This week we sit down with Matt Fizell who is currently working with a CFP® in Middleton, Wisconsin. Matt has been sitting in on meetings, helping with planning work – and more!

Matt has been graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years and has already had an eventful career. He started out at Thrivent Financial, and is now working with a fee-only financial planning firm.

Together, we walk through Matt’s career decisions, and how he sees his path as a financial planner unfolding.

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You’re empowering people to enjoy their life, to go do the things that they want to do. That’s the most exciting part.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • What a day in the life of a young financial planner looks like.
  • Different options that young planners have.
  • How working with an established CFP® can look.

 

Thrivent Financial

XY Planning Network

ACP

NAPFA

FPA

Trinity Financial Planning

Money Languages

 

Show Transcript

Ep73 Transcript


Charlie:                 You’re listening to You’re a Financial Planner; Now What? The podcast to help you fast track your career by bringing you meaningful conversations on topics that influence new financial planners, their careers and the lives of their clients.

Hannah:               With Thanksgiving this week I want to say how grateful we are for our listeners and the stories they share with us personally and online in the FPA Activate Facebook group. Our listeners are truly special and we’re going to do great things together. Today’s episode we have Matt Fizell with us. Matt has two years into the business and has a passion for financial planning. In this interview, Matt walks through what his days look like both when he was responsible for bringing new clients to the firm and his new role as an associate planner at an RIA. Matt is a rising star and we’re grateful to have him on the show. Thanks for joining us Matt.

Matt:                     Thanks for having me Hannah.

Hannah:               So, we’re talking about a day in the life of. When you first graduated college, I think first of all what were your expectations as you graduated school as to what your job would look like?

Matt:                     As we spoke previously I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in financial planning and at first I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go into the industry and then a friend of mine he recommended Thrivent Financial. It’s a Christian focused financial services company and what I was sold or what I was told about what my role would be there are Thrivent was really a holistic financial planning position, where you’d go through a very similar process of the CFP where you sit down and do the deep dive into data gather, understanding goals, making recommendations, taking action on those recommendations and having a relationship with that client going forward. That was really what my expectation was going into that job but it turned out to be very different.

Hannah:               On this theme of a day in the life of, what did that job look like?

Matt:                     For those of you out there who are looking for your first role and don’t really know the difference between a broker dealer or true financial planning, the broker dealers generally have a you have to go get it, you have to go find your business mentality. So, a lot of what my day to day was, was doing prospecting whether it was making phone calls or attending networking events, finding groups to get integrated into fine potential business and in the eyes of a broker dealer the bigger bank account numbers the better. It was a lot of prospecting you know, when I did have meetings they were very similar to what I’m doing now, it’s just when it came time to making recommendations the broker dealer certainly had their biases. I’d say it’s a lot like what I’m doing now with the Fee-Only firm, but you had to go get it and at the end of the day all the broker dealer really cared about was your numbers.

Hannah:               Let’s talk about … when you say prospecting, can you walk me through a day what that look like.

Matt:                     Every day is a little different and I think most financial planners can resonate with that but a lot of it was finding time in between meetings. If I had a meeting at 9:00 a.m. to start the day and I got over at 10:30, I was expected to go out to get lunch with a friend of mine or someone in my network or go attend this networking event or go attend this charitable function or whatever it was, just getting your name out there and hoping that business would come of it. Then if you had other meetings, mix them throughout the day. You just kind of do that back and forth go, go, go mentality all the time.

Hannah:               Were you just a rep for Thrivent or you had to find all of your new clients or were you working under somebody who already had a book of clients?

Matt:                     There was a little bit of a mix there. Again I think it was one of those things where they really misrepresented what I was getting myself into, where initially I was supposed to be working with another advisor helping him with his clients, slowly building my own book and getting some clients from old reps who just didn’t pan out and it really didn’t turn out to be much of getting a built book of business or working with an advisor. They just said, oh well we’re changing how we do things now go find all your clients so it was really building it all from scratch. There were a few small accounts that I took over but nothing substantial.

Hannah:               Were you successful in finding clients?

Matt:                     Yeah, I mean there were good days and bad days certainly. I think what I really struggled with was their agenda and what I mean by that is when we look at things like insurance and investments, there’s the right and the wrong way to do things and a lot of my natural market is young professionals. I’m only 24 so right now at that age bracket of getting out of college getting your first job really just getting the foundation set, and I think when I look back and reflect on that experience was what I wanted this shop to be, which was a holistic financial planning job.

