What Is Financial Orientation? w/ Brandon Galici

In this episode of Elementality Jordan Haines talks with Brandon Galici, founder of Galici Financial, about the standalone value of orienting people to their financial situation. In particular, they explore real-life examples of when orienting someone to their financial situation may be the very thing that they want from a financial advisor, and not all the additional things many advisors provide.

If you’re interested in how you can deliver on the things your clients actually care about, then this episode is for you


Brandon Galici: So now that was his idea. And so I’m not trying to, to sell him on my recommendation because he essentially already came up with it, where it was just, Hey, here’s, here’s this number.

Here’s your number, here’s what it means. What are your thoughts on that? And I think it just really opened up the conversation where I believe, 

 for a lot of people what it’s going to do, it’s going to help us serve clients a lot more effectively and efficiently because they’re going to be bought into the plan. Like I said, so now we get to work with clients who we get to be the guide.

They get to be the hero. 

Jordan Haines: Welcome to elementality. Everyone. I’m Jordan Haynes, financial vitals expert here at elements, and I’m excited to bring Brandon Galisi on today. Brandon say hi to the people,

Brandon Galici: Hi to the people. What’s up?

Jordan Haines: just straight guys. Um, those of you who don’t know who Brandon is, you should, if you have Been spammed by our social media organization.

Uh, you’ve probably seen Brandon’s face. Now, Brandon has an incredible mustache and today he’s wearing a, an elements, one page [00:01:00] plan t shirt. I’m going to post this on my LinkedIn next week when we release this episode. So everyone just look out for that. Cause it is the greatest t shirt I’ve ever seen.


Jordan Haines: Brandon and I have lots of interesting thoughts to share. And we wanted to record today about something in particular, which we’ll get into, but Brandon, some of the people listening to this don’t know who you are. So tell us about yourself.

Who are you? What’s your firm? What are you all about? And we’ll see where that takes us.

Brandon Galici: Yeah. So thanks Jordan. Really excited for our conversation today. Just really pick up where we left off from last night. But my name is Brandon Galisi. I’m living in Southern California right now. A San Juan Capistrano. So I’ve got LA to the north about an hour and San Diego to the south. Uh, also about an hour.

I live here with my wife. She’s originally from here. So I absolutely love the beautiful weather that we get here in Southern California. And then I’m an investment advisor representative of a larger REA, but I market through Galici Financial. So really creative and clever, uh, firm name there. Originally did not want to be a financial planner, believe it or not, started, started [00:02:00] college in West Virginia as a sports broadcasting major.

But got really connected to the investment club halfway through switch my major to finance and was super blessed to go to West Liberty university where it’s now a CFP certified program. But at the time it was not, but even at the time I was taking retirement planning, insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning, all of these planning type of courses.

And because of that, I got a tax job. My senior year of college did a ton of tax returns, spoke with real life human beings about their money and their taxes and realized I had a passion for that. Emotional side, along with the analytical and the number side of, of what we get to do, got hired by a really large financial services firm right after college was knocking on doors.

So you can probably guess what firm I was working for. And then after I think it was three, three years or so knew that I wanted to leave and went independent to Ansh Ghaleesi financial.

Jordan Haines: So Brandon is, is one of the OG elements users.

How long have you been using elements, but almost two years at this point

Brandon Galici: Over two years point.

Jordan Haines: Yeah. Yeah. So [00:03:00] man, back in the day, There were a lot of features we didn’t have. Maybe we had just launched like the web portal for advisors. Uh, it used to be just like an iOS mobile experience that advisors had to figure out before that it was a spreadsheet, right?

Elements has morphed over the years. And for those of you who, um, know a lot about us, you know, that really the technology is just a medium by which people receive their financial vitals or get oriented to their money, which we’ll talk about today. So you were kind of the, one of the OGs tell the people.

Why you originally decided to use elements and why are you still using it today? That’s a big question. We’ll try our best here. And then I want to jump into some topics.

Brandon Galici: Yeah. So I, the original pain point that elements was going to solve for me was the ongoing service and monitoring. I felt like I had a decent enough. I mean, now looking back at it, I’m like, Oh, that really wasn’t that great. But at the time felt like it was a decent enough onboarding process where I was able to answer financial questions and, and start to get people heading in the right direction.

But like many advisors, I was like, okay, great. I’ve onboarded the client. We’ve done the [00:04:00] initial work, if you will, Now what, now what am I supposed to do? So I came across elements, went to a couple of webinars, just loved the concepts of the financial health scorecard. And then eventually I think after some text messages, uh, met with a sales team, did a demo, like, okay, this is pretty cool.

And then a week later, officially signed up. And then the first round of clients, I think I put five folks on it. Just got really awesome feedback. People seem to really understand it. They even loved the verbiage. And so with that feedback so early on. Really incorporated it into my practice and for those out there, I know different people use elements in different ways, but I actually don’t use a Monte Carlo solution.

