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Living Without Financial Fear With Justin Castelli

The next generation of advisors are paving a new frontier in planning. Able to look beyond mere numbers, they help set goals built around client passions and values. According to Justin Castelli, Reese Harper’s guest on this episode of the Elementality podcast, this is the way of the future. His vision is one where advisors no longer project their views and values on the client, instead they make the client the hero in their financial happiness journey.

Justin, Co-Founder at The AGC™, and Reese look at how tech makes functional jobs easier, and why that is changing how the next generation of planners frame their advice. The job was once helping clients reach predetermined monetary goals. Find out why the job is increasingly centered around helping clients find happiness.

 


Podcast Transcript

Justin Castelli:
The hero in the relationship is shifting. For so long, the financial advisor was the hero. I provide the solution, I provide the investment, I provide all the answers. And now it’s about, okay, how do we make the client the hero of their journey? So how do we become more of an ally rather than the focal point? It’s not about us, it’s about our client.

Abby Morton:
Welcome to Elementality. I’m Abby Morton, CFP and producer of our podcast here at Elements. I love being a financial planner, but I know it’s a challenging profession as well, that’s why the number one goal of our show is to help you prosper as an advisor as you better connect with your clients. We know your time is very valuable. Plan on a good return when you spend it here with us.

0:00:53.5 Reese Harper: Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. I’m really excited today looking out at a fresh blanket of snow, and about to interview someone I’ve been admiring from afar here for the last while, Justin Castelli. Justin, thanks so much for joining me today.

Justin Castelli:
Reese, I appreciate it. I don’t love snow, but I would rather look at snow than this dreary rainy day we have here in Indiana, so snow would be better than the rain.

0:01:19.6 RH: [laughter] For those of you on this episode who don’t know… Those of you listening today who don’t know Justin, we’re gonna start out with just a little bit of his background and just how he became a financial advisor to start out with, and then dive into a few things that he’s working on right now. Justin, start out with how you got to be a financial advisor, the path that led you to figuring out that was something you wanted to spend some of your life doing.

Justin Castelli:
Sure, I think my path might not be too different from a lot of financial advisors, I did not come into the profession with this being the end goal, so to keep the story shorter, I went to college to play basketball at a Division three school, I majored in Econ, and the game plan was I’d go to law school. I don’t know why law school, I think maybe my dad said, “You should be a lawyer,” and I thought, “Okay, that’s good.” My cousin was a lawyer, I knew he did well. And so I majored in Econ, minor in political science, that was my game plan. Didn’t really pay that close attention to the finance class that I had, didn’t really care about it. I met my wife going into my senior year in college and realized quickly that I didn’t wanna go to school for three more years, that there was something about her that was special, that I didn’t wanna delay seeing where that would go, so I graduated really with no game plan on what I was gonna do.

Justin Castelli:
And I look back and I’m incredibly lucky because I could have graduated and gone down a path that wasn’t the right path for me, or ended somewhere that wasn’t gonna provide the opportunity that I’ve had becoming a financial advisor. So I graduated in May, I spent the summer actually living in Bloomington, Indiana with my wife as she finished up at Indiana University, and during the summer, I just networked around, seeing what opportunities out there that might be interesting. And that was the first time I really heard about a financial advisor, met with a handful of them and ultimately decided that the career path’s on an interesting… The idea of helping people and having a job where no two days were gonna be the same, was interesting.

Justin Castelli:
So I went door to door at a bunch of firms, dropped off a paper resume and ultimately ended up starting at a firm that was kind of an insurance based firm, and realized that I didn’t wanna make life insurance the foundation of what it was that I did, and left there after a year, and then here’s where my story is like so many other financial advisors, we kind of bounce around until we find the right path. And I spent seven years at a 403 B Company, which was really the time frame where I realized that I was in fact a financial advisor, and this was the career I was gonna stick with forever. So while I was there, I got my CFP designation, I started to look at the teachers that I was serving as an opportunity to build a client base that I would hope one day would follow me.

Justin Castelli:
Navigating non-competes is something I would be okay doing, but I would one day leave because I didn’t wanna be at a company where I was being enticed or told what to do, from the standpoint of products or even how to work with clients, I wanted that freedom. So I was there long enough, planned to make the leap, and ultimately made a last-minute decision to join an independent firm in town. I was there for two years, and then I launched my firm back in 2015. So again, came into the industry not really knowing anything about it, stumbled into it, was lucky that it was the right place for me to be, and then realized… Once I realized that I wanted to do this for real, kinda built the path towards going out on my own.

