the issues from business management where we handle the bill pay and financial statements for these families, to coordinating the estate planning, to obviously managing their investments, and everything else that comes up in the often very complex lives of those types of families.

So that’s their deep expertise and we call them The Lab because, to your point earlier about innovating, you have to innovate for these families. The tax laws are always changing. Technology that’s available that helps these families is always adapting. And so The Lab is constantly experimenting, researching, looking at new things before rolling them out to those families.

And then to your point, some of those strategies certainly wouldn’t make sense for a family with a million dollars, but some of the technology might. So when we first started using Betterment, for example, we were using it with some of our largest families. And then as we got more familiar with it and we saw that the benefits would be great for all families, families of all sizes, it’s something that’s now available. Not all of our clients use it, but it’s something that’s available to all of our clients.

And that’s true of lots of the different pieces of our tech stack. We’ll try it in The Lab and then if it makes sense, we can roll it out to, like you said, our 14 offices across the country.

Hannah: That’s really interesting, of starting with the higher net worth and having it filtered down, especially the technology side of it.

Larry: Yeah. It’s interesting because sometimes, again, we have these misconceptions of who would be interested in using technology. And so I think that the general stereotype is well, if you’re going to try something that’s more technology enabled, it’s going to make sense for lower net worth clients and/or younger clients. Those were our own biases when we started more heavily using Betterment and Advisor and Quovo and some of the pieces of our technology.

Even going mobile and having these things available on your phone, we thought, oh, this is going to skew in a certain direction. And we couldn’t have been more wrong. If you look at the demographic studies of the percentage of those over 60 that have iPhones, you start to realize that, again, these are our own filters and what are our blind spots? What opportunities are advisors missing because they’re projecting their own values or their own blind spots onto others?

I think it’s pretty significant. And as I mentioned, I think that really impacts an advisor’s ability to grow, both in how they’re helping their current clients as well as growing their practices and including additional families. And ultimately, that impacts their enterprise value or lack thereof.

Hannah: We talk a lot about change and how fast things are changing. We have to always be challenging those assumptions.

Larry: Very true, because at least in our opinion and our experience, if you’re not challenging them, if we’re not challenging them together, someone else is going to and that’s how you’re going to lose your business. Because if you’re not innovating, somebody else will. And I think having that, we call it healthy paranoia, of are we doing everything we can, are we challenging assumptions? Are we trying new things?

One of our newest advisors to join us has a great business. He was part of a regional RIA and the latest technology that was rolled out at his firm in the 12 months prior to him joining AdvicePeriod was Excel. They had to finally decided to move off of Lotus Notes and take the plunge into Microsoft Excel. And it’s just indicative of the outdated technology and a lot of advisors and advisory firms focusing on things that don’t matter.

I’m sure that firm spent an awful lot of time thinking about investment management and how they could beat the market. Sure, making some good decisions, but probably a lot of bad decisions, and ultimately neglecting the business, and advisors and their clients need better than that, deserve better than that.

Hannah: It just makes my skin crawl.

Larry: Yeah. I didn’t know Lotus Notes was still out there, but apparently it is.

Hannah: Looking across the industry and across the profession, what are the other assumptions that you see being challenged right now? Like where do you expect to see our industry grow and develop in the next 10 years?

Larry: I think thematically, and 10 years is a great timeframe to think about it because it’s so hard to imagine a world 10 years from now because of the rapid pace of change that we’ve experienced in the past 10 years. And just think about all the things that have happened in the past decade and try to push that forward at even a steeper trajectory. So we believe that thematically, technology automation, you may think of that as a artificial intelligence or machine learning, is going to do things that the vast majority of advisors today just can’t possibly fathom.

We hear from advisors all the time that say, “Yeah, technology is great, but it can never do what I do. I’m an advisor.” And I try to caution advisors from putting up those barriers. Don’t underestimate change. Don’t underestimate technology. Because I think every time we’ve done that, we’ve been wrong. Maybe it happens a little bit later than we think, maybe it’s a little bit sooner, but change is not polite. Change is not just going to give you a heads up and says, “Hey listen, Hannah. In about a year, if you don’t make this change to your business, I’m going to disrupt you and it’s going to be a big problem for you.”

Change kind of smacks you in the face sometimes and I think a lot of advisors are in the market for a rude awakening when that happens. When they start to think technology can’t automate financial planning, technology can’t automate estate planning, technology can’t do what I do, I think they’re going to lose that bet.