I haven’t for about 18 months. And guess what? No client has has been upset about it. 

Jordan Haines: And I love that. So I want to double click on something that you mentioned. You and I talked about this yesterday in our long conversation. Um, but to tee this up, those of you who listen to this probably also listen to Carl Richards. And if you listen to Carl Richards, you probably heard the story. I’ve heard it in a lot of different places, but Carl, um, talks about how, when he [00:05:00] was, um, actively practicing, he had this process where once every quarter he’d send investment updates and things like that.

And one time he forgot to send it and no one said anything. And it caused some curiosity for him to say, Hmm, I wonder if I just stopped sending these, like, well, people actually care. And so he stopped doing these quarterly check ins with people. And he found that people didn’t actually care. Now, one of the things that you said is, you know, I don’t do Monte Carlo.

I don’t do projection based like planning, that kind of stuff. Um, no one. Like no one’s hurt by it. This has brought the question, which is what I want to talk to you today. My hypothesis is that a lot of the value we perceive as advisors that clients actually care about is assumed. It’s not actually articulated.

It’s not what clients actually want. And, and, uh, In my experience, that financial plan, that big picture, the additional value ads, all the things that we do tends to be the fluff on top. So I think when we, when you and I talked yesterday, I, I kind of [00:06:00] brought up a, a visual that, that we thought about, which was imagine a graph, right?

And on the X axis, you have. Um, value added activities, right? And on the Y axis, you have client perceived value. I think what advisors assume that graph looks like is linear up into the right, right? If I add value, clients perceive that value equally and we are growing together. Therefore, I can charge more.

I can spend more time on this and all that’s okay. You know what? In my experience working with clients, and I think you might agree with this as well. I think that the graph actually looks more like an upside down hockey stick where it shoots up at the beginning. And at some point, what did you call this?

Forgive my like lack of economic experience, marginal return benefit,

Brandon Galici: Marginal utility from my micro econ class. Yeah.

Jordan Haines: Yeah, that’s, that’s the, that’s the thing I want to look for. So. I think that clients actually perceive this one event, this, this one thing that I want to talk about today. Um, and after that, all the value added activities are helpful, but maybe they’re not [00:07:00] adding the value that our clients think it’s adding or that we think we’re adding to our clients.

Um, tell, tell me what you think about that. And then I want to talk about something in particular associated with that.

Brandon Galici: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s, that’s one of the things that we’re talking a lot about in the industry is how do we add, add this massive value if you will. But the question I want to ask, and again, I don’t have a perfect answer to this either. So for those listeners don’t think that I’m, I’m quoting, claiming to be some sort of expert on this.

I’m just,

Jordan Haines: Brandon and I 

Brandon Galici: yeah, we’re here to ask questions.

Jordan Haines: questions and not having answers to them. Okay. Keep going, Brad.

Brandon Galici: Yeah. But if we’re talking about massive value or this value piece, value in whose eyes, yours and eyes as the advisor. Or the clients, because I think that’s the differentiator. I mean, we could spend, we’ll say 20 hours on a particular, particular task that we tell all of our friends in the industry that we’re doing, and everyone is cheering us up and saying, this is an incredible use of your time.

But if the client’s like, Oh, thanks, Brendan. Appreciate you sending me that over. And they don’t really do anything with it. How valuable is it? Does it matter how many hours I [00:08:00] spent on that client working on that thing? If they didn’t truly value it. I don’t know.

Jordan Haines: Yeah. One of the things that I have been talking about a lot, and I’ve gotten a lot of questions from people. Um, if you listened to the episode I did with Taylor Westergaard a few weeks back and with Abby Morton, we talked about this concept, uh, called, um, Financial orientation or being oriented to your financial situation.

And the reason that’s come up as in my experience with elements, and I think you could probably vouch for this as well, what we’ve found is that generally the aha moment, that first valuable experience that a client has with their advisor tends to be around orienting them to their finances, not necessarily being presented with recommendations or a quote unquote financial plan.

And so it’s caused me to think. Maybe the, the thing that our clients actually want is just to be oriented to their money. So I want to explore that with you today. I don’t know if this is like a specific thing, right? Like we all generally know what a financial plan is, but do we know what being [00:09:00] oriented to their financial situation is?

Like, how do we deliver on that? What does that look like? Obviously we’re a little bit biased towards elements, but I, I want to talk a little bit about this event of orientation. Um, and I know that you’ve had some experiences with this recently. I’m curious what your thoughts, cause you’ve listened to me talk about this.

You and I have talked about this before in your mind, what does, what does that mean to be oriented or to orient a client to their financial situation?