0:04:29.9 RH: So when you started your firm in 2015, did you launch with the same brand that you have today, did you have a focus that has shifted over time? What was your thought when you started and how has that shifted at all?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, so it’s shifted over time. If anybody follows me, you know that I experiment and I try different things and I’m not afraid to pivot. So there’s been many pivots with the firm, but when I launched it, I wasn’t even really thinking about branding, I just knew that I wanted to work with people that I wanted to work with, and I didn’t want anybody to tell me that I couldn’t work with somebody because they didn’t have enough assets. So I launched… And this was before I found XY Plane. I launched with the subscription model. I remember reading about it once, and I actually… I pitched that to the firm I was working at and they didn’t like it, which was part of the moving away from that firm. So I launched with subscription model, and I used to talk about how I had a barbell approach to working with clients.

Justin Castelli:
I worked with retirees under your traditional AUM model, I had a subscription model for the young professionals, and I had created a scaled-down version of the wealth management side to offer for subscription clients. And at that point, it was just, I wanna work with good people. And over the years, I’ve never been somebody who could force myself into working a niche. I see the value of a niche, but the way I operate pretty much on everything is I have to be excited about the work that I’m doing, and forcing myself to work with Eli Lilly employees is always the example I give, because their global headquarters is here in Indi. That just didn’t excite me and I just didn’t wanna force it. So over time, I realized I like working with entrepreneurial people, and I thought, Well, what if I created a new relationship for new clients going forward, market towards entrepreneurs, and I had this whole business model laid out. And then when I launched that, I did a podcast and a blog, ’cause I will always create content for any business that I do.

Justin Castelli:
And that was the angle I was gonna go. And I met Taylor Schulte in person, we’d been corresponding on Twitter for a while, and that’s when we launched the AGC, which is just a community for financial advisors, and I decided that that was the entrepreneurial group that I was supposed to work with, not entrepreneurial, financial planning clients. So I kind of closed the blog, I closed the podcast that was called the Entrepreneur’s Blueprint, shut those down, decided not to take on clients for a while at RLS Wealth, my RIA, and focus efforts on the AGC, and growing that. Then AGC grew, I kinda got more of a clear vision of, Okay, I do wanna work with entrepreneurial people, but the quality that I’m looking for was more of a mindset, so the people that I wanted to work with were people who thought outside the box, they didn’t wanna live a life that is just constrained by what society says we’re supposed to do, they have things they wanna do, and they wanna do it their way, and I wanted to be the planner, I wanted our firm to be the firm that would help those folks.

Justin Castelli:
So I kind of changed the messaging, re-did the website, that was what I was excited to talk about, and then I joined Onramp Invest earlier this year, which is a platform for bringing Crypto and the future of investing to advisors. And with that, realized, Okay, I can’t take on any more clients because this is something I really wanna do, I don’t wanna close the business that I’ve had for the last five years at that time, so I’m not gonna take on new clients, I’m not gonna go down this avenue of pursuing these individuals that I wanna work with, and I’m gonna spend my future time working with Onramp and helping build that out.

Justin Castelli:
So my journey as an advisor, especially over the last six years of owning my firm has been exploration in who I serve, how I serve them, trying different business models, adding on secondary businesses and a third business and trying to make all of those things work. And that’s one of the things I really enjoy, I like trying new things out, figuring out whether they work or not, what can I learn from them, and then bringing them to the advisory community and say, Hey, here’s what I did, here’s what I learned. Maybe you, Mr. Or Mrs. Advisor should consider this as well for your business and build in public and learn things so other people can bypass those headaches and implement those in their practices.

0:08:26.2 RH: So when you got… How many clients did you have at this point when you decided, I’m gonna kinda shut down the practice and continue to focus on Onramp and maybe the AGC as my… I’m gonna leave time for those other things, how many clients did you have at that point?

Justin Castelli:
So we were at about 95 households. And that’s kind of when I shut things off. And in the process of shutting off, I had another young advisor that I had joined the firm a little over a year ago, and part of that process of repositioning my practice to afford me the time was helping him launch his firm, so that was kind of an exciting process in that, it was a hard conversation, and I’m not one for hard conversations, I like to be the peace maker, but I just was honest with him and said, “Hey, you’re where I want RLS Wealth to go and where I wanna go. The growth that you’re having, the success that you’re having, those are two different paths.” And rather than say, kick rocks, well done, good luck, I said, We need to figure out a good path of where you might end up, whether that’s another firm or I think you should launch your own firm, truthfully.

