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Financial Advisor Success

Author: Michael Kitces

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The Financial Advisor Success podcast brings you real success stories and insights from the most successful financial advisors, and leading industry consultants, about how to take your advisory business to the next level. Get a glimpse of what it's like behind the scenes building a successful advisory business, and how entrepreneurial advisors navigate the inevitable highs, and lows, of growing a firm. Whether you're a new financial advisor trying to get started on the right foot, or an experienced advisor who's hit a wall, we're here to give you the insights and inspiration you need to break through and reach the level of success you want to achieve. Subscribe to the show, and get even more at the leading industry blog Nerd’s Eye View at
227 Episodes
Leighann Miko is the founder of Equalis Financial, a fully virtual advisory firm that offers ongoing planning services for 45 creatives within the LGBTQ community. Leighann has been able to realize financial freedom in her own life by serving a unique community that she is also a part of and that often face financial insecurity.  In this episode, Leighann shares her story about how her family’s money insecurities growing up led her to a career path in financial planning and how a failed succession plan was the catalyst for her starting her own firm to serve the LGBTQ community. She also discusses the benefits of being part of the community that you serve, why she hired a copywriter to convey her value to prospective clients, and how she adapted Kinder’s three famous questions for the LGBTQ community. For show notes and more visit:
Paul Saganey is the President and Founder of Integrated Partners, a hybrid RIA based out of Waltham, MA, that manages over $10 billion for 18,000 affluent clients. Paul has managed to generate hyper growth for his firm through strategic alliances with accountants who act as a resource for CPA firms to build out their financial services divisions. In this episode, Paul details how he built his advisory firm through a robust referral program with CPAs, including the terms of engagement and how they structured client interactions. He also shares why he made the decision to partner with CPAs in particular, and how that partnership has helped him scale and grow to manage fewer clients who are more affluent. For show notes and more visit:
Matt Gulbransen is the President of Pine Grove Financial Group, an RIA based in Minnesota that manages over $550 million for 325 families. Despite the widely held belief that direct mail and educational seminars no longer work, Matt has continued to see positive marketing results from both over the past decade. In this episode, Matt shares how he uses in-person seminar events geared toward educating people about financial planning and then convincing them to work with him to navigate the many life transitions on the way to retirement. We also talk about how Pine Grove has pivoted from in-person seminars to webinars due to the pandemic, as well as how that has affected their overall conversions. For show notes and more visit:
Amy Mullen is the President of Money Quotient, a company that has developed tools and training to help advisors have more meaningful conversations with their clients. Money Quotient’s offering is unique in that they not only give advisors the tools to help clients achieve their goals, but they also help clients get clarity around what is most important to them so they can create goals they’re motivated to hit—and so the advisor becomes a partner in achieving those goals. In this episode, we talk about how Money Quotient helps advisors guide their clients to gain self-awareness around their values and how that realization then helps make financial decisions easier for the client. Amy also shares the system that makes Money Quotient so unique and how this system helps advisors leverage the resulting relationship with their clients to create a fully developed client experience. For show notes and more visit:
Marianela Collado is the CEO and majority shareholder of Tobias Financial Advisors, an independent RIA based in Florida that manages over $500 million in AUM for 257 clients. Marianela navigated an accelerated succession plan laid out by the founder of Tobias Financial, and has successfully grown the firm from a one-person operation to a staff of sixteen with an eye towards a subsequent succession plan. Listen in as Marianela explains why she decided to keep the name Tobias Financial Advisors and how she has created such a great client experience that many clients are eager to refer others to the firm. She also shares how they have built a diverse team of advisors and a support staff that has earned them industry recognition, as well as why a succession plan was essential to making sure the client transition was a smooth and positive experience. For show notes and more visit:
Jonathan Kuttin is the founder of Kuttin Wealth Management, a hybrid RIA based out of Long Island, New York that manages over $3 billion dollars for 5,500 clients. Kuttin Wealth has grown to the point where Jonathan made the decision to separate client-facing service from leadership and operations, which allows for employees to focus solely on what they’re truly good at—and has allowed the firm to grow even further. In this episode, Jonathan explains why he created three distinct roles within his firm and how this silo of roles has led to both superior results and better clarity around responsibilities within the firm. He also shares the hard lesson he learned about the importance of legal agreements, the five leadership areas he cultivates in every area of the firm, and why supporting employees to get what they want out of life is a cornerstone principle of his firm. For show notes and more visit:
Miye Wire is the founder of an eponymous hybrid RIA that manages $200 million dollars for 250 young professional families and has become the go-to benefits and equity compensation expert for Microsoft employees. Miye has built her firm around a robust referral engine from her niche, thanks in part to the memorable client events she hosts throughout the year that create a unique sense of community for her clients. In this episode, she shares how her events and community strategy have led to her firm being built upon referrals, as well as why she has taken a team approach in her firm to make sure that not only are client inquiries handled promptly, but advisors are able to create more work-life balance. Listen in to learn how Miye shifted away from worrying about whether she was fitting into a certain financial advisor type and embraced what makes her—and her firm—different. For show notes and more visit:
Shane Mason is the co-founder of Brooklyn FI, a fee-only RIA that was founded in 2018 in Brooklyn but that has since shifted to being fully virtual. Brooklyn FI was built in the style of a tech startup where their financial advice service offering is a product unto itself, and they currently serve 159 next-generation clients charging a fee of around $500 per month. Listen in as Shane explains why Brooklyn FI decided to launch into a niche of high-income sole proprietors before deciding to pivot to working with people who work in the tech industry, and how their new niche has resulted in nearly all of the firm’s new clients coming from referrals. Shane also shares how the pandemic pushed Brooklyn FI to be virtual, why they post their fees directly on their website, and how Shane’s 50/50 partnership with his co-founder has been the secret sauce to their rapid growth. For show notes and more visit:
Coventry Edwards-Pitt is the Chief Wealth Advisory Officer at Ballentine Partners, a wealth management firm that oversees nearly $8 billion in AUM for 230 ultra-wealthy families. Breaking down the math, that means each family that Ballentine serves has an average of $35 million of investable assets, making their wealth management practice highly unique—with a focus on the issues that reach far beyond this generation and the next. In this episode, Coventry shares how serving ultra-rich clients comes with challenges that many advisors will never manage, as well as what it really means to provide wealth management services to clients with millions in net worth. She also dives into parenting children in ultra-high net worth families and shares the common factors of well-grounded and well-rounded wealthy children. For show notes and more visit:
Maura Griffin is the founder of Blue Spark Financial, an independent RIA that oversees more than $150 million of assets for nearly 90 clients who are primarily single women making financial decisions on their own for the first time. Maura built her practice from scratch by charging high school parents a flat fee to help them with financial aid planning for their children, which she was then able to turn into established relationships that led to more comprehensive planning relationships. In this episode, Maura shares how having a financial reserve when she launched her firm was so crucial to give her not only peace of mind and confidence, but also the flexibility to build her business with intention—and without feeling pressured to take on work that she didn’t want. She will also dive into how she used a specific niche to help grow her firm, why she decided to pivot to focus on working with her current base of clients, and why she has made the intentional decision to structure her business as a lifestyle practice despite the naysayers. For show notes and more visit:
Sophia Bera is a past guest of the podcast, and originally wrote a guest post for Nerd’s Eye View as far back as 2013. If you missed her before, she is the founder of Gen Y Planning, an independent RIA that serves just under 100 young professionals—and that was also one of the first location-independent firms in the financial planning industry. Listen in as we catch up on how Gen Y Planning has shifted over the years, why net worth reporting is not at the heart of Gen Y’s planning process, and why their focus with clients is more on short-term goals versus long-term metrics. Sophia will also share how she created a work-life balance that allows her to spend more time doing what she loves, and how she was able to take four months away from the business on maternity leave without the business skipping a beat. For show notes and more visit:
Jason Zweig is a financial journalist who not only wrote one of the first books on behavioral finance neuroeconomics, but also writes “The Intelligent Investor” column for the Wall Street Journal. A senior writer for Money magazine and a guest columnist for Time magazine and, Jason has a truly unique perspective on the financial services industry, having covered it for nearly 25 years. Listen in as he shares his perspective on the financial services industry, including why the AUM model is outdated, how he views the evolution of the financial advice business, and why he sees the future of the industry as more curatorial. You’ll learn his take on where he believes new advisors should be focusing their energy for success and why it’s actually a good thing to admit when you don’t know the answer to a question. For show notes and more visit:
Shawn Tydlaska is the founder of Ballast Point Financial Planning, an independent RIA based in the San Francisco Bay Area that serves 117 high-income young professionals across the country, helping them turn income into wealth. Ballast Point is unique in that it uses a blended model of a minimum $5,000 retainer paid monthly, plus an additional fee of ten basis points above $2 million to adjust pricing upward for the most complex clients. In this episode, we talk about how Shawn structures his services and the foundation that forms the basis of his planning process with clients. Listen in to hear about the tracking system he put in place to not only show his worth to clients, but also to increase his own confidence in what he offers. You'll learn how he was able to build his firm so quickly in the five years since he started, what he says was key to his firm’s growth in the early days, and more. For show notes and more visit:
Olivia Summerhill is the founder of Summerhill Wealth, an independent RIA based near Seattle that exclusively works with ultra-high net worth women who are adjusting to life during—and after—divorce. Olivia is a great example of how many of us navigate through the industry, having gone from a large national firm to launching her own firm focusing on this very specialized niche. Not only does Olivia’s niche make her unique, but her fees and client base are also specialized: she charges $20,000 for an engagement and commits to working with no more than five active clients at a time. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, she provides financial advice and planning, and she holds the hands of clients as they navigate through many “firsts” after divorce, including buying a house and managing a budget. For show notes and more visit:
Dave Yeske is the co-founder of Yeske Buie, an independent RIA based out of San Francisco that oversees $740 million of assets under management for more than 300 affluent clients. Dave has successfully blended together academic financial planning research with the practice of financial planning to culminate in an evidence- and policy-based financial planning approach that sets clients up with the confidence to handle any number of future scenarios with ease. Listen in as Dave shares in detail how his firm applies evidence-based planning and how this approach helps to reduce client stress during market volatility. He will also discuss why it’s important to be ready to adapt to change instead of trying to predict the future, where his passion for academic research came from (and how he applies it to financial planning), and why he was motivated to create what may have been the very first financial planning client portal ever. For show notes and more visit:
Alex Hopkin is the founder of Simply Paraplanner, a job board and training portal for U.S.-based virtual paraplanners. Simply Paraplanner is not just a way for paraplanners and firms to connect, but the platform also supports the ongoing evolution of paraplanning from an entry-level support role into a dedicated career path. In this episode, Alex shares why she created Simply Paraplanner, what paraplanners really do in an advisory firm to make it more efficient, and the best way to divvy up tasks between a paraplanner and an advisor. She’ll also discuss how the internal process of creating a financial plan needs to change when a paraplanner is crafting the plan but a lead advisor is actually executing it, and how the technical demands of the paraplanner role have changed to the point where traditional certifications are no longer sufficient to be successful as a professional paraplanner. For show notes and more visit:
Kristin Harad is the founder of a marketing consulting firm that focuses on coaching solo advisors to reach the next level and outsource CMO services for RIAs and mid-size firms. In addition to working as a marketing consultant, Kristin also has her own advisory firm that she launched from scratch and grew to six figures in fee-only revenue in just three years. She now uses her experience and expertise to coach other advisors to scale in the same way. Listen in as Kristin shares how her journey through the consumer goods and financial industries set the stage for her advisory and consulting passions, how her interest in life coaching played a role in the launch of her own advisory, and how she was able to market in an extremely cost-efficient but effective way to her niche client. You’ll learn how she has been able to have one of her best years in business despite the global circumstances, what challenges she faced when uprooting her family and moving to Australia, and more. For show notes and more visit:
Sten Morgan is the founder of Legacy Investment Planning, a hybrid advisory firm near Nashville that generates more than $2 million in revenue per year from 220 affluent clients. Sten is one of the most accomplished young advisors in the country and has built his success by focusing on putting himself—and his advice—at the forefront of his product offering. Listen in as Sten shares how he built his advisory firm by using a philosophy that embraces “the advisor is the product,” and why he charges a full-rate financial planning fee with a monthly retainer in the hundreds or thousands of dollars—and then discounts his AUM fees for those who subsequently implement with him. He’ll also dive into how he quantifies the economic benefits his advice will bring to get clients comfortable with his fees, the mindset changes that were critical for him to turn a struggling advisory into a successful one, and why it’s best to start not with your why but with your who. For show notes and more visit:
Forrest Baumhover is a financial advisor and partner with Lawrence Financial Planning, an independent RIA based in Tampa that oversees more than $100 million of assets under management for 70 affluent clients. Forrest’s path to partnership as a financial advisor was a unique journey from the military to his own firm to merging with a larger firm—and quickly becoming a partner of that firm. Forrest joins me today to share how he built his advisory from the ground up—starting before he even left the military—and the challenges he faced along the way. He’ll also discuss the groundwork he put in place before retiring from the military so he could hit the ground running, why he made the decision to merge his firm with another larger firm, and what the process was like becoming a full partner at the table with Lawrence Financial Planning. For show notes and more visit:
Debbie Freeman is a partner with Peak Financial Advisors, an independent RIA out of Denver, Colorado that oversees $175 million of assets under management for 105 families. Peak Financial is unique in that they not only do tax planning, but also in-house tax preparation as a value-add service for their clients. Listen in as Debbie explains why her firm views tax preparation as an essential component to service and retain their client base, as well as how they actually manage operating a tax preparation business within their firm. You’ll learn how maternity leave gave her and her firm a newfound appreciation for each other—eventually leading her to become an owner—and how a personal tragedy changed how she views not only life, but her career as well. For show notes and more visit:
Comments (2)

Angie Furubotton LaRosee

1:24 around here he mentioned if an advisor had a "no quit" mindset, it takes several years but you'll come out just great on the other end. Good words to hear as I enter year 2. Thanks for the reminder.

Oct 11th

Willert Morris

another excellent interview.

Dec 12th
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