                                I’m really excited to do that for young people but it didn’t necessarily fit the broker dealers agenda. I did have success in finding clients but I’m sure they would have rather had me working with more wealthy individuals.

Hannah:               When you went out and found these clients, did you need to sell them like the Thrivent Life Insurance and the mutual funds and everything like that or did you have more of a free range?

Matt:                     It was certainly tied to their products. The unique thing about Thrivent like I mentioned is they are a Christian focused company so in order to own a Thrivent Life Insurance Policy you have to be a Christian to receive that contract and that’s due to their tax structure. It’s actually a really cool concept the way that they can give back to the community but it did limit my market and certainly there was the incentive I suppose to sell the Thrivent policy versus something from like MetLife. We did have access to other products but certainly they wanted us to push the Thrivent product.

Hannah:               I think that’s a really interesting point because some firms really push their own products and there’s other broker dealers who don’t have any proprietary products.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Hannah:               So, a lot of it is really knowing more what’s around you but at the same time how are you supposed to know when you’re coming out of college? It’s such a hard landscape navigate.

Matt:                     Yeah, exactly and I think yeah I’ll definitely accept some of the responsibility in not doing a complete thorough analysis of what I was getting myself into but then again, there was some change in leadership right after I had started there so maybe what I signed up for would have been fine underneath that managing partner but he departed to a different region shortly after I started on there. There were certainly some moving pieces that could’ve influenced my experience not being as great as it could have been but at the end of the day some of the people I’m still in touch with, it’s very much about the Thrivent product and doing things their way.

Hannah:               One thing I will say with my experience in the broker dealer and kind of what you’re hinting at and I don’t really hear a lot of people talking about but this idea that well I don’t know what they called them when you were there but the idea of orphan clients, or you come on and we will give you all these other clients that there’s turnover with other reps or whatever and you’ll get them. That usually isn’t a very good way to build a business.

Matt:                     No, not at all and what’s really funny about this firm I’m working at now is if the CFP I’m working with doesn’t want to work with that client, he just won’t meet with them and it’s very opposite thinking and yes they did call them orphans. It’s such a horrible term that the industry has come up with but you’re strained to I guess continue these relationships with people that you didn’t start the relationship with and you have no idea what the expectations were of that relationship, why some of these recommendations were made and ultimately you’re just kind of trying to patch together their financial plan and that’s very much what the industry should not be.

Hannah:               Again like we say all the time on the podcasts, it’s the difference between the industry and the profession.

Matt:                     Yes.

Hannah:               You’re at Thrivent, how long were you there for?

Matt:                     I was there for about 18 months and there were some other opportunities that started to pop up so whether it was giving guests lectures at the University of Wisconsin or doing some workshops for less financially literate people, that I really wanted to pursue because that’s the background I came from. I came from a single parent household that never had a financial adviser and I want to help those people because those are the people that I think I can help the best and need our help the most. When I got to about month 12 or month 14 I guess at Thrivent, I really started to lose passion for what I was doing simply because I couldn’t help the people I was passionate about.

Hannah:               That’s so interesting. What did you do when you realized that you were losing passion for, I don’t want to say your career but it’s kind of what it sounds like.

Matt:                     Yeah, I mean in a sense.

Hannah:               What did you what did you do at that point?

Matt:                     I really just started to reevaluate what I wanted in a job and there were certainly days where I thought about just tossing in the towel on financial planning but I did my research, I started looking up people who had started their own firm, the guy I’m working for now in Middleton his name is John, I saw that he used to work at Northwestern Mutual. I found him on LinkedIn and he had started his own financial planning firm so naturally I just reached out to him I said, “Hey John,” this is all a LinkedIn message I said, “John I’m working at Thrivent, I don’t really enjoy what I’m doing anymore and it’s becoming ever more known to me that I need to get out of here and I would just want to pick your brain and see what ups and downs you went through in starting your own business.”

                                Ultimately that cup of coffee that we had led to this job I have now so I really just started researching more about the industry. I heard about the XY planning network, I started hearing more about groups like FPA, NAPFA, ACP and I really just was almost reborn in a sense on financial planning that there’s this whole other world out there that Thrivent is not a part of at all, and that’s the world that I wanted to be in was this Fee-Only profession that you and I are a part of now.