Brandon Galici: Yeah. Before I answer that, I want, I’d love for you to define it because I know you’ve posted on LinkedIn recently and a bunch of advisors have been asking you, Jordan, what is this? What is financial orientation in general? So kind of set the stage that and then I’ll share, share a recent story.

Jordan Haines: You know, I, I have a, it’s a loose definition right now because this is, I think this is a very new concept, but in my mind, um, being oriented to your money. Has two parts to it. I think the first is just understanding the, the, the intricates, I can’t use the words intricacies, that’s the word. Yeah. Yeah.

It’s understanding the intricacies of your finances, [00:10:00] how they interact with each other. How my cashflow interacts with my assets, which interact with my debts and my insurance, and what is that whole picture? And I think like elements does a really good job at that, right? It presents the, uh, client’s entire financial life and in a one page view.

Right. A lot of advisors, I think, do something like this today. They call it the getting organized session, right? What’s the point of getting organized. It’s to just have an understanding of where everything’s at today. I think that’s part of it, but I actually think the more important part of it is the client actually understands what that means for them. Like you and I are financial advisors. We understand the value of liquidity. We know the interaction between liquidity and debt and savings and, um, after tax assets versus pre tech. Like we understand that. Right. Because we’ve had a lot of education. Most people don’t understand how those things work, how the things work in their personal life.

And, and I would venture to guess that a lot of people get into a relationship with a financial advisor where they’ve done that get organized session and they put everything [00:11:00] into one place and they have all the data there, but they don’t know how to make sense of that. And so I think the word orientation is really helpful because we are just, we’re, we’re pointing the client back to their situation and saying, this is you.

This is what it all means to you so that you have some sort of an understanding of your situation so that you can make decisions so that you can move forward with confidence. So you know, actually what you need to focus on. So those two parts, just to summarize, I think it’s one aspect of it is getting organized.

But then the other aspect is educating the client and empowering them towards understand actually understanding how this all works. How would you add to that or shape that

Brandon Galici: Yeah. So I took down a few notes preparing for this and I wrote down something really similar. It’s helping them see and understand their financial life in a way that makes sense to them. So there’s that get organized piece, but then the client actually understands what it means. They understand the relationship of, Hey, my debt rate is pretty high.

I’m feeling. A little bit more stress or anxiety around my finances. All I need to increase my savings. Well, maybe they can’t really increase their savings because their debt rate is so high. But [00:12:00] once they see that relationship now, they have maybe maybe that aha moment. They can see. Oh, that’s that’s the reason why I can’t increase my savings rate.

That’s the reason maybe that I’m feeling a little bit a little financial anxiety. So then whenever the recommendation is. Some sort of debt payoff strategy. They’re going to be much more likely to then follow through with that because one, they, they fully understand it and it might’ve already been their idea.

And then the, as the advisor, we can help just to add legs or help them take action and just be confirming by looking at the objective data. And in this case, we’re talking about a financial health scorecard and looking at that objective data and saying, yep, nope, that makes a lot of sense to me, your debt rate is a little bit high, so that’s why I think you should consider paying off some more of your debt, I think it’s going to help you reduce your financial stress as well as.

The functional job of increase your savings rate over time as well.

Jordan Haines: it’s almost like the, the evidence that I would look for, for a client, like, how would I know if someone is actually oriented to their financial situation on one hand, I could take, like, just, I have the data in one place, and I’m going to assume that they [00:13:00] get it. I think that’s a poor assumption, but I think the evidence that I would look for is like. We’ve mentioned this aha moment, but maybe I would refine that and say, it’s more of like it clicks to them. Oh, like that word, like, Oh, that makes sense. Oh, I never thought about it like that before. Like, is that clicking like everything kind of interacts. And I remember, um, I don’t, I’m not actively practicing right now, but I, every once in a while, we’ll get a phone call.

A family friend or a neighbor or someone in my community reach out to me and say, Hey, I’ve got a couple questions or, um, I just need to know how I’m doing. Can you just point me in the right direction? I’d say sure. And I can help you find an advisor if I need to. And then I hook them up with Brandon or someone else that I know well.

Um, but in my experience with a lot of these people, because I’m not charging them and I’m not creating an ongoing relationship, most of the time when I’m focused on this, okay, how do I okay. How do I educate them to their situation and give them a playbook or, or a framework that they now know how to base their decisions off of.

And I had my, uh, I had a family friend of mine reach out to me, um, and I post about this on social. So those of you who follow me probably saw [00:14:00] this, but his question was, do I buy truck? I just want to know if I buy a truck and I think you and I talked about this. We recorded a YouTube video about So actually go, go find the elements, YouTube channel elements in real life playlist, and you’ll find like, should I buy a truck?

