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The Disciplined Approach to Rapid Firm Growth With Jim Crider

There are not many careers that require as many diverse talents as financial planning. Today’s advisor needs to be able to mix skills in coaching, consulting, listening, and knowing how to ask the right questions to be able to help a new generation live better financial lives. It’s not a mixture of abilities easy to define—and one that doesn’t come from a single, specific degree.

On this Elementality podcast, Reese Harper interviews Jim Crider of Intentional Living FP. Hear how Jim built his RIA firm on the fast-track and why his background, a disciplined approach based on learning from others, and Elements® is leading to his success. As the industry grows and transforms, it’s attracting an eclectic mix of people who are actively defining a new value proposition for planning.

 

Show Notes
www.IntentionalLivingFP.com
JimCriderTX on Twitter

 


Podcast Transcript

Jim Crider:
With the limited information I had, I ran as fast as I could towards that, yet had open hands enough to say “If this takes me somewhere different, let’s go there, but I’m not going to sit here on my laurels and wait, I’m gonna pursue it and be willing and able to pivot as well”. So that’s what I’ve done every time. Hey, do I wanna get my CFA or my CFP? Oh, I wanna go with my CFP? Bam, let’s attack it. I got my CFP fast. Do I wanna move, stay at Fidelity or go to a firm that can have more in-depth? I’m going. So I just ran for it. Again, do I wanna start my own firm or I don’t wanna sit back? Well, one of the top regrets I heard in all those podcasts was, “I wish I would have started this sooner.” I started as soon as I could. I left my old job and started this thing two weeks before I had my third kid and my wife stays at home with our kids. Like, I couldn’t have done this faster.

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.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. I’m your host, Reese Harper. Excited to have a guest on today that I’ve known for a while and has done a great job of getting a start-up off the ground. Welcome, Jim Crider to the show. How you doing, Jim?

Jim Crider:
Reese, I’m doing great. Thanks for having me. This is awesome, and an honor, and a pleasure.

Reese Harper:
Well, I think you’ve had a lot of good experiences that I think a lot of younger advisors will be able to relate to, and let’s kick off a little bit with just your background prior to starting your current firm, maybe back up just a little bit and give us a little bit of background and context.

Jim Crider:
Yeah, I started in the industry at Fidelity Investments. I was there for five or so years. One of my roles, I was a retirement planner, I worked primarily with physicians on their retirement planning. I left there to… I wanted to be able to have more in-depth conversations with my clients and help them more than you’re allowed to at a large retail firm, so I left there, and I went to an RIA as a lead advisor and definitely enjoyed it. I worked with most… The typical clients of financial planners. I was working with people who were probably about to retire or just retired, and we did good deep financial planning work, but again, I recognize there, and I’d recognize based on my whole life, I’m a really bad employee. I’m really opinionated. And when I have convictions, I’m gonna follow them. So I knew the writing was on the wall, and I would eventually leave and start my own firm.

Reese Harper:
Most people come into financial planning from a variety of industries, it’s an eclectic group of people that end up showing up at the door. This isn’t like a place where… It’s not like dental school, where most people are either… They’re chemistry, they’re bio, they’ve got an undergrad that’s a related track to then taking the DAT and then going to dental school, and this is like an industry where… I was a music major, and then I got my master’s in finance because I got so into it. But I didn’t… I knew music wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure, and then I’m incredibly unqualified for the career, and most advisors… There’s some of you out there who are like, “Dude, you idiot?” I had my… I knew I had… I had my undergrad in financial planning from Texas Tech, and then I did my master’s in financial planning, I did my PhD in financial planning. It’s like, yes, there are some of you, but most of the people that I meet, didn’t really have a track that was real precise going into this, they just loved… Something to do with education, something to do with talking to people, something to do with literacy…

Jim Crider:
Obviously, it’s really… Here in the financial planing space is this meeting of technical information, but then you’re dealing with people. That’s why I wanted to teach in school, especially…

Reese Harper:
It’s a really interesting intersection. Isn’t it? Super interesting.