Hannah:               I think of and I don’t know if I’ve said this on the podcast but it’s something I’ve been saying a lot lately. We talk about elder abuse like insanely high statistics on how many elderly are abused every year or how many total are abused whether that’s financial emotionally or anything like that but the number one commonality factor with all of that is isolation. I think that’s exactly what happens with new planners and what you’re talking about. You start with your first job and you just get indoctrinated in their way of thinking and the best way out is to start talking to other people.

Matt:                     Yeah, absolutely and if I weren’t to have that conversation with John, I don’t know what I would be today. I don’t know if I would have stuck with the industry or not but it was really refreshing to hear that he had the same epiphany I had so I could you know, we had that connection and he could help talk me through it and understand that I’m not wrong for thinking this way. That he went through the same thing I went through and then eventually working with him, just seeing that ultimately the process isn’t that different from what it was at Thrivent. It’s just … it’s more about the people here it’s not about the numbers and that’s why I got into financial planning was for the people.

                                You can make a great living don’t get me wrong but it’s really just to helping people understand that they can achieve what they want to achieve and enjoy life while trying to achieve those goals.

Hannah:               What does your day to day look like right now?

Matt:                     I’ll tell you what Hannah, it’s a lot different than Thrivent. Thankfully right now I don’t have to do any prospecting if I do eventually I want to start my own business. I know I’ll have to go down that road again but for me the day to day is a little bit different depending on the type of I guess the time of the year that we’re in. When I first came on board with John I was doing a lot of just administrative tasks, getting familiar with their CRM, with their data storage, I did help clean up some of their systems that they just didn’t have time to clean up. I really do enjoy tinkering with business systems and organizational structure so I do some of that when we’re not super bogged down with planning work.

                                In terms of planning work, I really just started out with preparing the back end stuff so getting client notes from previous meetings, reading those, making sure that we had the right recommendations in place based on the conversations we had with the client and as a team, doing some work within MoneyGuidePro, updating the investment accounts, all the fund planner stuff that you and I get to do every day. I also have been taking part in the meetings so the first two meetings I was in I just wanted to get a feel for John’s system. Everyone runs their meetings in a different way but it was really just natural for me to start contributing in those conversations especially since I still have my life and health insurance registration here in Wisconsin and John doesn’t.

                                That immediately gave me some value to add in those meetings and just have conversations with how we do the insurance review, how we come up with these numbers, here’s what you should be looking out for when you go to apply for these insurances. I’ve even started running some meetings on my own so it’s been really nice just to integrate into a system and provide value for the planner I’m working for.

Hannah:               There’s so many questions I have for you. When you’re talking about planning work, I think there’s a lot of confusion around what is financial advice versus what is financial planning. Can I have you speak to that for just a minute especially comparing your Thrivent experience with where you’re at right now.

Matt:                     Yeah, I guess you want to fill me in on your definitions first so I can better answer the question.

Hannah:               I’m not sure I have the best definitions either. I think this is one of the problems with where we’re at. Maybe a better way of saying this, one of the things you had mentioned a little bit earlier was that you were doing a lot of the work with clients when you actually had a lot of the same work with clients when you had them at Thrivent. Would it be possible to do full financial planning at a place like Thrivent?

Matt:                     Yes, but no at the same time and the reason I say no at the same time and I think I understand where you’re driving at with this question now is, financial planning in my opinion is surely doing it for the best interest of the client all the time. When that comes to a topic like insurance, I’m just going to use that simply because I am pretty familiar with it and I worked for an insurance company for a while, planning for insurance isn’t overly difficult. It’s not rocket science you can find a calculator out on the Internet that tells you how much insurance you need, for how long you need it and MoneyGuidePro will help with something like that as well.

                                But the financial planning is helping that client understand why this is a part of their plan not what is becoming a part of their plan and I guess when you say financial advice, right, financial advice is a pretty loose term where yes this could apply, this does apply to your situation but we’re not exactly going to say why it’s important to your plan. Does that make sense, am I going down the right path here?