Hannah: It’s so interesting. Especially talking a lot to new planners who are just starting their career into financial planning, how do new planers kind of position themselves in this changing world?

Larry: Well, I think in some respects, new advisors are the best suited to drive the change forward and that’s why I think they have this amazing opportunity and why there’s probably never been a better time to be a financial planner than right now. So many firms, ourselves included, you can become beholden to the way you’ve always done things. You become a victim of your own success.

And that’s why for us, it was such a blessing to start from scratch five years ago where we had no systems. We had no technology or the way things had always been done. We also had no clients. So we had to build and find them, but that was a great benefit to us. We didn’t have to change a CRM system that we had used for 20 years. We didn’t have to adopt a policy or change a policy that had been in place for a decade.

So I think advisors that are starting out, it’s a blessing and a curse. Obviously the curse is you don’t have the resources, you’re focused on building your practice, but we’re really inspired and encouraged when we talk to advisors all over the country who have bought into this notion that clients deserve better, that there’s a way to focus on what really matters, that there are tools and opportunities that exist today that didn’t exist previously.

And I think if a new advisor today goes in with an open and curious mindset, they’re going to find opportunities and ways to help their clients and build their practice that is going to just supercharge their business and allow them to build great practices. And then their challenge will be, can they turn that into a real business? Something that has enterprise value more than just a solo practice.

Hannah: And let’s talk about that. When you say turn it into a business that has enterprise value, what specifically do you mean?

Larry: We’re fortunate enough to talk with, every year, hundreds, thousand advisors across the country. And when it comes to enterprise value, there are two types of folks we talk to. There are those that have never tried to sell their practice and sell their business, and those folks typically have an inflated sense of what their business is worth. They know someone who sold their business for X times revenue or Y times earnings, and they think their business is worth that too.

Then we talk to other folks who have actually tried to sell their business and they’re typically a little bit more reasonable. So it can be a hard thing for advisors to get a grasp of, what is my business worth, if anything, and then how do I increase it? And what we’ve seen is a couple of missed opportunities, that the biggest missed opportunity is that a lot of advisors don’t have real businesses. They have lifestyle companies. They’ve set up a lifestyle business, they’ll work with their clients, do what they’re passionate about, but they are the key person.

The business wouldn’t exist if not for them. They’ve not built out the infrastructure to handle operations. Now, there’s no scale that’s associated with it and as a result, their business plateaus. The business grows to the size that one financial advisor can handle and then that’s it. And who’s going to buy that business? I wouldn’t pay very much for that. We’re not in the market of buying businesses, but that’s not an enterprise, that’s a solo practice.

And there’s nothing wrong with that at all. I know tons of great advisors where that’s their business and they love it and their clients are greatly helped by them, but when it comes time to sell the business, it’s just not going to be worth very much. And so I think the opportunity that they have is to build a real business, build something that is larger than one person. Either build it yourself or join another company, join a company where they have that infrastructure.

Advisors who have their own practices, when they join AdvicePeriod or the join another business, their practice automatically becomes worth two to three times what it is on their own because they have the infrastructure. At least in our case, our advisors keep owning 100 percent of their business so they get to keep all of that upside. So I think that’s the opportunity for advisors, is build a real company, a real enterprise. It’s not easy, but I think that’s the opportunity.

Hannah: I remember when I first started working for a woman and realizing that it is a business, but it wasn’t that enterprise value that you’re talking about. For the people who are working at firms right now, what are signs or indicators that they’re not working inside, I don’t want to say a business business, but more of that lifestyle practice?

Larry: I think, and this is hard for a lot of advisors to hear, it’s just my opinion, people can disagree with it, but I firmly believe that many, many great advisors are horrible business people.

Hannah: Yep.

Larry: That’s just not their passion. Their passion is helping people. I think some of the best advisors get into this business because they truly like helping people and they’re able to live that passion by being a financial advisor. And I think that’s a great calling. But the fact of the matter is they’re not great business people. They’re not thinking about the culture of their business. They’re not thinking about the operational infrastructure. They’re not thinking about, how do I scale this business?

You see it in everything from what a company is called. How many wealth management firms are named after the last name of the founder or the last names of the founder? Again, I know plenty of good firms that are named that way, but that firm is about that person. It’s not an enterprise, oftentimes. Is there someone that runs the business who isn’t a financial advisor? Is there that chief operating officer or that president of the firm who certainly knows enough about financial advisory to be dangerous, but whose primary focus isn’t taking care of clients, it’s taking care of the business and the teammates and the employees that work there.

