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Running Around With Your Hair on Fire Is Not Attractive in a Financial Planner

Running like your hair is on fire is not an attractive trait in a financial planner. Learn how to scale your business and improve margins.

It’s clear that with roboadvisors and automation, people expect more if they are paying you more. With investment management fees going to zero faster than the speed of light, financial planning is where it’s at.

But how do you deliver this without running yourself into the ground?

  • I’ve seen advisors running around like their hair is on fire.
  • I’ve heard of advisors shoveling snow, going to the DMV with clients, driving four hours to go to a family event for a client.
  • I’ve seen planners take it to the extent that they are no longer being compensated for their time.
  • I’ve had financial advisors haggle with me over the $35 a month cost of my membership service. No offense, but are you serious? And you’re serving affluent people? What would your clients think if they saw that?

Do you really think that clients don’t notice the stress it causes you when you’re running a business that doesn’t pay you what it should? And how do you think it makes them feel about what you do?

This improves credibility?

I’m all for the human touch and going above the call. The personal attention is, to be honest, why most advisors have a business. However, here’s what can happen if you don’t pay attention to yourself first and what all of the time is costing your business.

You can get trapped.

The experienced financial advisor makes around $90k a year according to some measures. Many make more, some make less. Nothing wrong with $90k a year at face value, but at that level of pay you are vulnerable given this is a serious kind of business. Lose a client who trashes you to the country club, security breach, new technology emerges. Now all of a sudden you could actually be out of business.

Or worse.

Let’s be real: the margins matter.

If you are not running a business the scales well enough so that you can grow faster than your costs are, then you are in trouble. And with the technologies available to you, there’s no reason why you can’t. This episode we have Matt Regan, President of Wealthcare Capital Management, who has some of the answers to questions about how to do this. Join us to hear about:

  • What is considered light planning vs. heavy planning?
  • What is goals-based vs. cash flow planning?
  • Charging for planning on a stand alone basis vs. bundling it
  • Hourly fees, asset based fees, retainer fees
  • Where advisors get into profitability problems with financial planning, and how to avoid it
  • The three things advisors can do to improve the efficiency of their financial planning

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!


Resource mentioned in this show:

Kitces, Michael. (2017, October 16th). 2017 Financial Advisor Compensation Trends And The Emerging Shortage Of Financial Planning Talent. Retrieved from



Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor.

We make no guarantee that the information on the Site is accurate and non-misleading. Grillo Investment Management, LLC, will not be liable to you in relation to the content contained herein, use of, or any connection with the Site. Grillo Investment Management, LLC, will not be liable to you for any business losses or loss of revenue, profits, or data that may occur in connection with the Site.

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Choosing a Web Platform that Rocks your Financial Advisor Firm

If you are a financial advisor firm here is how to pick a website platform that rocks.

So you’ve decided it’s about time to give your website an overhaul. Or maybe you broke off and went independent, and now you need to set up a site for your new firm. Do you use a template? Do you get a developer and custom design your own site?

Let’s face it: Picking the right web platform for your financial advisor firm is overwhelming.

That’s why I was so glad to have Ryan Russell of Twenty over Ten with me on the show to shed some light on the options you may have.

You’ll learn:

  • The major things to consider when you are trying to figure out which web platform works for your financial advisor firm.
  • Guidelines to help you make sure your website’s security is up to par with standards
  • Why it matters if you own the content or not
  • Cost considerations for the initial site and on an ongoing basis

Thanks for listening, and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

Resources mentioned in the show

Twenty Over Ten

Samantha Russell’s LinkedIn videos – see here LinkedIn feed here



Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use, or the success of any program.

Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor.

We make no guarantee that the information on the Site is accurate and non-misleading. Grillo Investment Management, LLC, will not be liable to you in relation to the content contained herein, use of, or any connection with the Site. Grillo Investment Management, LLC, will not be liable to you for any business losses or loss of revenue, profits, or data that may occur in connection with the Site.

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Technology Singularity and the Client Experience – with Ron Carson

Technology Singularity with Ron Carson

If you look at the difference between success and failure, many times it has to do with what we choose to spend our time on. It is that simple.

So I’m excited to have a very special guest on the show to discuss my favorite topic: avoiding distraction.

The reality is that it is no longer acceptable for clients to experience complex or confusing technology.  In our discussion, Ron Carson, founder and CEO of Carson Group, will share how advisors can (and why they must) embrace the client demand for an immersive experience.

According to Ron, “There’s no question about the consolidation that has to happen in financial services. Most advisors have been lucky, they’ve been spared this accelerated change because of regulation. But guess what – that isn’t going to last forever.  And we’re already starting to see the changes.”