Hannah:               Yeah, I think so and I think especially as we kind of dive into of the what is financial planning, I was doing a presentation recently for students and it was, we lead with listening when we’re doing planning. The client is part of that process of what’s best for their life.

Matt:                     Yeah absolutely, and I think it really goes down to the deeper level of it is about the people. It’s about developing a relationship because in order to plan effectively you have to have a long term relationship with these people whereas financial advice you know, that could be as simple as saying, “Oh I think you should buy this house.” In a quick conversation. You get those questions all the time like, what are some hot investment tips? Like you could easily give the financial advice there but that’s not really planning because we don’t know enough about the situation to make a plan. Does that make sense?

Hannah:               Absolutely. My favorite question I got asked one time when I worked as a broker dealer was, “Should I buy Coca-Cola stock or Pepsi stock?” Like, I don’t know.

Matt:                     Well and it’s funny we get these people all the time in our meetings that you know, it always comes up in the investment review and John the planner I’m working for, he always makes the point that stocks for example are traded on an exchange so in order to buy something, someone has to be selling it so one of you is going to be wrong. Either one of you is going to buy it and it goes down, or you could sell it and it goes up. It’s an exchange you’re not buying something off the shelf and hoping to sell it later. Does that make sense?

Hannah:               Absolutely but it’s so funny with that example because I’m like, immediately we could just depending on the time frame we just change time frames and both people can be right.

Matt:                     Yeah.

Hannah:               You’re sitting in our meetings already with clients and you are … how many years are you out of school?

Matt:                     I graduated in December of 2015 so I’m coming up on my two year mark.

Hannah:               On your two year mark and you’re already sitting in with meetings of clients. Let’s talk about … One of the things I hear a lot with college students is how do we have confidence working with people who tend to be older than us and have more money than us? In the meetings, how do you go about that or how you kind of tackle that problem?

Matt:                     I think in this particular situation with John, he is a veteran planner and he’s had relationship with these people for quite some time so for me it’s a lot easier to add bits and pieces of things I’m really comfortable talking about with these clients and I have John sitting there to back me up but outside of that situation, I think if you were to just pop me into a meeting tomorrow by myself with some random person, I think the key to getting older people to understand that you know what you’re talking about is just by listening. Ultimately if you can give people the answer that they’re looking for or point them in the right direction, that’s huge and that’s really all they’re looking for.

                                I think one of the biggest things I learned when I was in college, I did do some sales for a company here in Madison it wasn’t financial related but really just listening to the client and if you don’t know the answer just tell them. I don’t know one hundred percent if this is the correct answer. Here’s what I think but let me follow up with you after this meeting and I have some time to do some research. I think just being vulnerable and not trying to act like you know everything goes a long way with people and ultimately it helps build that trust regardless of if they’re 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.

Hannah:               I love that you don’t have to have all the answers you need just to be able to know where to go find the answer is.

Matt:                     Absolutely, I like to … anyone who’s in college right now listening to this it’s much like an exam. The CFP exam obviously there’s a lot of material on that, but it’s not like I could ask you, someone who’s been doing this for quite some time a really complicated question on the CFP you should get it right. But you’re not always going to get it right and I think there’s just so much information out there especially when you take into account outside media influences and what someone’s saying on their Facebook.

                                There’s all these things that you need to know all the time and just being able to admit that you don’t know everything really helps build trust. I think for the CFP sorry I kind of went off on the tangent there but at the CFP we can memorize all of that for the exam but after the exam, we might not use some of that information for years depending on the type of client that you’re working with. It’s a complicated topic when you need to admit you need to do some research just go do your research and move on.

Hannah:               When you were talking with your current boss in the interview process, what were indications in the interview that this was going to be a good fit or a place where you could really do real financial planning?

Matt:                     I think what really helped me understand that John would be a good person for me to work with, one just his track record. He’s been doing this for quite some time so I knew he must be doing well otherwise he wouldn’t be in business for that long. Two, when I sat down with him to initially discuss about me going out and starting my own business, I came in prepared with really good questions for the industry. Where does he see financial planning going, what types of clients does he work with, what does he think his clients drive the most value from and he told me right there. These people as long as you can provide value and the answer to the questions that they need help with, they’re going to stay. That really told me that he cared about his people, that these are clients that have been with him for quite some time and ultimately that’s what I wanted in a financial planning job was a place where I could build relationships with clients.