Justin Castelli:
Whatever you decide, I’m gonna support you and we’re gonna take our time getting there. So ultimately, he decided to partner up with another advisor, launch a firm, and we spent two months at RLS Wealth. In the background, my director of operations, Darlene, helped building out all of our workflows, all of our technology, so that when they launched, they already had that built out. And day one wasn’t Building, day one was client sign a letter of agreement… An LOA to transfer from RLS to their firm, they signed a letter from us to transfer their information over, and they were off and running, which was pretty cool, ’cause our profession, if somebody leaves, it’s like we don’t know where they went, we’re gonna try to keep you there, we’re gonna make things a hassle for everybody, and that was the direct opposite approach that we took.

0:10:22.1 RH: What did RLS stand for? What does that stand for?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, it’s Roman, Leo and Silas. It’s my three boys.

0:10:29.1 RH: Is that your three kids? Okay.

Justin Castelli:
Launching my firm, the hardest thing was coming up with a name.

0:10:34.7 RH: [chuckle] Yeah, it’s super hard.

Justin Castelli:
Everything else was easy. I left the last firm knowing everything but the firm name. And ultimately, I… At the time it was RL Wealth Management, ’cause Silas wasn’t around, so I had to do a rebrand when he was born.

0:10:48.8 RH: [chuckle] Yeah, it’s hard.

Justin Castelli:
But I’ve tried to think of other acronyms for retirement and life, but it’s my boys, and if you follow me, you see them all the time, so you know that they’re a very big part of my life, so the fact that my firm is named after them shouldn’t be a huge surprise.

0:11:06.5 RH: Yeah. It’s not a big surprise. Talk to me about the… What made it interesting to do the Chief of Staff gig at Onramp and what did you… I guess what was the first trigger… You shared a little bit about, I could continue to scale out an advisory practice, and there’s some obviously financial and growth-oriented goals, but there’s probably a bigger… There’s probably more to it than that, it’s probably more complicated than just a money question. So what was it about it that was interesting?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, having the opportunity to work alongside my friend Tyrone Ross would be something… Would be awesome. And that just provided me the opportunity to work with him, and I’ve only been there since April this year, and I’m already a better… I’m already a better advisor and business person, and person, just by being alongside him and him pulling me up because he’s just a tremendous leader and tremendous individual. So one of the main things that drew me to it was Tyrone. And then when I looked at the rest of the team and being able to work alongside Tory Hoppy and Eric Ervin and some of the other folks that were already there, that was a big draw. And then finally, what we’re building at Onramp and the disruption that it’s gonna bring to financial advisors and usher in this new way of investing in a change. I’ve always wanted to be a disruptor. When I launched my firm, I quit wearing suits.

Justin Castelli:
I started… Sherry and I listen to hip-hop, and then I have tattoos. And I took a lot of pleasure of going to the conferences and wearing graphic tees and being relaxed and just trying to make the old school mad and kind of disrupt… Little things like that. This was a way to be a part of a positive disruption on a scale I could never do on my own. And the final thing is, I was already interested in crypto, I started exploring it back in 2017 and writing about it and sharing about it and personally investing in it, so just seeing where the space is going, being able to be a voice for the advisor at the firm as well, we have a number of financial advisors at the firm, which I think is pretty cool because we’re building the software, we’re building the platform for advisors, but it’s not a bunch of tech people doing it, it’s advisors who are meeting with clients using the platform daily as a part of their practice that are helping build it. So it’s a combination of all those things. Thing that will always remain a rock for me is gonna be RLS Wealth. I think that that, no matter whatever side endeavors I might explore or learn, I will always have RLS Wealth as the foundation.

Justin Castelli:
Because at the core, I am a financial advisor, that’s what I’ve always been, that’s what I enjoy, and the relationships we talked about before. But I don’t ever see myself allowing that to just dwindle away over time, I see that as the business shrinks, just because life happens. I’ll probably look to take on a few clients every year and kinda keep the status quo because it’s good to do… And I always think I’ll live in the advisor space, so I think there’s a lot to be said… To whatever I might do in the future, to be able to say, “Hey, I’m an advisor as well. I understand what you’re going through.” You’re thinking about conversations I have with advisors through Onramp, I’m able to tell them, “Hey, here’s how I’m using Onramp day-to-day with my clients, here’s how it could fit in your practice, here’s the pros, here’s the cons, here’s the little ways to work with it.” And they know I’m using it versus I’m just a sales person who’s been taught something to say. Like, I’m one of you… I am an advisor, I’m in the same team as you, I just happen to spend some of my time doing these other things as well.