Jim Crider:
Yeah. We get to live and help people with what’s important to you in life, and then how do I take this tangible thing that’s not gonna change, how do I take this and help it align with that? Gosh, I love my job, and yeah, I agree. Most people I know, yeah, there’s gonna be the Michael Kitces and people like there… Out there, just super analytical and come about it from there, but I think that’s the anomaly. Most people I know that are actually really good and really passionate and have a sustaining passion for this job don’t do it out of like, Oh, I like the numbers, but rather, “Man, I really wanna help people.” My best friend in the industry, he has his undergrad in theology and his graduate degree in psychology, and he recognized that, man, I wanna help people have healthy money conversations, and there’s a place of supporting that. It’s not just a… I’m not a psychologist per se, but I wanna help them unpack this area, but then actually bring help along the way using the technical skills.

Reese Harper:
It’s important for us to be empathic or empathetic to this plight of… We’re asking advisors to not only get a pretty serious amount of financial literacy, financial education, like for me to get a masters’ degree in finance, I was working with business owners, so understanding venture capital, understanding how to structure and run and operate a business, how balance sheets need to look from a corporate level, I had to go down that track on top of my CFP, on top of a bunch of other credentials that I don’t use, that I don’t like to put on my business card because they don’t… Unfortunately, the bar wasn’t quite as high as I would like it to be for me to get those credentials, so let’s say I’ve got a boatload of credentials, but then on top of that, I had to pick up skills that are equally as deep in coaching and consulting and listening and writing. And you have to become a writer, you have become a good listener, you have to ask the right questions, you have to learn how to coach and have an aspect of psychology in your job in order to… At least, if nothing else, therapy, an aspect of therapy and your job, and we don’t…

Reese Harper:
There’s not very many careers that have that much breadth. That’s a really wide set of skills. And on top of that, if you’re gonna start your own business, then on top of that, you don’t even have an MBA… And then the thing that I find interesting is that we… Because we’re kind of like financial experts, then… The public assumes when you’re a financial person, you like know how to run a business, but it’s like, dude, running a business and… Finance is a separate function inside of most businesses. It’s not like finance and business management are the same, like operations and marketing and demand gen, and all this coordination of department heads and trying to build a company, that’s really hard too. So I just think financial planner… There’s a reason the success rate’s quite low, but it really does bring a unique person into the industry that has an eclectic set of interests, they get really spread thin trying to do everything, and it’s fun to watch how much education they have to gain in order to be successful in a lot of disciplines. So I don’t know, I just wanted to see what your comments were on that.

Jim Crider:
Yeah, man, I know I never get bored. I basically end every workday with “Gosh, I love what I do.” If I won the lottery today, I’d keep doing it. I think I end every workday with “Man, I wish I had more time to work,” ’cause there’s a lot to do, but it’s all different. It’s so much fun. Yeah, we’re going from super analytical portfolio construction and tax strategy to, obviously, like, as a business owner is looking at SEO and work on your website and… Yeah, it’s just… You’re all over the place. It’s so much fun.

Reese Harper:
Well, let’s go to stage two of this, which is, you go through Fidelity, you get some good experience there, you work for an RIA, you get good experience there, you launch a firm. What was the hardest thing that you have had to deal with from launching your firm? If you think back to the hardest moment, or the hardest day, or the hardest week, the hardest topic, what is the thing that’s been the hardest for you in this initial journey? You’ve been really successful getting it off the ground. What’s been the most challenging part?

Jim Crider:
This sounds… It sounds super arrogant, but I’ve been a student of this industry since I got in. I was lucky enough to stumble on Kitces, and I’ve listened to every Kitces podcast multiple times, and I’ve read… Whenever I hear someone I like, I reach out to him. And that’s how I met you. I heard your episode on Kitces, and I was like, “Gosh, I’ve gotta talk to this guy.” So I’ve been a student of the industry for long enough and heard so many regrets that I, fortunately, up to this point, have been able to glean from other people’s successes and regrets and mistakes that I’ve been able to sidestep those decently well. So right at this point, I don’t honestly… And again, I don’t wanna sound arrogant, but I don’t feel like I’ve really had a bad day yet. Now, where I’m at currently is probably the… I’m currently in a struggle at this exact moment, and I’ve talked to you a little bit about this, but when I first started thinking about doing this years and years ago, I thought, “Man, I think I would wanna start a big firm” and the reason I’d wanna go start a large, at least regional, if not national RIA is, if I… The more people I can reach, the more people I can rescue from these bad places.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, have an impact.