Hannah:               When you were at Thrivent you talked about being really discouraged about how you weren’t able to help people who didn’t have the resources that maybe the target client did. Are you finding … are you able to work with those clients right now or what does that look like in your life?

Matt:                     Right now it’s kind of an evolving thing that we have going on here with this planner in Middleton. That’s something that I want to do eventually, right now I’m currently not doing it. John and I have had discussions about how do we offer this within his model and ultimately if that comes to fruition or not remains to be seen. Even just in his client acquisition process he’s very much about making sure that we can provide value for the client to justify the fee that ultimately he’s going to be charging.

                                What I really like about his process is he has what he calls a Financial Tuneup, where a client, an onboarding client regardless of asset amount starts off with a very brief process of two or three topics that they for sure want to cover in their financial planning. We go through that process, we have a couple clients coming in they have state pensions, they want some tax planning help, they want to know if they’re going to be okay to retire. So that’s kind of what they want in this initial relationship and this meeting’s coming up so I can’t really say where it’s going to go but ultimately if they have more questions at the end of that first process, then we would consider bringing them into an ongoing retainer. So what I look at that with John is he’s doing the vetting of the client before he signs them on to an agreements.

                                While I can’t work right now with lower asset clients, I can see that he cares about the relationship and that to me means a lot. Is just saying that just because you want a financial planner we’re not going to throw you into this several thousand dollar agreement on an annual basis. We’re going to make sure that we can actually help you and justify that fee before we go ahead and take your money. To me it’s kind of a happy medium, where I’m at right now.

Hannah:               Well and what I like so much about what you’re saying is that you part of the conversation. He’s bringing you in and engaging with you on how to possibly serve other people down the road.

Matt:                     Yeah absolutely and we don’t see eye to eye on everything and everyone at the firm, there’s only four of us when I say everyone. Don’t think there’s a ton of people there but I think everyone has their own systems and how things work and I’ve definitely learned a lot about CRM’s for example and how he stores his files and how his process works. Everyone has their own spin on things and I’ve learned some things that I really enjoy about his process. I’ve learned some things I don’t like so much and ultimately if we work together, again that remains to be seen but if it’s meant to be in it, it’s a good fit. He’s open to the idea which is all that really matters.

Hannah:               I was talking to a group of older planners recently and I told them I was like you are going through this process ask your younger planners they see what’s happening. They have ways to make your process better you’re just not listening to them.

Matt:                     Yeah absolutely and I think not only the processes but looking at the revenue models, I think that a lot of older planners out there value my time the same way that they value their time. And as much as I would love to have the hourly rate that John has, I understand that my experience in this field is nowhere near his and I can’t charge that much. I think that’s my biggest hurdle right now is helping him understand that there’s a whole group of people that this firm can derive revenue from that fit my criteria and what my capabilities are right now and what my hourly rate so to speak is. I think that’s still a hurdle that I’m working on with him but I think it’s a common problem in the profession is that we see what our time’s worth not necessarily what our younger planners are worth.

Hannah:               From a business owner perspective, hearing you say this, you bring on clients, I mean, your income is going to be capped at a lower rate than it would be if you kind of were on the same career path that your boss was on right now. What are your thoughts about that?

Matt:                     I think I definitely understand where you’re going with this question and I’m totally going to answer it. But the way I look at it is right now John’s expertise, he is very smart when it comes to financial planning and he definitely deserves the fee that he charges. It’s just, it’s the truth so the way I look at it is his clients … I like to use baseball as an analogy because everyone really understands it. Where John is, he’s later on in his career path, he’s really helping people right now that are almost rounding third base, they’re headed home, they’re there on track for retirement, he’s done a great job of getting them into that position. I guess I just look at myself as someone coming out of the batter’s box who … I just graduated college, I’m just getting started in my career and there’s a lot of people like me that I can resonate with.

                                I guess I could charge in theory what he charges but my hope I guess is to help set younger people up who have less assets with the tools they need to go around the bases and ultimately they follow me in my career trajectory that I can build a long term relationship with them. Does that make sense?

Hannah:               Absolutely and what I think is so neat is that’s exactly what some of these older advisors did.