0:14:32.9 RH: Yeah, talk to me a little bit about the… Because you advise clients, how does this life planning philosophy, these follow-your-passion values kind of philosophy, how does that show up in your practice at RLS Wealth?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah. It’s another evolution that I didn’t mention before. I always focused on trying to ask the bigger questions, the ones that get your clients to think, the why, and stay away from focusing solely on the numbers. But as I’ve been out on my own, and you’re reading George Kinder and learning about life planning and understanding that more, that really resonated with me. So about three years ago, I started to change the language and the focus of our planning meetings to aligning values and dollars. Okay, let’s… That’s great you wanna retire, that’s great you want your kid to go to college, but tell me more about what you would regret not doing in 10, 15 years? And taking Kinder’s three questions, which if you don’t know those, I would highly recommend looking up George Kinder Life Planning and reading his three questions, and making my own versions of them. And that’s one of the first things we go over with new clients, and we make that the center. And then it’s my job as the advisor to make sure that we take those answers and we build the plan around that. And I’m even kind of getting further into my belief about this, that taking…

Justin Castelli:
Aligning values and dollars is one thing, I wanna get to the point where we build around your values. For me, it resonates more to say, I’m gonna focus on those things that are most important to me first, and make sure that I’m doing everything I can to maximize my time in those areas, and then that the dollars will work themselves out. Now, we still need to plan, we still need to do things responsibly. But one of the things I believe is that if you are truly focusing on those things that you’re most passionate about, whatever it may be, that’s gonna be different for everybody, it may not be family for some people, which is totally fine, but if you focus on those things you’re most passionate about, then I think the money and the material things works itself out in two ways: One, because you’re focusing on your things you’re most excited about, you’re doing your best work, you’re most productive, you’re gonna grow in your profession, your income will rise with that. Or, you realize the things that you’re most passionate about don’t require the income that you thought you once needed, and you’re able to get by on less, or what you have is more than enough, and you don’t have to strive to make more money.

Justin Castelli:
And this is kind of a concept I wanna continue to write about and think about and explore more and figure out how to bring that to planning in a way that doesn’t scare people away, because it involves faith, and when it comes to money and emotions, if there’s always a little bit of faith, but to say, “Hey, let’s focus on the things you’re most excited about, and the money will take care of itself.” As a financial advisor, I don’t think there’d be a lot of confidence. But if there’s more that I can prove and more to make that connection of, “Hey, the things that you are most excited about, if you focus in on those, it’s going to make you more productive, it’s gonna make you a better employee, a better spouse. And if you do all of those things, then everything else will kinda come up with it.” And then being able to point to examples and kind of highlight that. So it’s kind of out there, but that’s where I wanna go with the work I’m doing with my existing clients, and then also the things I talk about and write about, is just get more advisors to think beyond the numbers and more to the Whys and the values that our clients have.

0:17:55.9 RH: You left an opening there of two options that people can realize, one is, you realign values, you find yourself being so empowered that you actually do achieve more wealth. But the alternative there is the one I was most interested in, which is where people find that it wasn’t about the money the entire time. They needed less. There was a lot less consumption that was making them happy, and there was a lot more just aligned activity every day that brought joy into their life, and help them realize it was just… They had enough the whole time, they had enough five years ago, they had enough yesterday. That kind of world is really an unexplored frontier for financial advice. It starts… We’re used to a Monte Carlo simulation, and we’re used to a number. Tell me the number, if you give me the number, then I’ll know if I’m done. But it’s kind of a myth. It really is kind of this myth. You’ve seen it, I’ve seen it.

0:19:02.7 RH: If the number becomes the focal point, you can’t ever get it big enough, like it’s… You get a $7 million bonus one year, but you go golfing with your buddy that had a $10 million bonus, and you still feel like you failed if you… There’s just never quite enough to buy that thing that thing that… It’s never gonna be, it’s never gonna… They’re never gonna be filled and kind of happy and centered, and isn’t that kind of the point? If the American Psychology Association is saying money is our number one stressor by a mile in America, and our only outcome is we’re gonna kind of focus as an advisory community on getting more of it and how fast can we get it, and which things can we buy that grow fastest. And you’re dealing in that space right now, where a lot of times the reason people are investing aggressively and perhaps an imbalanced way into crypto, it is for the wrong reason.