Brandon and I talk about how we handle that question, but for him, what was really interesting is I spent the time and I went through like responding specifically to that question. Okay. You know, if you want to buy a truck, you have to. You know, here’s your entire situation. Here’s how long you can live off your liquidity today.

And here’s your savings rate and here’s your debt rate. And basically what I said is the answer to that question is up to you, but here’s the things that you need to remember when you want to buy something that you could either leverage, you want to look at your debt rate with your savings rate and make sure that those are imbalanced.

And you want to make sure that you have the right amount of liquidity and you’re not sacrificing that for things. And he said, Oh, that’s really interesting. So are you saying that like, and he even took it a step further. It was like, okay, well then when I’m buying real estate or something like that, yeah.

I probably need to make sure that I have an ample amount of liquidity, even if I buy that real estate. So I don’t feel stressed. I can do right now. And I was like, that’s perfect. He said, this is great. Okay. [00:15:00] Um, and it was interesting to see things click for him to finally come to the realization of like, this is how my finances interact with my real life.

And so now then, then I could send an, I didn’t, I chose not to work with him. He’s not going to hire an advisor cause he’s a cheapskate, but he, he, he now has a very clear understanding of his personal financial situation, not only how it’s like organized in one place, but how it actually works. Like, what do I reference when I want to make a decision?

And I think that that, that is a really good example of orientation. Um, what thoughts do you have on that or want to share there?

Brandon Galici: Yeah. No, I, I agree with you. That’s a, an incredible example, because now in the future, even if he’s not talking to an advisor or another person, especially in the context of if he’s buying something, rental property, buying a truck, he understands specifically, again, he’s already organized from a functional perspective.

He already has elements, but now he’s specifically looking at those things that you mentioned, the savings rate, the debt rate and liquidity. And now he’s able to feel a lot more confident because he’s got, I really liked the use of the word framework. But [00:16:00] this mindset where now it’s, it’s still his choice.

It’s his idea, but it’s, it’s not all, well, well, Dave Ramsey said this, or this guru said this it’s, I understand how my finances interact with one another. And then of course, applying his personal values to that as well. And now he’s going to be able to make much more confident decisions compared to. Oh, just, just don’t buy that.

Or. You know, or do buy that with no context.

Jordan Haines: Yeah. And I think like, okay, why does this actually matter? And I think why this matters for advisors. And then I, I know that you had an experience that you shared with me yesterday of how you like really leaned into this principle, this idea, but I think why this matters for financial advisors is for so long, the value that I think we’ve articulated to the world is the strategies that we do, or like the emotional job that we satisfy, right?

Like I’ll help you feel better about your money. And I think for some people that’s fine, but I think In my experience, a lot of the people I end up talking to come to me with one, like, whether it’s a, like an explicit need or a question that they have, like, should I buy a truck? There’s often an underlying question.

That’s a little bit more implicit and it’s, am I doing okay? Am I on track? Am I [00:17:00] making the right decisions? And that question just tells me that you don’t really know how you’re doing right now. Like you don’t understand that at a really deep level. And so I, I’ve advocated for this in the past with advisors.

I haven’t really been able to put words to it, but I often get pushed back from advisors of like, well, they came to me for a question or they came to me for the financial plan. I need to give them to that because that’s, that’s the important part. And I said, I often say. Well, yes, it’s valuable to do that financial plan.

It’s valuable to give the recommendations. It’s valuable to be prescriptive and to do the things that we do as advisors. But I think what might be even more valuable for clients, and this is where I reference what we said at the beginning, right? What we perceive as valuable to the clients might be different than what they actually want, which I think a lot of people just want to know how they’re doing.

And so can we, can we lean into that? Not as a step to get to the financial plan, but its own Specific identifiable value add. Like we are going to do this thing before we do anything else. And I want to make sure that you walk away having understood your finances. And I think that’s really important for advisors.

I also think it’s important because it’s not that [00:18:00] hard as an advisor to do that. Like it does not require a lot of work for us to orient someone to their financial situation. It requires a lot of work for me to run a financial plan. And so what if we could just focus on providing value earlier through this activity we call financial orientation.

Um, Brandon, I know you had, uh, you had a client, so you reached out to me, I think last week and you said, Hey, this is an interesting concept. What do you think I should do here? And we talked about this prospect that you were working with. Tell us the story. Of what you went through and how that ended with that prospect.

Brandon Galici: Yeah. So I had very, very intentionally went into this meeting with this concept of financial orientation on my mind. And I think it changed how I showed up a little bit. So as I was, was looking at his element scorecard, he originally came to me. It sounded like an investment pain point. A lot of his money was invested in real estate, but he wanted to invest in stocks and bonds was, was something similar to the quote that he was asking for.

So that was the initial pain point, the initial question, if you will. So as we started analyzing his scorecard, he’s got about 85 percent of [00:19:00] his real estate, our net worth invested in real estate, one primary home, two investment properties. And I just explained what liquid term was. And it was a point four, meaning he has a little bit less than half a year worth of his spending saved up in, in his case, just the bank account.