Those would be, I think, some high level indicators as to whether or not you’re working for a lifestyle business or a true company that would grow beyond just the founder. And I think that’s the ultimate test. If that founder got hit by that bus that’s out there circling the streets, looking for all of us, if that founder went away, is there still a business? And if the answer’s yes, then you’ve made it. You’ve crossed that threshold into an enterprise.

Look, every business has key people. I don’t want anything to happen to me or one of my partners, but I think if it did, the business would carry on, and I think that’s a good hurdle to get over for growing businesses.

Hannah: And so how do you identify yourself? Do you view yourself as that business owner or the financial planner?

Larry: I’m still trying to find out what I’m good at. I’m hoping I’ll get there eventually. I love helping my fairly limited client base. Largely, my friends, the folks I’ve met through business, but I’m much more passionate about helping my team be successful. I think I got into this business because I enjoyed helping people and I do enjoy helping my clients.

But I get much more enthusiastic seeing my teammates, my partners, our interns grow and accomplish all the things that they want to in their careers. That gives me an awful lot of fulfillment and that’s what gets me really fired up. And if I can help in some small way, they’ll put our team and our partners together in a position where they can be successful and impact more people’s lives. That makes me really happy.

Hannah: So speaking of helping people, you just came out with a book called, It’s That Simple: How to Build a Professional Service Firm of the Future. What motivated you to write this book?

Larry: Fair question. I think it was really two things. Personally, I was curious about the challenge. Would I be able to stick with a process that was going to take a year or more? Would I be able to come up with enough things that at least I thought were interesting enough to share with other people? But I just enjoyed the challenge of it to see if I could do it. And then I guess professionally but also overlaps with personal, like I said, I like to help folks. And if there’s some things that we’re doing at AdvicePeriod that can help other financial advisors or other professional service providers, lawyers, doctors, accountants, attorneys, again, that would make me really happy.

I’m really enthusiastic about what we’re doing at AdvicePeriod, not because we have it all figured out by any means, we’re still learning every day, but I’m really excited about it. And again, I love the idea of being able to help others. And if there’s some good nuggets in that book, which I certainly think there are, that helps someone, it helps a professional service provider take better care of their clients and their customers, then that would make me really happy.

Hannah: And so looking at kind of that book and kind of what’s in it, and for anybody listening, you can go to Amazon and find it or you can go to the show notes in there and the link is in the show notes for the book as well. But you talk about the importance of attracting great clients and how to do it. Can you talk a little bit more about … I often hear people talk about you need to attract the right clients. And so I guess how do you know who the right clients are and how do you attract them?

Larry: In my personal experience, our experience with AdvicePeriod, it’s one of the most difficult things to stay disciplined enough to say no to an existing client or to say no to a prospective client if they’re not right fit for you. It’s so difficult, especially as I know a lot of your audience is, they’re building a business. Every new dollar of revenue will be put to good use, but to your point, you want the right clients, not there right now clients.

As difficult as that can be, over the intermediate term, over the long term, that’s really going to separate a great business from an okay business. And so if your question is, how do you identify what makes a good client or a great client? A great client is someone that you can help and is someone that values your services. Honestly, it’s not more complicated than that. Someone that you can help means that they fit what services you offer.

For us, that’s going to be someone that values planning, someone that is interested and open to advice and to being coached. It’s not going to be someone that wants us to pick the hottest stock or to trade crypto. That’s not what we do. And so someone who’s interested in us doing that for them, no matter what they’re going to pay us, isn’t gonna be a great client because that’s just not what we do.

And then the other side of that equation is someone that values what we do. So if someone’s only willing to pay us a dollar for our services, we don’t think that’s fair. And so we value one of the best pieces of advice I got from one of my many mentors I’ve had, Andy Putterman, said, “Listen, when you present your bill to your client, do it with a lot of pride. Provide that bill promptly, provide it accurately, and expect the client to pay it. Be proud of what you’re doing. And if you’re not, if you don’t value your services, your clients certainly aren’t.”

And so if your clients don’t value your services, if they don’t appreciate you either because they treat you or your team poorly, that’s a situation you need to fix or it’s going to sink your business very, very quickly. So find clients that you can help and that value and appreciate what you’re doing for them.

Hannah: There’s a lot of buzz around this idea of niche marketing. What are your thoughts on that?