Jim Crider:
Exactly, and so that… I was there, and then I took a pendulum swing to the lifestyle practice, take it easy, have a good set of clients and call it a day. So I was there for a while, and now recently, I saw a billboard recently for the lottery, and it was like half a billion dollars. And it just got me thinking like, Man, if I won the lottery, what would I do? And one, I know that I would keep working, but then I just started thinking about, well, if I had… Let’s say my wife said, “Jim, you can take $100 million and put it toward your business,” I thought, “Well, what would I do with that? Would I hire a massive team immediately and just try to scale this thing? Would I step out and just continue working with my existing clients and take it really easy and just do it for fun?” That really challenged me to think about the vision I’m casting for my business. So that’s what I’m struggling with right now, is, how do I wanna grow this? And then what are the best steps to take depending on the route I wanna go? If I’m gonna keep it small, I’m gonna market and hire and do all these things way different than if I wanna grow large. Now, fortunately, I’m 31, I have a lot of time to make these decisions, but obviously time is a big factor with growth and compounding, so the sooner you can make these decisions, the more successful it’ll be.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, do you think it’s possible to know what it is that you want it to look like at this stage? Do you think you’re gonna get to a place where you’ll be able to make a decision and then not change your mind?

Jim Crider:
Eventually. I’m trying to take it in the same route I’ve taken up to this point, so going back to my story, I just want to help people have healthy money conversations and align their money with what’s important to them. I don’t know what a CFP is, and there’s a technical thing around this. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I took a job at Fidelity, answering people’s phone calls, ’cause they locked themselves out of the 401K plan online. That was step one. And from there, once I was at the job, it was, “Okay, what’s the next thing?” Well, how do I actually help people talk about their money, not their password? Okay, so I found someone at Fidelity who knew more than I did, said, “What do I need to do?” “Well, you need to get these licenses and go into this very rudimentary role that talks to people about their 401k investments.” Alright, I went there, so I got that job, and I got those licenses. And then I heard about the CFP, said “alright, well, gosh, I better get my CFP” so I went and signed up for that. And then from there, that’s exactly when I stumbled on Kitces, so I started listening… Gobbling up these podcasts and learning about this industry and how… What real financial planning is way more. At that point, I love my job, but when I stumbled on what real financial planning is, I was like, “Gosh, I thought I liked this, but now I like it that much more.” So each time I didn’t…

Jim Crider:
With the limited information I had, I ran as fast as I could towards that, yet had open hands, enough to say If this takes me somewhere different, let’s go there, but I’m not going to sit here on my laurels and wait, I’m gonna pursue it and be willing and able to pivot as well. So that’s what I’ve done every time, like “Hey, do I wanna get my CFA or my CFP? Oh, I wanna go with my CFP? Bam, let’s attack it, I got my CFP fast. Do I wanna move, stay at Fidelity, or go to a firm that can have more in-depth? I’m going, so I just ran for it. Again, do I wanna start my own firm or I don’t wanna sit back? Well, one of the top regrets I heard in all those podcasts was, “I wish I would have started this sooner.” Well, I started as soon as I could, I left my old job and started this thing two weeks before I had my third kid and my wife stays at home with our kids. I couldn’t have done this faster. So again, I’m not trying to be brash, the way I’m pursuing things, but I’m trying to run after it, also while making decisions over time, recognizing the more I… The further in I get, the more information I’ll have to make a better, more informed decision.