In this episode you’ll hear about:

  • The invisible influences shaping the profession of financial advising today
  • Why the real competition isn’t other advisors anymore – it’s Amazon
  • What an immersive technology experience really is and why consumers prefer it
  • What will happen to advisors who lag behind in terms of technology
  • What Singularity is and how it applies to the financial advising profession
  • The 3 choices that advisors who are lagging behind in terms of technology should consider

Thanks for listening. Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

Resources mentioned in this show:

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Swag like Swedroe: Communication Tips from an Investment Thought Leader

Communication tips from Larry Swedroe

What can I say, he’s got swag. And here’s what you can learn from him if you are an investment professional looking to stop being part of the noise that gets ignored.

I was honored to have one of the “greats” in the investment world on my show this episode. Today we welcome Larry Swedroe, a widely recognize investment thought leader and the director of research for The BAM Alliance, a community of more than 140 independent registered investment advisors throughout the country.

As brilliant as Larry is as an investor, he’s made his mark on the world in an important way: earning a position as a thought leader by adeptly communicating with investors, financial advisors, and the investment community at large.

And this skill is becoming more valuable by the minute.

In a world of fee compression, smart beta, low cost TAMPs, and next to zero management fee ETFs, it’s clear that anyone charging a fee for investment advice is going to have to fight for it. The human touch that a credible investment manager brings is irreplaceable.

Larry is going to share with us some ways to improve your ability to reach clients, and it is advice that anyone in the investment industry should consider.

Hear Larry’s thoughts on the following:

  • You’ve made quite a name for yourself as an investment expert. Why do you think people like listening to you talk about investments, a subject that is typically dry and unappealing?
  • You recently described a technique used when a client asks a question – you write about it in a blog. I do this also. Tell me more about what you’ve seen as the results of this communication.
  • You write for AP and also What have you seen as the most effective writing techniques that have gotten people engaged? Does this drive leads for you?
  • In your current role, you’re a mentor of sorts for the advisors at BAM. Tell us some of the wisdom you’ve imparted to them that has made a difference about how to run their practices from an investment perspective.

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

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Is the Future of Advisor Software Free?

Future of financial advisor software

While the rest of the world offers free software like YouTube, Adobe, Evernote, Spotify, etc., financial services has resisted. Today I’m talking to David Lyon, Founder and CEO of Oranj, about how this model may just be the future of financial advisor software.

Listeners will learn:

  • Why free software, more scalable, is the way that you build really good software
  • Why free platforms are getting the traction that they are outside of finance
  • What David is seeing the factors impacting independent financial advisors that will require software to be low or no cost in the future
  • What happened to the music industry over the last 20 years and how finance may be following the same path
  • How the economics of free software work – is free really free? Is it really viable for financial advisors to use free software?
  • David’s 3 tidbits of advice for a financial advisor who is looking at any piece of free software

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

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Using Your CFA Designation to Power Your Private Wealth Practice

How CFA charterholders can develop their wealth management practices

Here’s my interview with Bob Dannhauser , head of Private Wealth Management at the CFA Institute, about the special tools that CFA® charterholders have available to them to develop their wealth management practices.

You will learn:

  • The character attributes that a CFA®charterholder may have that high net worth clients welcome
  • How the CFA Institute is now preparing private wealth professionals (as opposed to institutional investment managers) to excel
  • The clout of the CFA designation versus other designations that you can buy or that don’t carry as much  merit in the private wealth space
  • Why you shouldn’t write off the CFA candidate or member pool as non-viable prospects and how to find the people within these populations that could be your clients
  • The value of emotional intelligence and why it should be developed
  • What the CFA Institute has coming down the pike in Feb 2019 in terms of tools and resources designed to help private wealth advisors
  • Online CFA Institute resources and how to make the most out of them to develop new clients for your private wealth practice

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!


Resources mentioned in this podcast:

Marketing Tips for CFA® Charterholders


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What’s Risk Got to do With It?

This podcast discusses a better way for financial advisors to assess risk with Aaron Klein.

I felt it was important to have a discussion about risk because over and over again in my interviews with my advisor clients, client misunderstanding of risk keeps coming up as the #1 reason that advisors lose clients. Or, that a problem with the client’s understanding of risk creates so much tension that it puts the relationship in turmoil.

I have seen even the most experienced advisors, those with 30 years in the business, struggle with getting this wrong and losing clients. It’s a serious problem. Of all the things that cost your business money, losing a client is one of the most costly. Plus there are reputational, morale, and legal issues that may come along with it.

The advisor and client seem to be diametrically opposed in some cases.

  • One on side, you have the advisor whose probably number one liability is getting sued over a portfolio performance issue.
  • On the other side, you have the client who wants to maximize the value of your services by achieving better performance than what they could get on their own. Some clients want this more than others, but in the back of their minds, they all expect you to do better than they could do. (Real talk). You can say all you want about the value of planning and tax advice but if you’re managing their investments, this is what they expect.