Justin Castelli:
Totally.

0:20:01.2 RH: It might be like, “Dude, I gotta get ahead faster.” And it’s like, well, this is a dimension of planning… This is a dimension of finances that needs to be like a holistic part of the picture, but a lot of people are… They’re… Every asset they’re buying and the attempt, the goal is just to accumulate faster and faster and quicker and quicker than anybody else, and that mentality doesn’t lead you to a place where you’re ultimately super, super happy. Anyway, I threw a lot at you there, wanna get, what’s on your mind as it relates to this topic?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, I love so much of what you said and I had so many thoughts come up, so I’ll try to make sure I’m quick and get… Try to get to all of them. One, I think part of the reason that it’s not made its way to financial planning is, that’s not what we have been trained as financial advisors to do. Now, I will say there is a change, and I look at the younger advisors, which it hurts me to say when I look at the younger advisers, ’cause I still think I am a younger advisor, I identify with them. [laughter] But the new class that’s coming in, they are having these conversations. And I think it is a generational thing that the younger generation, for whatever reason, is more interested in experiences and living and having a quality life rather than the material things.

Justin Castelli:
Not to say they don’t like material things, but I just think that they are more focused on… It’s just a different mindset. So I think one of the reasons it’s never been a part of planning is we’ve never been taught that. It started out as a sales business, it transitioned to an advice business, but it was still an advice business that was like the trojan horse to sell. It’s just now really getting to where it’s really about the advice. I think another reason, and you mentioned too, it’s a hard discussion. If you really…

0:21:39.7 RH: It’s uncomfortable. A little uncomfortable for people, right?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah. If you really wanna get to the heart at what you value the most, you can’t avoid bringing in mortality, ’cause that’s the only way, and that’s what Kinder does, that’s the only way you’re gonna really be honest with yourself of what’s most important. If today was your last day, not, what would you do. When you look back over your life, what did you miss out on? What do you regret? What did you not become? Okay, well, good thing is, it’s not your last day, so we can change that. We can make sure that if I ask you that question in five years… There’s always gonna be something we wish we did different, but those major things that popped into your head today, we’ve alleviated that. You’re no longer missing your kids games because you’re taking a job that makes less money and we’ve adjusted your plan for that. Or you re-prioritized something else in your life to make sure you’re doing the things that you said you would regret if you died today. That’s a tough conversation, and I also think most people, because we run this rat race and we don’t take our time to slow down, I don’t think most people know what they really want. I don’t think they know what they value the most.

0:22:39.7 RH: Take some time. Yeah, take some time to actually explore that personally. And if no one’s ever asked you that question, it sometimes takes a while, to unpack.

Justin Castelli:
Yeah. I give my clients those questions ahead of time, that’s the three questions. Kinder says you’re supposed to spring them on them, so that you get that honest reaction. And I tried that, but nine out of 10 times I got blank stairs and I don’t know, and they weren’t ready to open up. And I’ve been introducing… I introduced the questions to clients I had worked with for years and said, “Hey, I wanna get deeper. We’ve done a great job getting your numbers in line, but let’s make sure those numbers are really giving you the life that you want and letting you do the things that are most important. And let’s have these tough conversations.” And, for any advisor listening, the first couple of times you have those conversations, it’s awkward, but the more you have them, the easier it becomes. And it becomes exciting because if you’ve worked with clients for a while, especially if you think you know them, and you start having these conversations, you see things that you didn’t know before, and you get to develop a stronger relationship.

Justin Castelli:
Another reason, I don’t wanna let go of all those relationships, it’s like, they make me better and I don’t wanna get rid of them. And it’s because of the conversations we’ve had. So I think that that’s the direction of planning. If I were coming into the profession today, I would be focusing on those communication skills, learning how to ask those questions, learning how to be a good listener, and then also, I think as an advisor, as we go through these questions, we have to be careful not to project our own views and values on our clients. We have to let them… Even if we don’t agree with it, we have to let them put it out there, and then I think help build the plan for them. It’s not my job to say what you wanna do Reese, is right or wrong. That’s your journey. My job is to help you figure out what you want, and then let’s craft a plan to make sure that we can do that to the best of our ability.