Matt:                     Yeah and I mean that’s … obviously I want to be compensated well. I have some goals that I want to achieve just like our clients do but I’m not trying to come out of college and make $200,000 at age 25. That’s not super important to me but obviously I want to be well compensated as I go throughout my career and if I can have these long term relationships with these clients, get them started at a lower rate that makes sense for their budget, and help them develop their financial lifestyle and get that really solid foundation in place that when it comes to middle of your career where you’re starting to see salary increases you have assets in your name and it demands a higher fee, that there’s no question of who they want to go to. I want to be that guy from start to finish.

Hannah:               The idea finding your own clients, are you opposed to that like you’re just … is that exciting to you?

Matt:                     I think it’s really exciting. It was at first at Thrivent and I lost it just because of the way that it’s celebrated there. It’s celebrated in dollars and premiums and commissions and blah blah blah that’s not where I wanted to be. But I think for me the most enjoyable part of my job is when you get to teach someone something they couldn’t understand before and you can see that light bulb moment come on and really when they get excited about the financial plan that we’re creating together because you’re just empowering people. You’re empowering people to enjoy their life, to go do the things that they want to do and that’s the most exciting part. I really do like bringing on clients, it just wasn’t the right system for me at Thrivent.

Hannah:               You asked your boss this question so I’m curious know your answer. Where do you think financial planning is heading?

Matt:                     I think it changes every so often. There’s so much information out there I mean you can read Kitsch article after Kitsch article and X Y planning article and FPA. I personally think that when you look at the industry it used to be commission driven whether it was selling insurance products or selling investments back when we had A-shares and people were getting four and a half percent on that, or a portion of that four and a half percent. I think it’s really going to transition to the fee only world and the reason why is these fees that companies are charging for their investments are just being compressed beyond belief.

                                I just saw something where Schwab is charging like .03% on investments and that was their commercial but ultimately I think my generation cares more about experiences and actually enjoying life. They want someone who cares about what they want to accomplish not just socking every dollar away into their 401K at work or saving up to buy a house, I don’t know. I just think it’s really going to be driven by relationships, honestly that’s my simple answer and I think the Fee-Only model is the way to do that.

                                I saw at Thrivent where someone would bring on a huge client with a big whole life insurance policy and they’re not going to get another dollar out of that client for quite some time. There’s no incentive there to maintain that relationship because once you get your commission in your out of your surrender period or whatever it’s called, there’s really no incentive to service that client anymore. I think our generate … my generation really cares about having someone that they can go to at all times especially when you think about the dependency on technology. Having someone that they can ask questions to and get an immediate answer is really important. I think the Fee-Only, having a solid relationship is ultimately where the industry’s going to have to go. Sorry if I went in circles there.

Hannah:               No, not at all. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and really we talk about compensation models and like Fee-only, Fee-Based, commission only. For some of my clients back when I was at the broker dealer and we did really good work for them like really good financial planning based work for them. And so for me the dividing line seems to be more, are you doing true financial planning or are you not.

Matt:                     I think ultimately … I don’t even know how to answer the question.

Hannah:               It’s not really even a question. It’s just something that the last two or three weeks I’ve been thinking about … Maybe there is no question, maybe totally I’ll just try to edit all this out.

Matt:                     I think the biggest thing is our industry, our profession sorry, they don’t know how to explain financial planning to people.

Hannah:               Absolutely.

Matt:                     Do you think that’s a common problem because I do. A lot of people you tell them you’re a financial planner and it’s like you said it’s Pepsi or Coke which one should I buy. That’s not what we do every day and I think if people knew that so much of what we do is dependent on the person we’re sitting down with, yes we have this big book and this fancy designation behind our name that tells us how to do things, but at the end of the day it’s ultimate what works for them and it’s not what works for us. It’s what works for them and how can we maintain this relationship and ultimately get you to where you want to be. So yeah, I think I answered your … was that your brainstorm there, I don’t know.

Hannah:               My brainstorm. Yeah well I don’t know and we could maybe stop recording we could talk about it more. But yeah I’ve been in the head space lately. I’m kind of pushing you, but I don’t usually push people.

Matt:                     It’s fine I love that and I really do think that I even see it in my network circles that some people just don’t understand the intricacy in the art of financial planning. They understand that they should save money and that they’re going to need to retire someday and they should probably have some insurance but they don’t understand why it’s important to them and I think that’s what financial planners really do.