How do you make the client see risk from a rational perspective without boring them or talking in technical mumbo jumbo that goes over their head? How do you really grasp the level of risk they are really comfortable taking? How do you do all of this without misleading them or creating a legal liability?

It takes skill and knowledge and that’s what we’re going to discuss today.

Take control back by getting a handle on how you discuss risk with clients. I’m honored to have one of the industry’s best to talk about that here with us today, Aaron Klein of Riskalyze. Enjoy the show!

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Much Ado about Blogging – with Michael Kitces

How financial advisors can be successful at bloggin with Michael Kitces.

Blogging is a valuable tool for financial advisors embracing the digital age, and there has been much ado about it. Yet it is rare for a blog to reach the point where it is driving significant business growth. This podcast, featuring special guest Michael Kitces, will start with the fundamentals of blogging and move into a discussion of the more sophisticated techniques that can help improve results.

Listeners will learn:

  • What the point of a blog should be vs. what many advisors see the point to be
  • The problem (or solution) that giving away your ideas for free creates
  • Why niche blogging works better
  • Blogs on your own site vs. blog for somebody else (Investopedia, Forbes, etc.) -pros and cons of each approach
  • What is wrong with your blog if you are getting cricket sounds instead of people responding when they read your blog
  • Strategies to promote your own blog
  • Whether keyword and SEO strategies are good for advisors to consider
  • What to do if you get haters commenting on your blog

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

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The Cool Way to Talk About Insurance with Barry Flagg

Here's the cool way for financial advisors to talk about insurance.

How do you talk about life insurance and sound cool? It’s really harder to do than you would think.

Any mention of insurance is typically enough to make clients want to run the other way. In this episode of the Sara Grillo podcast, we are joined by Barry Flagg, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, GFS. Listeners will learn:

  • How financial advisors can develop new business by asking clients about the last, largest, most-neglected, and worst-performing asset on their balance sheets
  • How to serve clients better by telling them the real story about their life insurance costs and relative value compared to other policies
  • How to outservice the competition with higher integrity, transparency, and clarity about insurance
  • How to use Prudent Investor principles to eliminate the competition still using misleading, inappropriate, and unreliable policy reviews
  • How to get more referrals by clearly associating your brand with the “clients’ best interests” movement

About Barry D. Flagg, CFP®, CLU, ChFC, GFS

Barry D. Flagg is the inventor and founder of Veralytic®, Inc., the only patented online publisher of life insurance pricing and performance research and product suitability ratings. Veralytic is the product of his unique background as both the oldest youngest CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™* first schooled in the investment business, as well as a life insurance practitioner consistently ranked in the top 1% of the industry. His experience in both financial product analysis, life insurance sales and marketing, and his success in managing large life insurance portfolios for affluent individuals and growth companies, brings an unparalleled advantage to his presentations.

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How to Not Screw Up Your Website with Dan Solin

Joinus for a webinar about how financial advisors can avoid screwing up their websites.

Advisors are notoriously wasting money on their websites. If your website is failing to generate leads for you, it is because the content is not jiving psychologically with prospects.

In this episode of the Sara Grillo podcast, listeners will learn:

  • [Frame 3:02] The empirical evidence on what attracts prospects to advisors and what they are looking for versus what advisors believe
  • [Frame 4:02] Why it is so hard to come across as competent and warm, friendly and relatable
  • [Frame 5:28] What all this means for advisors’ websites – what the true goal of a website should be
  • [Frame 6:05] How to visually set up your website – graphics, photos and imagery
  • [Frame 11:20] The false perception that advisors have to project perfection and be all-knowing.  This is at odds with how people really feel because we’re so imperfect. How do we visually present who we really are while at the same time showing credibility?
  • [Frame 14:50] What your website should say. What should the message be?
  • [Frame 15:22] How to create relatable content for your website
  • [Frame 19:24] People are not interested in other people; they care about themselves. How do you get people to say “tell me more about that?” when they read their website.
  • [Frame 30:50] How to get your content to stay with people after they leave your site.
  • [Frame 36:50] How to create videos for your website that will engage the reader and come across as authentic
  • [Frame 41:00] The value of humor and how to activate it on your website.

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast and make sure to tune in the next one!

About Dan Solin

Dan Solin is the New York Times bestselling author of the Smartest series of investing books and The Smartest Sales Book You’ll Ever Read. He blogs regularly for The Huffington Post and Advisor Perspectives.

Dan’s books have been enthusiastically endorsed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanguard founder John Bogle. Kiplinger’s listed The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read on its top ten list of the best financial books ever written.

A former securities attorney, Dan graduated from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Dan is a sales coach to advisory firms throughout North America. He gives presentations to large groups, conducts workshops and engages in one-on-one coaching either in person or via teleconferencing platforms like Skype.