And so I didn’t, after that, giving him that context, I just asked him, asked him, how do you feel about that? And he was like, yeah, you know what? I probably doesn’t make sense to, to even start considering other types of investments until I get that closer to six months or, or 0. 5 does it? And like, yeah, that, that makes total sense to me.

And so it was really cool then to be able to switch over to the one page plan that I had already prepared for him, uh, for this meeting. And the number one thing, even though, again, remember his pain point was an investment problem, but that was the presenting problem. But then the first recommendation was.

Don’t invest until you’re closer to 0. 5 or maybe even a little bit higher because he’s got those investment properties and we want to make sure he has adequate liquidity. 

So now that was his idea. And so I’m not trying to, to sell him on my recommendation because he essentially already came up with it, where it was [00:20:00] just, Hey, here’s, here’s this number.

Here’s your number, here’s what it means. What are your thoughts on that? And I think it just really opened up the conversation where I believe, again, ’cause some advisors might be thinking this financial orientation piece is just teaching everyone how to do everything themselves. And I don’t think that’s it.

There’s gonna be a certain part of the market that’s always going to be in that DIY camp, but I think for a lot of people what it’s going to do, it’s going to help us serve clients a lot more effectively and efficiently because they’re going to be bought into the plan. Like I said, so now we get to work with clients who we get to be the guide.

They get to be the hero. 

I think before we’ve wanted to be the hero. Oh, I saved my client this much in taxes. I did this for my, I did this versus, Hey, what if we just help guide our clients? To some of these right answers and then they figure out what the hell her in a collaborator collaborative process figure out what’s the next actual step they can take with their money.

And sometimes what I found Jordan is just through this process, even if even though nothing after this first meeting has changed in their [00:21:00] finances, absolutely nothing, but there has been clarity. There’s that orientation piece and they have a clearly defined next step that they fully believe in. There’s a difference in Brandon told me to increase my emergency funds and Hey, I saw that my emergency fund is a little bit low and I think that’s causing me some stress, so I fully agree that that’s why I need to increase it.

Which one do you think is going to have a higher likelihood that the client takes action? Yeah,

Jordan Haines: Obvious. Yeah, man. There’s a couple of things that come to mind with this. I think the, the word that’s coming to my mind as you’re describing this is like empowerment, right? You’re empowering this client their own decisions. I think our clients are smart. I mean, I think about my father, my father is makes good financial decisions and he knows nothing about finances, right?

Like, but he’s a smart guy. The one thing that he knows far better than I will ever know is his personal life. And the other thing that comes to mind is that for a long time, and I listened to a lot of interviews, a lot of conversations between advisors, there’s a very big focus [00:22:00] right now on these values, exercises, listening, trying to understand what’s actually important to our clients so that we can make sure that we’re, we’re making a decision that.

Or we’re, we’re providing recommendations that actually make sense for their life. A shortcut to that is to just ask them what they think, because he already knows what’s important to him, right? These clients already know what’s important to them. And yes, I, I’m not advocating for if I was just to stop doing these values exercise, those are deeply important for a lot of people who just don’t even know what’s important to them.

Like that helps what I’m advocating for is allowing clients to arrive at their own conclusions about things, which is kind of a scary thing for us. Because what are we doing then, instead of us telling them the reality, we’re kind of presenting the reality to them and letting them formulate their own opinions about that.

And what if the opinions aren’t the opinions that we necessarily want, right? But I, I think that that’s like, that’s what clients really want. They want to know what’s going on. And, and I think you brought up this, this thought, like, you know, every, not everyone’s, uh, A DIY, or some people want to hire a financial [00:23:00] advisor and in a situation where you empower them to do that, just think in their minds, if they were to talk to you, the advisor who empowered them and actually gave them a clear understanding of their financial picture versus another advisor who took that information and just present presented recommendations to them, who are they going to go back to?

They’re going to go back to the person who actually took the time to say like, here’s your situation. What do you think? Here’s what I think about your situation. And, and. And we can always counter things, right? Like, Hey, I, you’re saying this, but I actually think in your situation, this is what it means. So I think that financial orientation is really valuable because number one, it takes the pressure off of us to give the prescriptive recommendation every time.

Sometimes what the clients come up with is better than anything we could ever come up with. I’ve seen it time and time again. And I think in the, in the, uh, the story that you mentioned, I think that happened, right? Like you would have never formulated that recommendation, but now he’s super bought into that because he came up with that on his own and he now understands the situation and he’s shaping it out on that.