0:24:24.6 RH: In financial advice, we’re forced to kind of face this reality, which more and more, as… Especially as AUM pressure goes up, as AUM pressure increases and the premium or the value premium of managing someone’s money exclusively is driven down through tech. Then it’s exposing kind of… It’s really creating some honest questions for the advisor community left a little bit naked going like, “Well, who am I then?” If I… I’ve always been kind of a hybrid between a functional jobs, manage the money, get the stuff down, open accounts, kind of get the insurance policy. That was always a dimension of what I did, and I always did this other thing that was listening and helping and coaching. But now as the functional jobs kinda get eaten up by tech, whether it’s Lemonade, or whether it’s Robinhood, or whether it’s Coinbase. The functional jobs of doing something with someone’s money, they’re starting to not be as valuable as they once were. 30, 40, 50 years ago, there was value in a broker.

0:25:39.6 RH: Getting someone to buy a stock for you was worth a few hundred bucks because it was kind of a difficult thing to get done, and impossible to get done for a consumer without the internet. But as these functional jobs shrink, I feel like the advisors are having to say, “What makes me worth anything anymore? What am I worth, and how can I deliver value? And what is value to this person?” And it’s really exposing this therapeutic kind of middle ground, friend, counselor, listener, coach, values organizer, priorities organizer. There’s these emotional jobs that need to be done that are different than the functional jobs, and advisors, I think are… This younger generation, especially, if you look at elements and look at our customer base, we just barely started selling our product in the middle of 2021, and the first hundred firms that we brought on, they’re definitely demographically shifting super young.

0:26:41.9 RH: It’s like almost… The older generation of advisors are more hesitant to adopt because they’ve got the status quo business that’s kind of working and they’re like, “I don’t know if I wanna interject this new thing.” And this new thing is more oriented towards these types of conversations. These ones that edge on the life planning/spiritual/values prioritization, coaching, psychology, therapy, and to me, that’s like a really, really interesting space for where we might go, but there’s also very little training and very little experience that people can draw from. And so, it’s kind of the new frontier right now, and I feel like we’re… As an industry, we lack a lot of resources around this. So, I don’t know, I just… I admire your willingness to voice that conversation and bring it up and kind of prioritize it, because it’s… If we’re not adding value there, I think we’re missing a big opportunity. So, anyway, your thoughts on that?

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, one of my original thoughts, was I think that the hero in the relationship is shifting. For so long, the financial advisor was the hero. I provide the solution, I provide the investment, I provide all the answers. And now it’s about, okay, how do we make the client the hero of their journey? So how do we become more of an ally, rather than the focal point? It’s not about us, it’s about our client, and if you really buy in to helping them create a life that they want, then it isn’t about the advisor. Like the… To your point, technology can do a lot of the work for us, but I don’t ever think technology can help a client with those conversations.

0:28:29.3 RH: It’s hard, yeah.

Justin Castelli:
That’s why I think that advisors are safe as far as having our job security, so long as you re-position yourself in how you’re helping. If you’re gonna hang your hat… And so many people say this, but if you’re hanging your hat on the number stuff, there’ll be enough people for a while, but that’s gonna dwindle. Personally, I think that the therapeutic, the spiritual, those conversations, those are way more fun. I can have those conversations all day with clients, and it’s so fun, and it’s rewarding when you see a light bulb go off on a client. When you’re able to help a client express what it is they care about most, or what they wanna do, or talk about a fear they have and help them overcome a fear. That’s another thing. You get to some of the reasons clients make money decisions, maybe they’re doing something out of fear, and if you can get them to open up about it, get that relationship with them, get that fear out on the table and then address it, and maybe you can pull your calculator out and the tools out, and use those to support why they shouldn’t be afraid of that. If you can get that fear away from them and lighten that load, their quality of life just shot up, and that only happened because of you and your relationship. That’s… You can’t put a price on that.

Abby Morton:
Something I often struggle with as an advisor is knowing if I’m doing enough. I tend to wonder, “Do my clients think I’m worth what they are paying me, or am I delivering enough value?” Having used the Elements Financial Planning System for over two years now, this system provides me with the peace of mind, we all need as advisors. Your clients can receive professional easy to comprehend scorecards, focused on key indicators of their financial health. They can actually see how your advice is improving their life. With an occasional update from you. They’ll know you’re right there with them, watching their progress. So come check Elements at getelements.com/meet.