Hannah:               It’s our job as financial planners to answer those questions and to be able to figure out like you said how we articulate our value?

Matt:                     Yeah exactly and that’s … John’s really good at that. He breaks it down more by the numbers like here’s what we’re saving you in fees and here’s what we’re saving you in taxes. I don’t know if there’s a way that we can … I look at someone who’s 21 or not 21 sorry like 23 coming out of college and they just want to pay off their student debt which is perfectly fine if that’s what they really want but on the flip side I don’t think they understand. We can’t calculate the value of them starting saving for retirement earlier and making the standard monthly payment on their loan that’s at 3% interest or whatever it’s at. Theoretically you can get a much higher return from the market but how do you calculate that value and how do you … you can’t, which sucks. You can’t say like assume. I mean, you can assume but you know what assuming does so.

Hannah:               I love that thought. Speaking to people who are just graduating from programs or considering financial planning, what has helped make you successful?

Matt:                     I think really if I had to pick one thing, it’s just networking. I’ve had some really cool experiences in my short 24 almost 25 years of life. You never know who’s going to help you out and when they’re going to help you out and you should never meet someone with the expectation that they’re going to help you. I think it’s just getting out there, getting exposed to a variety of different things. I in no way want to convey that I wish I didn’t do Thrivent.

                                Obviously you can make that argument that I could have or probably should have gotten out earlier but I learned a lot about the industry, I learned a lot about what I want and what I need to have a fulfilling life. So just get out there and experience things. Working with John has been great, it worked out perfectly right as I exited Thrivent and I was on with him, that was awesome for financial reasons and a great learning experience but ultimately if it’s not the perfect fit, I don’t know if there is such thing as a perfect fit, but just get out there and experience what you need to do to be happy. Having some good experiences, some bad experiences and finding a way to connect with people to potentially find a more fulfilling role down the road.

Hannah:               Are there any projects or anything that you’re really excited about right now?

Matt:                     Yeah. I have a lot, I always have a lot of ideas in my head and I really need a business coach or someone to rein me in sometimes because I can come up with ideas all day but sometimes I need someone to just kick me in the butt and throw me into the fire. One of the projects I’m working on right now it’s a new tool developed by some research done here at the University of Wisconsin, it’s called Money Languages and the reason why I’m really excited about this tool is it really helps younger planners especially but I still think there’s value for older planners as well, to understand what type of person they work the best with. Really what our tool does is based on some research we’ve done on why people make the money decisions they make in what’s really important to them in life. It’s a client survey that they take and it produces a report for the advisor that helps you guide the conversation based on their … basically their money psychology. Does that make sense?

Hannah:               Absolutely, and I love the psychology side of everything.

Matt:                     Yeah and I think you and I can both agree and for the younger folks out there who haven’t been in client meetings and or haven’t done much planning work. You can make the best financial plan under the sun but if your client doesn’t want to do it, you have a whole another problem. We’re only as valuable as the action we can get our clients to take, right?

Hannah:               I could not agree anymore with that.

Matt:                     I guess my excitement for the tool is the soft skills, the communication skills with clients like we were talking about earlier to help build that trust. That is a really hard thing to learn and it’s something you will not learn in college unless you do some sort of sales program or you have … you just naturally have that ability to connect with people. This tool really just give some targeted questions that you should be asking the clients. They’re not anything overly specific. Some things that you shouldn’t talk to them about so that you don’t completely turn them off and you get the rough and tough client that doesn’t want to do anything that you’re suggesting. But it also provides some tips for how do you maintain that relationship going forward and how do you prevent not only you from creating a big headache for yourself, but also how do you keep your client happy and prevent them from getting worried about their financial situation.

Hannah:               That’s great. Somebody is interested where can I go to find out more information?

Matt:                     Right now I heard our website is actually down we’re doing some work on the back end but if you just want to include my LinkedIn or my email address you have on file. If you want to include that in the podcast notes, if anyone’s interested in Money Languages wants to learn more just shoot me a message and I can provide a demo or just a quick phone call with you to talk more about that.

Hannah:               Great. Well, thank you so much for being with us Matt.

Matt:                     Yeah thanks Hannah, I really appreciate your time and thanks for having me.

Hannah:               Thanks for listening and we hope you have a great Thanksgiving break, we’ll be back next week.

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