Reese Harper:
You’re in the middle of it, you’re in the generation that is definitely stereotypically choosing the simplest, highest profits, lowest hours of output option possible, like that’s… Every 15-year-old or 14-year-old I talk to today is, that’s all they’re telling me, is like, I’m gonna do whatever I can do to make the most amount of money in the least amount of hours. That’s like the stereotype right now, and nothing wrong with that, maybe that’s the right way to live, like maybe that’s the good life, maybe that’s balance, maybe that is the right… The healthy approach to take, and I have something… We have something to learn from that point of view, and then there’s the other side of this, if everyone ran a business that only employed themselves and service 50 clients, the 120 million households in the country that want service, only about 5 million of them would get service. It won’t reach a larger demographic of people, and so because I’m painting the picture of the other side, which is, you’ve got a 120 million households in the country, only 10 million of them right now get help, and if all… If every service provider is saying, “The goal here is fewer clients, higher profitability, less hours,” then America’s finances definitely don’t get healthier, right?

Jim Crider:
I agree. Where the conflict here is, I’m pretty prototypical of my client, and I guess I am cliche of my generation, I want… Again, I’m 31. I want the optionality to not have to work by the time I’m 45. Now, again, I don’t expect to just quit at 45, that’d be… I think I’d be really bored, but I want the ability to not have to. And I really like to spend time with my family, obviously, so having the freedom and flexibility to be able to do that is important to me. However, I have this… So that… I guess that would line up more with a lifestyle practice. It’s highly profitable, and live below our means, we can set aside, and I can stop working at 45, and between now and then I’m not missing out on my kids before they’re out of the house. But then you have the other side of the pendulum, is this building a large business, and what’s pulling me there is having an impact on more people. I got into this industry not because I can make boocoos of money and stop working at 45. That’s not what… I got into this, so I could actually help people. And again, the larger the practice I build, the more impact I can have, the bigger the reach, and I would love that.

Reese Harper:
Well, you’re doing all the right steps to get there, and I think those are important considerations. I used to see them as mutually exclusive, meaning I used to see… I had to go through a lot of therapy and coaching in my own career to be able to have my mind open to the fact that I could have a large business and a lifestyle. I used to think that they were just polar opposites, ’cause when you’re at the stage where you’re at where you’re like, you’re getting this thing off the ground, you’ve got it off the ground, but you’re still in the tension of infrastructure and human capital, it’s a pretty heavy amount of pressure on one person to kind of handle. And I just remember thinking like, “Dude, I’ve gotta… Soon as I get to 50 clients, and it’s finally dialed, that’s when I’m gonna shut it down.” And when I got to that point, it was the same… The same challenge was there, I didn’t… I was having people continue to come to me that didn’t have quite enough money or they didn’t have quite enough resources to be my biggest client, but they maybe weren’t the smallest either, or maybe they were the smallest.

Reese Harper:
And I just had a hard time saying no, I can’t help you. No, there’s no way. And eventually it seemed like Dentist Advisors got to a point where it was big enough for me to not need to work again, but I wasn’t the advisor anymore, but it took… They were different focuses, it was… When you’re building a practice that’s high profitability, high margin, high net worth client, that’s the best way to get a lifestyle book put together. But if you’re trying to get maximum impact and get an enterprise off the ground that eventually can sustain you without maybe you being the advisor, you can’t be as selective with both the billing that you charge because you’re not even charging billing for yourself anymore. Now, you have to decide what fee’s appropriate for someone who’s got half your experience or a third of your experience, like what…

Reese Harper:
When you pair a client with an advisor and they pay a fee, and you can only give that new advisor a portion of the fee, then you have to ask the question, What’s the right mix here, what’s the balance of… You saw this with your RIA that you were employed at. You saw this at Fidelity. Tell me about… As I paint the picture of those two extremes, or those two business models, if you had to pick today, where are you gonna go build? What does your heart tell you? There’s not a right or wrong. Even though I just tried to advocate for my experience in some degree, I just wanna make sure I’m not sounding judgy. It’s…

Jim Crider:
Yeah, if there was a gun to my head and said, “You just have to make a decision right now,” I would lean towards building an enterprise that I’m eventually able to be the visionary for, ’cause to be able to… Again, it comes down to how many people can have a positive impact on…

Reese Harper:
Its reach, right?

Jim Crider:
Exactly. That’s gonna come through scale and reach, so I would… That’s where I’m at right now, but again, I want the ability for me to… I think the hesitancy there again was I also held these as polar opposites and said, “Well, if I build something big, that means I’m captive to this business, and will work endless hours.” You need to picture a guy who’s on the 50th story of a downtown office slaving away all the time. It’s like, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, it doesn’t have to be.