0:30:20.8 RH: Two things here I wanna hit on. One, you talked about the, “Be careful not to project your own set of values on another… On the client.” And that’s really hard to do. I found myself really kind of vulnerable in this area, like listening to other advisors who… My style is pretty intellectual, pretty cerebral, and I kinda don’t… I sometimes get caught just being quiet when someone’s super assertive. They’ll share their life philosophy, and they’ve got a personality that’s larger than life, and I kinda find myself just being like, “Oh man, what am I doing wrong? This person has it all figured out.” And, I’ve had to learn that it’s actually just a style, it’s not… This person’s not… They don’t assume they’ve got it all figured out, they’re just more assertive, they’re more outspoken, they’re excited to share their passion for where they’re coming from. That’s it.

Justin Castelli:
That’s exactly what it is, that they…

0:31:23.6 RH: They’re just excited.

Justin Castelli:
When you’re speaking on your passion, and what you enjoy the most, then you become that way. But like, they’re…

0:31:29.1 RH: Yeah, and you see that with me too. I’m quiet, some moments, then it’s like, “Dude, you just went for like 30 minutes, just rambling.” And you must have hit a chord with that person, you got them on their passion. But that can come across sometimes as… In a client-advisor relationship, if you get caught on your passion too heavily, you’re making your values, the client’s values, it can kind of overpower them and not allow them to be the hero their own journey. So I like that you highlighted that, I think it’s important.

Justin Castelli:
I have to give credit to Scott Frank. So Scott, Frank is the first person I heard say that.

0:32:03.1 RH: I’ve heard Scott say that too, and I appreciate you giving… I didn’t know if maybe George said that.

Justin Castelli:
No…

0:32:09.3 RH: Did George say that? Did Scott say that? I don’t know.

Justin Castelli:
Yeah, I don’t, so I don’t know where Scott got it, but he was the first person that I heard say that. And of all the conversations he and I have had, that’s one of the comments that resonated the most with me. And I always try to… I always try to credit people who say it first, because I don’t want them thinking I stole it, so that’s all Scott.

0:32:25.3 RH: That’s nice of you, yeah.

Justin Castelli:
But yeah, I do think it’s… And I think it’s self-awareness. And I think that’s an area that I have grown as an individual over the last few years, is just being more self-aware. And when you as the advisor have that awareness of, okay, now I’m projecting, you can pull back. The tough thing is, I do think sometimes clients wanna know what we personally think…

0:32:48.0 RH: Well yes.

Justin Castelli:
Because they use it as a benchmark. So I always… I always disclaim it, like, “Hey, this is not meant to tell you what you need to do. But because you’re asking, here’s the way I view it.” Because part of learning is getting other perspectives and maybe our clients do need to hear our perspective to change their views on things and move forward. So I don’t think it’s you never share your personal thoughts or beliefs, but it’s… It can’t always be about you.

0:33:11.9 RH: Well, and that’s… Some clients will select a financial advisor because of that. They lean towards the person that they kind of feel like gets them or understands them, understands who they are, and… So it’s not… I think it’s just… The finding the balance is important there.

0:33:31.6 RH: And you brought up this question of, this, “What’s your purpose? What are your values? Get true alignment.” Really diving into that. I don’t think clients are expecting that conversation, I don’t think they’re expecting you to challenge their status quo, thinking. They’re coming to you thinking, “He’s gonna give me some numbers stuff.” as you put it. And the more that we can actually share the truth about money with them and what… How it edges more towards a bigger conversation. This is a much bigger conversation than the numbers, I think that’s where our trust is built. For some reason, I just feel that’s such an important thing to learn as advisors, and it plays into this conversation around what’s the future advisor look like, who are they? And… Anyway, I wanna get your reaction to some of that philosophy, and then we’ll go on to the last question before we wrap up.

Justin Castelli:
I think another opportunity for advisors to build that rapport with future clients, potential future clients, is documenting some of your own journey publicly. So I’m pretty open with what I do and what I think, and I share those things. And I have a show on my podcast, so All About Your Benjamins is my podcast for the individual, the consumer. And I have a Friday who I’m calling a show called The Pursuit. And it’s just me, I sit down in front of my desk in front of the camera for 25 minutes or so, and I just talk about this concept of pursuing passions and it’s almost therapeutic for me. I’m sharing what I’m learning, I’m sharing these thoughts, I try to put it together in a story, but it’s me sharing and then I am practicing what I preach. I’m currently looking at my life and enough, like I… I think I’m at a point of enough for right now, and I’m re-calculating everything that I’m doing. Do I need to be doing it all? Or are there things I would regret, if… I had that conversation asked to me in a year, would there be things I could change today that I would end up regretting in the future? So I’ll be documenting it.