Brandon Galici: well, one, it was also assuring that he did officially sign up a couple of [00:24:00] days later, um, as a, as a client. So we are, are going to be working together, but I think even with that, like if we’ve been able to empower the client so well that They now feel confident to maybe skew more towards a DIY. Because again, maybe some advisors are worried about quote, unquote, losing the sale or, or losing that person.

One, I think it’s going to be less likely that that happens. I mean, they already came to you for a reason, because I think, and again, in this case, being the guide, a lot of times our value is to conf op to confirm or maybe provide different evidence based on what they’re, they’re looking to do. Because now maybe they have this framework, they feel empowered, but they want to run it by.

Their financial planner, like, Hey, Jordan, like, I’m pretty sure that I can buy this truck because I have plenty of liquidity. My savings rates fine, and it’s not going to increase my debt rate too much. But would you mind just taking a look at that really quickly? And I think oftentimes I know, at least for me, I’ve had those experiences where clients come to me with something and I look at their plan and I love how Carl Richards calls it his permission granting wand.

And I think oftentimes it’s not only that permission granting wand, but we also [00:25:00] get to provide that context. Hey, you, you can buy that truck because of. Objective data here and your values here. And now, again, I think they’re going to feel a lot more secure and confident with their finances because again, where that guide, they’re still the hero in the story.

And now, now they’re able to take effective action and more confident action versus, you know, I think a lot of potential DIYers might have the knowledge. To maybe take that next step, but sometimes it’s just that affirming guidance that, you know, from a trusted professional.

Jordan Haines: I think everyone needs to know how they’re doing, right? Like, I think there’s too many. I mean, go listen to my interview with Taylor Westergaard last week. There are so many of the clients that she works with. And she’s a financial coach and she does a great job. The thing that she focuses like her value out is very specifically around orientation, just to someone’s cash flow and their behaviors and their habits.

She’s not doing investment advice. She’s not optimizing their financial situation. And what she’s found is that a lot of people will come to her that are currently working with a financial advisor. And they’re doing that because the advisor tried to optimize too early. I think it’d be really interesting for us and maybe a future [00:26:00] conversation, Brandon to explore.

Um, There, there’s kind of this three part progression that I’m, I’m envisioning in my mind. It’s almost like the first thing that we need to do with someone, whether it’s in prospecting or onboarding new clients in this situation, you did it as a prospecting activity. But the very first thing we need to do is orient someone to their financial situation, which is not super difficult.

Maybe there’s a little bit of practice and you don’t have to use elements for this, right? Like there’s an easy way to do this with a balance sheet, simple ratios. I mean, frankly, just go to our website, look at our ratios. You could do the same thing and you could listen to this and you could watch some elements in real life videos and you could come up with this on your own.

That’s fine. I’m open to that. Um, but I think the first activity that tends to be the most valuable for people, that that very first value is going to be something of like a financial orientation. What’s interesting to me though, is the next step then is just creating the foundational habits and behaviors.

Right. Like what are the things that they can actually control? And this is what I think Taylor has leaned into a lot, um, that she helps them focus on their savings rate and their spending and their debt planning, like making sure that the things that they can [00:27:00] control are super dialed in. Because. How is someone going to live out their financial plan if they don’t even have the baseline foundational habits and behaviors in place.

So it’s almost like orient someone to their money, figure out those baseline habits and behaviors, and then optimize, right? Cause that’s what you’re going to do with this person. You’ve oriented them to their situation. They’ve identified their main habits and behaviors. And now you can say, here’s the investment strategy that we’re going to do for you.

Here’s the tax planning strategy we’re going to do for you. Here’s all these numbers, all the things that us advisors are really good at adding. And the people that want to pay for optimization. You’re going to pay for it. This, um, I’ll, I’ll say one thing, one, one more thing about this. And then I want to turn it back to you.

And maybe what we’ll do brand is we can do some future episodes where we talk about that, that sequence, right? Like how do we, how do we people find the right behaviors and what are those behaviors and how do we focus on those? So we can talk about that later. Um, I I’ve, we often draw this similarity between what we’ve built and like financial advice to healthcare.

And there’s a really interesting movement going on [00:28:00] nowadays around like health optimization. Right. So, so influencers that really dive into this are like Andrew Huberman. Think what you want about Andrew Huberman. His whole thing is like optimizing your health to the nth degree, right? Like if, if he can do something that takes him 10 minutes or 20 minutes or an hour that increases his health by 0.

03%, he’s going to do it. And there’s a lot of that today. In the world of health. And I think that that’s what we spend. We, we often, I think in my experience, as I look at advisors, I talk to them. I think we often get hung up on that optimization part. Like we’re so focused on optimizing someone’s finances.

Without ever having first paid attention to their foundational habits. So like in the world of health, it’s, are you, are you sleeping? Are you eating? Well, be drinking enough water. Are you, um, are you exercising? Right? Like I can go do an ice bath all I, all I want, but like, if I’m not sleeping or eating well, like it’s not going to really do much for me.