Jim Crider:
Look at you, you’re wildly successful and you’re sitting here with a T-shirt on. So yeah, [chuckle] I think that’s where I’d like to be. So I’m actively… Right now, I’m in the thick of it, at this moment. I am, I’m starting to get real busy…

Reese Harper:
Well, look, man, I love that. I love that you’re trying, because here’s the thing, is that that pain… I think if you go through the… What I found at least, is that you can get to the lifestyle practice faster and with less pain, but it also then does limit your reach and your impact. You do have a deep impact, like some would argue, you have a deeper impact, ’cause you can be as intimately involved in these 50 people, these 100 peoples’ lives, as you would in your employee’s lives or your company that… Your business, and I don’t wanna say that there’s a right or wrong here. For each person, I think there’s just a unique path that you’re wired to go down, but I think it’s important that if someone does have aspiration to build an enterprise that’s larger than a lifestyle practice, which I did, then again, for me, it wasn’t about the money. It was about the reach, it was about the impact, about finding a way to not say no to a client with less means, but the pain to go there, you go through different pain, like more pain you go through to get to that place, but eventually there is a financial reward for that. But the pain is pretty challenging along the way.

Jim Crider:
That’s alright. I’m a masochist anyways. [chuckle] Bring it on.

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Reese Harper:
You’re feeling it though, right? You called me the other day and you’re like, “Gotta figure out this marketing strategy, or I’ve gotta figure out maybe this consulting model, ’cause I wanna look at these different options of how to grow my firm and for my infrastructure, and what kind of number two, strong number two, do I need.” You deal with different pain if you’re thinking bigger.

Jim Crider:
Exactly, and that’s where, again, anytime I talk to people like, “Oh, you don’t have to make this decision now,” [chuckle] I can always change my mind. But again, each action I take is going to start stepping me down one road or the other, so I would like to not waste steps in an ideal world, and that’s gonna come about with what… From the get go, I’ve built my firm intentionally.

0:23:57.5 RH: Yeah, I can tell.

Jim Crider:
Yeah. Again, I’ve heard so much feedback from others, I wanted to make sure that each step I take is done intentionally, not just haphazardly. So with this, if I’m gonna grow, I want to have in-depth relationships with my clients, while also personally, and then I wanna make sure the financial planning is there, it is intimately involved in your life, and truly deep, not just surface level, we’re gonna set up an account, we’ll talk to you in a year, which is, again, that’s the benefit of lifestyle practice, you can serve a handful of clients and do that. Is it possible? And if so, how do I do that on a lifestyle practice? I know you recently had, was it, Scott Frank on, talking about the Kinder questions. I don’t know of a large firm that does the vote process, is that possible? ‘Cause that’s really in-depth five planning, can you do that across a couple of thousand clients? I don’t know, but I think I wanna find out. And that’s where I’m at, “How do I make intentional decisions along the way to build an in-depth life financial planning business that’s able to scale?” It’s not about the profitability, so… Yeah, I think that’s what I’m working on right now, is building that.

Reese Harper:
I think we need a few… In the industry, I think we need a few people like that, more than exclusively. I’m gonna paint the worst extreme here of the lifestyle practice, okay? The lifestyle practice, in its worst extreme, could be viewed very similar to the product pushing wirehouse insurance-based model, okay, where you’ve got a product, that product is going to be highest margin possible with the least amount of work, and that’s your actual underlying focus as an individual, is least amount of work for the most amount of money. And for me, that’s not where we end up helping more people. What that ends up doing is just shifting the margin from one conflict of interest to another, which you can argue that the conflict of interest of a fee-only RIA that’s trying to do high margin and work three hours a year per client, that’s not like… That’s better than whole life. But it’s also not… You’re not asking the question of like, am I improving the financial health of my customer, am I improving the number of households that can have access to care? In the medical industry, they talk about that a lot, access to care, it’s like how we’re going to create better access to more preventative care to more people that don’t have access, and I think that that’s…