Justin Castelli:
As I work through and I make changes to my professional life and things that I’m tackling and maybe rain back on some things, that’ll all be documented on my podcast, that’ll all be document in my writing. So that while I’m telling you you should do it, you can go check my record and you can see that, “Okay, publicly he said this is where he’s at. And then look, he went and did that. He actually is doing what he says.” And that just brings more credibility, and I also think it’s a proof of concept. Then now I can go to the client say, “Look, I know this is hard. I did X, which meant I lost Y. But it allowed me to do these things and I’m better off for it. And because I’m doing these things, the money stuff ended up working itself back out, back to what we talked about before.” So I do think there is benefit if you’re comfortable as an advisor, being more transparent than others and just kind of sharing your personal journey as a part of what it is you’re doing, because then it’s… You’re practicing what you preach.

0:36:30.5 RH: Man, I love that. And good for you for trying to share. It’s tough to be… Initially, it’s really hard, I think, to go there. After a while, you can get a little bit more used to it once you realize how, I think important and impactful that can be in the world, when you share that. It’s just… It really does make a difference, in how people can process their own pain, what they’re going through, the challenges they’re facing, it’s a big deal. So thanks for doing that, I appreciate that. And I’m sure a lot of your listeners do too.

Justin Castelli:
It’s… One final comment and then we’ll go. It is weird to talk about yourself. For a while, it was hard for me, ’cause I didn’t want it to be about me or egotistical. But then once you do it, and to your point, the feedback loop, once you hear people say, “Hey, I really appreciate that, that helped me.” And then you’re like, “Okay, my story might not be for everybody, but it’s for somebody. And it helps somebody out, so now I wanna keep on going to see if I could help more people.”But it is hard to talk about yourself. It’s hard to sit in front of the camera. I never listen to my podcast, I never watched my videos, [laughter] I never listen to it back. I recorded and go and then I go on to the next one.

0:37:41.7 RH: Otherwise you’ll edit too much, and you get nervous, you’re like, “Ah, nevermind, I’ll delete that.” I found that I just can’t allow myself to get too heavy-handed with editing myself or just, nothing ever gets published. You just have put anything out there. I just appreciate the work you’re doing, I love what you guys are doing in the advisor community at ASG, I love the work you’re doing an Onramp, it’s super creative to kind of get on the forefront of helping bring crypto and DeFi into the advisor mindset. And, appreciate you continuing to do work as an advisor to actual clients and feeling the goodness of that and putting content out there just, it’s a great… You’re a great addition to the industry and just really appreciate all the effort you’re putting in, man. So, what final words would you like to give to the audience before you let them go today?

Justin Castelli:
Well, first, I wanna say thank you for all those kind words. But I would just end with, I really do believe in centering yourself on your passions. And when I say that, people make… They make light of pursuing your passions and like, “Oh, you can’t make a career out of it.” Centering yourself on your passions doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your career. For some people, their passion is, it’s something they do in their life that brings them happiness, that offsets the job that they don’t necessarily love. I just happen to be fortunate enough that my passions align with what it is that I do everyday, and I’m really, really lucky. But I think if you take the time to really be honest with yourself and understand what makes you the happiest, what are the things that…

Justin Castelli:
Who are the people, what are the activities that make you happiest and try to figure out how you can center your life to do as many of those things as possible. And watch what happens as a consequence of all that. I think it’ll be a positive thing and you’ll be surprised. And once you start to see that work and you begin to understand how that focus can take you in the right direction, it becomes easier to pour more and more into it. So, I would just say, don’t shy away from your passions, find a way to put those things at the center of your life and pour into them, and I think good things will come from it.

0:39:49.2 RH: Well, thanks so much, Justin, really appreciate it man. Will look forward to catching up with you in person sometime. Thanks so much for all you’re doing.

Abby Morton:
Next time on Elementality.

Reese Harper:
We have to start breaking down all the stuff that we’re doing into smaller steps. We’re doing so much for people that they don’t even see, and yet the part that they value, we’re not even getting around to half the time. What they value is the communication with the service provider and the insight you provide. They don’t always… They don’t value to the same degree that… And you’re gonna do everything for me, so I don’t have to lift a finger. I mean they… Yes, they do value that, but if you were to say, “Which one’s more important?” They value the conversations.

Abby Morton:
You can learn more about the Elements Financial Planning System at getelements.com/meet, and schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Matt Glazer. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Haynes. Have a good one.

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