And I think that that’s the thing that’s often missing. And so if we sequence it in the right way of starting by orienting someone to their basic financial [00:29:00] situation and their habits and behaviors, and then optimize, I think that is the right sequence. Yeah. Uh, pushback shape. Um, I’d love to get your thoughts on that.

Brandon Galici: No, I just want to, I want to see what, what are your thoughts? What, what, how do you define financial optimization? Like what does that look like to you?

Jordan Haines: I think, I think for this one, I would probably feel as strongly convicted to this as I am about defining financial orientation. But in my mind, it’s, it’s everything beyond the controllable, you know, like the, the, so I guess, okay, let me define it this way. I’m going to define it as what it is not. I don’t think financial optimization is. Well, I don’t know, you cornered me into a good question and I don’t think I have an answer. I’m just going to actually, I’m going to do this. I don’t have an answer for you on what financial optimization in my mind, what I know it’s not is, um, basic savings habits, basic spending habits, basic, um, you know, how I address my [00:30:00] liquidity, things like that.

It’s probably like optimizing your investment portfolio, right? I remember working early on in my career, meeting one of our clients and he had invested his entire life into CDs. And he’s great because he had an incredible savings rate and he was spending well within his means. And he eventually retired with a ton of money and he never invested anything.

He was not optimizing his health. He just had the baseline habits of behavior. So I guess it’s hard for me to define what financial optimization is. Besides it’s all the fancy strategies that we come up with. That’s it. That’s, that’s, that’s how I would define it.

Brandon Galici: Sure. Yeah. No, that’s interesting. I, again, I don’t, I don’t necessarily have a specific definition either, but I think what we had talked about yesterday, even in our call of, you know, we, we want to provide all of this value. And it’s like, Oh, let me do, do this strategy here. This tax planning strategy. Let me make sure I mentioned this.

And I mentioned that. And if we’re going to, I’ve even heard the term overwhelmed with value in that first meeting. Well, the word overwhelmed by definition is, is probably not the best thing that we can be doing for someone. We want to be adding, [00:31:00] adding value. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say, to say that that’s not the case, but if we, like, if we, Hey, here, Jordan, here are 10 things that you can do to optimize your finances.

Well, we might, depending on who the person is. They might do zero of those 10 things. And then now how much have we truly quote unquote optimize because they never took action. Because I think if we’re able to help people again, get oriented. Which typically then the next step is taking action in, in some capacity and something that they, that they agree with, that’s going to start the momentum.

And again, speaking of this from a behavioral side, I know a lot of us, it’s like, well, how do we get clients to, to follow through on our recommendations? And again, I think. You’ve, you’ve got to have client buy in. Maybe sometimes it’s their idea. Maybe it’s really connecting it to their statement of financial purpose.

The why behind it, because if we can’t ever get the first step, like I like to use the example of say you, you have a client and you need to, you would prefer them to be at a 15 percent savings rate, but they’re at 7 percent right now you could either do, you could optimize it and say, you need to more than [00:32:00] double your savings rate overnight, and that’s going to help us be optimized and that’s going to help That’s with your future projection.

You could say that. And for the majority of human beings, I think at least that I’ve interacted with, they’re like, Oh, that sounds great. And then never talk to you again, because that’s just unrealistic to double their savings rate overnight. But if you say, Hey, we prefer to be at 15 percent and here’s why here’s the objective data, here’s the benchmarking studies that we’ve done, but what if you could increase this to just an 8%, maybe even put a dollar, maybe that’s an extra a hundred bucks a month, Yeah.

Yeah. Maybe. And then you get them to take that step and then you constantly monitor your monitoring their situation. Okay. Well, how do you feel now? Yeah. No, actually I’m gaining some momentum. I think I can do another 200 a month and then over time. You get them to that, that appropriate place, even though arguably many people would say, well, that’s not optimized from the beginning.

They need to be at 15. Well, if they can’t ever get past seven, I don’t care about 15 at this point. So I think that’s where this orientation piece is. How do we get the client just to take the [00:33:00] next step? Carl says, solve for the next local optimum, right? And if we can get them to take that step, they get momentum.

They feel more confident, more secure with their finances, less financial stress. And that is going to, you know, increase the probability that they continue to. Taking steps, which ultimately is what’s going to lead to their long term success.

Jordan Haines: Yeah. Okay. What’s coming to my mind as you’re saying that if I were to redefine optimizing someone’s finances, the words I would use would be precision and prescription. Right? Like we’ve all had the, like, how much should we save if you’ve been through the CFP program or any sort of financial program or use financial software, what do you do to solve that that equation?