Reese Harper:
I like hearing people at least try to think about their business in those terms, if nothing else, as part of their social mission, maybe. If you choose to have a really high margin lifestyle practice, can you have a social mission that then helps you be part of the solution as well? I just think when it gets too selfish and it becomes too concentrated on our own lives to get the most of what we need and kind of at the expense sometimes of giving more access to more people for more financial wellness, I just would like to see us balance our desire for being with our families and having a good income with making the industry a lot better as well, just a nice happy medium. So I appreciate you at least trying to look at this and say, “What about reach, where does reach play into my decisions?” And the reason I wanted to have this interview is I just really feel like that’s the… It’s a big choice that people have to make, and it does affect the CRM you pick, and it does affect the marketing strategy you pick, and it affects the consulting groups that you’re in, and it affects the way you build your infrastructure and who you hire first, and who you hire second, and who you hire third, and so… Anyway, your thoughts on that?

Jim Crider:
No, I completely agree. That’s where, again, I’m trying to do this intentionally. And that’s… Heck, using Elements. I started using Elements for all of my clients early on because I knew it was gonna save me a lot of time and make my work a lot more efficient, but also it’s gonna allow for efficiencies, but also get me, in my opinion, a more in-depth look, on an ongoing basis, for my client’s financial life. So starting with when I had one client, I started going for this, knowing that eventually I would like to scale this to thousands of clients, so each little thing, the way I onboard a client, the way I engage with them on a monthly basis, or the cadence of our meeting schedules, what I’m doing behind the scenes, again, I’m trying to do this as if I had a large enterprise while it’s still small.

Reese Harper:
And the mistakes that get magnified over time, or the good decisions get magnified, you 500… I’ve seen this the hard way, you put 500 clients on a model that you used to be doing with 50 clients, and you start to see where your assumptions were off on your labor cost, or your planning time, or your prep time, or you start to see that your margin is not as good as you thought on this deliverable, or it’s better than you thought, and you’re making more money than you realized on certain clients, and it’s just… I think that’s really important to be intentional as you’re small because you’ll wake up five years from now and you’ll be like, I’m big, I’m big now, and all of these decisions I made, I can’t just like switch them, I can’t just flip a switch and change everything, it’s a big ship now and it’s hard to steer it.

Jim Crider:
Well, going off that point, I think it’s very indicative of the type of work we do for our clients. It’s a traditional financial planners for the longest time where, hey, be successful in whatever you think you wanna do, and then once you’re successful, then we’ll come and help you manage that.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. [chuckle]

Jim Crider:
That’s what I could do if I found that, to make the illustration, I can grow this business in whatever decision I make, and once I’m there, I can sort of just coast and call it a day, but the type of work I do for my clients is… Let’s get very clear on the vision that you have, so as we navigate these decisions, we’re able to take action that’s aligned with what you actually want, and that’s where I’m at now, is not just helping myself in that analogy, but… Once I’m there, but actually making informed decisions along the way. That’s where I’m at, and not just looking back and saying like, “Alright, well, I made it.” No, it’s… Let’s… We do that with clients, we craft a plan to help them navigate from early on to build success and then help them manage it once they’re there. So that’s what I’m trying to do. And then you mentioned earlier some of the  ____, I thought was… When I think of a very valuable noble physician practice, I think of the Mayo Clinic, it’s like, “Well, they did something that allows them to do world renowned work.”

Jim Crider:
How were they able to do that? And they do it at reasonable scale, and they do really great work, and if you go there, you’re gonna trust that you’re in the best hands. How were they able to do that? And there’s processes… They have very clear processes in place that allow them to scale and help lots of people, but… So they were… They were very disciplined in their core beliefs, while also able to… They’re disciplined in their core beliefs and also disciplined in their execution, and that’s where, as I grow, I have to remain disciplined in these areas, that’s where I started off with a niche. I only work with this type of client and I regularly get people reaching out for other things, and I have to remind myself, “Yeah, this would be really profitable and help me grow, but in the long haul, it would hurt me,” so I have to be disciplined about my vision, and I have to be disciplined in my actions to make sure they’re aligned along the way, so eventually I have systems that are actually built on discipline to support the vision for where I’m at.