Larry: Our approach and something I believe in personally is that the more clear you are on who you want to work with, the easier it’s going to be for those clients to find you. And so when you think of marketing or PR, tell the world what you believe in and like-minded clients, like-minded advisors will find you. So if you believe in the power of passive investing, write a lot on passive investing, blog on it, speak on it. Put that out there in the world, and people who share your beliefs will find you.

It’s much easier to sign up a client who is already looking for what you provide than trying to convince a client or a prospective client who isn’t looking for what you have, that what you have is what they really want. I’d rather talk to folks that are already looking for a planning first technology enabled advisor than try to convince someone who’s at a big wire house that what their broker is doing for them is costing them money and is of no value. I’d like to be able to do that. It’s just really, really difficult.

So if you have that niche, if you have a target that you want to go after, yeah, define it, put that out there in the world, be known for something, and it’s gonna make it a lot easier for you to find clients that are interested in what you’re doing.

Hannah: Looking at your book and kind of what you were talking about, you talk about the critical impact of a shared mission.

Larry: Yep.

Hannah: Can you talk about that more? Because I feel like it does overlap with what you’re talking about with clients and attracting the right clients.

Larry: No question. What we distinguish when we’re looking to attract a teammates, but I think to your point, it definitely applies to clients as well, we want to attract missionaries, not mercenaries. So a missionary to us is someone who believes in our mission, who believes in our vision for the future, who is working with us for something more than a paycheck, but they’re passionate about what we’re doing, about the lives that were impacting, the business that we’re building, and our company mission of reinventing wealth management.

I think if you asked most anyone on the AdvicePeriod team from California to Atlanta to Rhode Island to anywhere in Texas, in between, they’d be able to tell you that our mission is reinventing wealth management. Versus a mercenary, a mercenary is working because you’re paying them the most. They’re interested in a signing bonus, they’re interested in the title, they’re interested in what’s in it for them. And listen, we’re all a for-profit business. We need to pay our folks fairly, but ultimately, we think our clients will be best served if we have a team full of missionaries who aren’t looking at the clock as to when they should get out of the office, but they’re focused on getting the job done and they don’t stop until it’s done.

And so we attract those missionaries, or we try to attract those missionaries, again, by telling the world what we believe in, by writing a lot, by being very open and transparent with everything that we’re doing in the business. We think that attracts and retains a team of missionaries and we think ultimately that’s going to benefit our clients and our business.

Hannah: Hearing you say this, and I’m just connecting with all of these younger planners and new planners that I talk with who are so passionate about financial planning, and it’s just so cool to be like, these people who are so passionate, there are passionate firms that you want to get paired with. And it’s about finding that right fit, especially for new planners.

Larry: Couldn’t agree more. Life’s too short to not love what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. Again, I think especially in our industry, which right now is called wealth management, but I think over those next 10 years that we were talking about earlier, I think over the next 10 years, our services will expand to be not just investments and planning, but it’ll expand to include legal services, tax services, all aspects of a client’s financial lives where one advisor or one advisory firm will be able to answer and address all of those clients needs.

Yeah. Those people are passionate about helping their clients and making their lives more simple. And it’s been a lot of fun over the past couple of years to talk with these thousands of advisors, just like you do, across the country who have that same passion and that desire to do things even better than they’re currently being done. I think that’s what’s gonna make a lot of fun.

Hannah: For new planners who are entering the financial planning profession right now, what is your advice to them?

Larry: I think now’s a great time to be entering the business. I think now’s a great time to be a growing a business. I think embrace the change, be open and curious, be looking to do things differently. And like you were saying about finding other advisors out there who believe what you believe, you don’t need to go it alone. I think you can find the right combination where you have all of the benefits and financial and other flexibility of owning your own business, but do it inside of a construct where you can learn from other folks.

Again, I think there’s a great community of advisors out there. Find it. Find those advisors who you can learn from, who you can challenge, and who can challenge you. They’re out there and through communities like yours and the FPA, AdvicePeriod, we’re trying to do in our own way as well. I think you can find other like-minded advisors out there and you can do a lot more together than I think we could do apart. And I think that’s the opportunity for the broader independent advisor community and financial planning community, is we’re a very fragmented market right now.

The more we come together and work together, the more we’ll be able to change the industry for the better and ultimately, that benefits clients, it’s going to benefit us, and we can really change. I think we can change the entire country’s financial trajectory if the financial planning community comes together, works together, and focuses on what’s best for clients.