Well, you say, how much do you spend a day? What’s inflation? Uh, what’s your lifestyle growth? Uh, let’s, let’s do a time value money equation. When do you want to retire with how much all that, like all the assumptions that go into that we look in the future, we back it down to today and the present value.

And we say, In order for you to do what you need to do 30 years from now, you need to have save 612 a month, [00:34:00] right? Like that is precise. That is prescriptive. That is optimizing, right? Like it is the exact thing that they need to optimize and be in the perfect 100 percent situation. I don’t think most people think like that.

And I think what you’re describing is more directional, right? It’s, Hey, we know that this is low. We know it needs to go up. We don’t know by how much. What do you think? Right? Like, let’s just get the ball rolling. Let’s get those habits and behaviors in place. And optimizing is great. Some people respond really well to optimization.

That’s fine. There’s a, there’s a market for that. But I would venture to guess that a lot of our clients don’t, they don’t even know the questions asked first off. So they’re not, they don’t know any better, but maybe all they need is just direction at the beginning. And I don’t think Brandon, I don’t think you’re advocating for this.

And I’m certainly not either. We’re not advocating that like the traditional planning model is dead or it’s broken. I think it works for it. Certain types of people. I wonder how many people though, this is, this is why this question comes up to me and why I think this matters. How many people are we not serving today?

Because we’re in the [00:35:00] business of only optimizing financial health and not in the business of directionally getting in the, in the right direction, right? We’re getting, we’re trying to deliver a hundred percent. We’re really, maybe people are just asking for 80%. So that’s, that’s a question that I want everyone to consider out there.

What, what would your business look like if. Your clients didn’t want a financial plan. If they didn’t want financial optimization, that’s just something to consider. The other thing that comes to mind here is, um, that I would love for people to think about is. What do your clients actually want? I posted this question this week before this conversation about two days ago.

And I, and I asked, uh, my network about what in your mind, what is a financial plan? It seems like that is the service that we deliver a lot of people. We, and the, and the advisors now they will often say like, I don’t, I don’t deliver, deliver a plan. I deliver planning, which is fine. I I’m okay with that. Um, I struggle with how that differentiates, but in my mind, it’s, uh, What do we deliver people?

And is that actually what clients want? Have we ever [00:36:00] asked have advisor listening to this? Have you ever asked your clients what they actually want in their own words? And have you been able to deliver on that promise? Or are you making assumptions about what they want and delivering on that? Those are two very different things. So if there’s any call to action that I would give to people listening to this, it’s go think about your clients and ask them questions. Think about the person you just onboarded and ask them why they originally onboarded and what value they got out of it and what is most important to them in their own words, not in yours.

And I can guarantee that if you do that and you do that with a couple different clients of yours, you’ll start to identify trends and patterns. I would venture to guess that a lot of them, they didn’t care about the financial plan or the prescription or the optimization. They cared probably more about that first conversation you had orienting them to their money.

Anyway, anything you’d want to add there as a parting thought here, Brandon?

Brandon Galici: Yeah. I mean, that’s definitely something that, that I’m going to continue to be more intentional with because I, I want to make sure that in my service offering that I’m delivering what, what clients actually [00:37:00] want. And then of course, being proactive with, with answering their financial questions that they didn’t even know they had, but are relevant.

So there’s still, I think, an important piece for that proactive part, but right. Why would we spend five hours a year working on something for the client that they don’t even value?

Jordan Haines: Yeah.

Brandon Galici: Right. Because now we can start, we’re not talking about it today, but now we can really start reshaping how we’re thinking about different service offerings, different service models, one to many offerings, scaled one to ones, like all, all sorts of things start to become, um, potentially available to us so that we can truly go, I know everyone’s talking about how do we go upstream?

How do we go upstream? But I’m truthfully looking at the question. I know we have a lot of conversations about this are how do we serve folks that don’t yet have access? How do we expand accessibility? And do so in a way that is also profitable and is a win for every single person involved. I don’t have an answer yet.

I’ve got some theories and we’ll talk about them later. I’m sure

Jordan Haines: Well, let’s have you back on you and I next, next time we talk for two hours, let’s record, let’s record. I think it’ll be interesting for people listen to. Um, you have lots of questions. I have lots [00:38:00] of questions. We ended up asking those questions to each other. We also don’t have a lot of answers either.

Um, a lot of these things that these ideas that we’re exploring today about this, this idea of financial orientation and maybe delivering solely on that. Again, it’s just a thought. It’s a question. Is this something that’s value to people? So advisors listening out there, please reach out to us. I want to get your thoughts on this.

So if you have questions, reach out to elementality at get elements. com. We’ll, I’ll have Brandon on again. We’ll talk if there’s any questions you guys want us to address.

Happy to do that. Otherwise, Brandon, thanks for coming on. And, uh, we’ll see y’all next week.

Brandon Galici: it’s a blast. Thanks Jordan.​

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