Reese Harper:
The larger firms right now, I think, see this challenge coming, which is all of the work that we’ve done historically has been oriented around this retirement conversation, like once you have the money, come to me, and I’ll show you how long it’s gonna last and what we’re gonna do with it. And the next generations doesn’t… Those calculators are now available online, and what they’re looking for is an actual relationship that marries psychology, and money, and goals, and life planning and… Advisor investments gets this too, they do a great job, but there’s a lot of advisors in this, like I’ve got the money, I’m sitting on it and I’m just gonna wait and see if people leave, and they’re not engaged in any kind of proactive planning process with their clients, they’re just managing assets. And people like you, you’re tackling your business from a totally different angle, where you’re just saying, “How do I find this marriage between therapy and life and behavioral economics and psychology and money, and I want my clients to be happy?” We’re just trying to get people to live in the present, enjoy their lives and make good financial decisions. Man, that business is also much more complicated to price, if that makes sense, right?

Jim Crider:
That makes plenty of sense.

Reese Harper:
Much more complicated to price. [chuckle] And using software, like all the software and the systems that have been built, whether it’s Black Diamond to that recall Peloton like 2000 and whatever. That was like, ’04, ’05, ’06. You’ve got these existing systems and planning software and investment systems that are geared around this old value proposition, and then you have the new value proposition, and there’s like, what do we have to work with in that new value proposition? ‘Cause all of us are trying to define it. Right now, it’s trying to be defined like we’re actively defining the new value prop, it’s not like it’s… Oh, well, it’s like Reese has been doing it for a few years at Dentist Advisors, you know. But it’s like… But he’s still got… I’m still struggling. My RIA, we’re still like trying to define, well, do you ever not do something when someone calls? Is there like a limit here? ‘Cause it’s bleeding into so much of their life, and you’re pricing this on… It’s not à la carte, usually, it’s usually like subscription fees or AUM, and there’s a fixed amount of revenue coming in with an unlimited amount of requests, and the better job you do, the more the customer kind of values the end advisor, so you have like really, really high retention, and you have the ability to charge a lot more, which I’ve seen.

Reese Harper:
We can charge quite a bit, but you also end up delivering a lot and just the intention that you’re pursuing each detail with along the way really starts to magnify itself over time, and everything from whether you use Salesforce, [chuckle] can you imagine Salesforce is like, this thing was built for such a different use case and we’re… And it’s quite a heavy lift in terms of what… I have to manage that thing, like a full-time developer on staff to custom-build it or taken out of the box solution, it’s like not your process for your end customer. I’m just admiring how much work it is for this next generation of advisors to build this truly custom dynamic future of planning, hybrid life coaching, hybrid, George Kinder, Amy Mullen, Money Quotient. This is where it’s headed, right? And it’s complicated to build. So I’m just a big admirer of what you’re doing and kind of aware of how hard it is, so…

Jim Crider:
Yeah, it’s fun. Again, I’m fortunate enough to hear so many conversations that inside I’ve been able to have through these kind of conversations with other advisors has been priceless, and I’ve heard the mistakes and the success stories and all that stuff, but at the same time, I’m building something that’s so different than what’s been built historically that I’m having to scrap a lot of things. You mentioned Black Diamond and financial planning softwares and all that, I’m not using a financial planning software, and I’m not using a lot of the traditional tools because it would be… Again, I’m 31, and if I tell eMoney or MoneyGuidePro that I wanna retire at 45, and my current net worth and my income right now is zero, I’m not paying myself [chuckle] for the first 12-18 months of building this thing. So if I told eMoney that hey, I’m not taking a salary, I’m 31, and I wanna stop working at 45 and, oh yeah, I wanna have a house in Jackson Hill, give me a fat deuce of success.

Reese Harper:
The whole… And I think you find that a lot of people in their accumulation years, it’s almost discouraging, or offensive, or limiting, maybe is a better word, it feels very limiting for a system to tell you this is the definition of success. And here are the inputs and you don’t match up with that, and so I think that you’re seeing that with how they… What type of technology, the accumulator, next gen, X, Y, Z client, what they’re asking for. And most of you can probably gauge that Jim’s working with that generation, he’s working with the X, Y, Z accumulator, high income, medium income, and some retirees, but it’s like, this is a philosophy for the next generation of client, and they don’t want the same thing that the traditional value proposition has delivered, and so challenging. Anyway, man, I’ll let you leave here with the last word, but I just think it’s been a fascinating conversation, people should know that you’ve gotten this business off the ground incredibly quick compared to most people, you’ve had a good… You’ve been able to justify a healthy fee structure compared to how I got my business off the ground, I wasn’t even charging any subscription fee or anything for quite a while, I was starting it from an AUM-only place, and a lot of time I wasn’t getting paid hardly anything.

Reese Harper:
You’re definitely a step ahead of where I was, and you hope that for every… I mean I’m not that much older than you. I’m 39 and you’re 31. But you hope that every generation learns from the previous one and actually avoids some of the pain that they could have, that they listen and they see, like okay, I might pull from that and do this and pull from that, and I think you’ve been a good student of a lot of people, so congrats. Thanks for being on, and I’ll let you leave everybody with the last word.

Jim Crider:
Yeah well, Reese, again, I’m so grateful for you and the people of… I’m standing on the shoulders of giants who have gone before me. So I really do appreciate it. And yeah, I encourage if you’re… Anyone listening to this, goes and makes decisions, one, don’t neglect the vast amount of value that’s available to learn from other people who have done this stuff before you, who have failed and succeeded. We’re in a situation now that we have resources available that generations before couldn’t imagine. You go to the library and you read about something that happened 50 years ago, rather than like in real time hear what’s going on in someone’s life on the marketing scheme or as they build a practice.

Jim Crider:
So utilize that, and I don’t know, I guess I’m maybe telling you the advice I’d give myself, but… And this is what I tell people who are younger than me. If you’re trying to figure out what you wanna do, just try to get clear on what you think you wanna do, run after that, and by running after what you think you want, it’ll become a lot more clear. If that is what you want, well, then you’ll have further clarity to keep going, or you’ll quickly realize that this is something I don’t want and you’ll be able to pivot. You don’t wanna just sit there for a long time in limbo ’cause you’ll not be able to make a decision. So just go after things, run after it, do well, and yeah, it’s a great industry we get to work in. I’m really, really grateful.

Reese Harper:
Well, tell people where they can find you and chase you down if they wanna get in touch.

Jim Crider:
Yeah, well you can follow me on Twitter @JimCriderTX as in Texas. I mostly rant about Bitcoin on there, so you’ll have to put up with that, which I know ticks off a lot of financial planners, but you gotta deal with that. [laughter] Or you can go to my website, it’s Intentional Living FP as in financial planning. So IntentionalLivingfp.com, and on there on my home page, you’ll see my calendar. Feel free to put time on there. I’d be more than happy to chat and answer questions or hear from you. Most people who listen to this probably have way more insight than I do, so I’d love to hear any thoughts that you have.

Reese Harper:
Well thanks, Jim. It’s been a great convo. Appreciate you taking the time and look forward to watching all your success on going. So thanks again for coming on.

Jim Crider:
Yeah, thanks, Reese.

Abby Morton:
Next time on Elementality.

Reese Harper:
It’s time to meet, it’s time for your quarterly meeting, it’s time for your annual meeting, gotta do a review. Those don’t feel incredibly personal. They feel like you’re responding to an institutional request from your manager or from the company to meet, but…

Chad Jardine:
Like you’re serving the calendar, not the calendar serving you.

0:41:48.6 RH: Yeah the calendar said it’s time to meet, so it’s time to meet. Well, in that kind of scenario, you actually get very little engagement or you get less engagement. You have clients showing up. They’re like, “I’m here, man. So you told me to come in, so I’m here. What are we doing?” And then you get people that are like really excited that haven’t seen you in forever, and they wanna be there. Then you get people that are like, “You know, I don’t even think I’m gonna respond to that request because I don’t know what he’s gonna cover, but I’m so busy that I’m not really sure it’s worth it.”

Chad Jardine:
Yeah.

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 Chad Jardine. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Haines. Have a good one.

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