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EP 19: The Truth About Being An Independent Financial Advisor ft. Steve Spaeth, CFP®

Ep. 19 – Steve Spaeth, CFP®

Disruption Blueprint

We’re back with another episode of Disruption Blueprint! Today, we are joined by Steve Spaeth, CFP®, Founder and CEO of River Oak Asset Advisory out of Cincinnati, OH.  Steve recently marked his one-year anniversary of going independent after leaving a billion-dollar self-built business in the wirehouse channel. Reflecting on his more than 28 years in wealth management, Steve notes that while he had success and partners who supported his growth, ultimately the wirehouse model had limitations. His decision to go independent in 2021 was based largely on his interest in deepening client relationships and optimizing his business model.

In today’s episode, RFG President Shannon Spotswood and Steve discuss what it’s like to create a more fulfilled, intentional, and rewarding career as an independent advisory owner. It’s never easy to leave a successful business that has taken years to build. Steve reflects upon his prior illusion of freedom, his passion for his clients, and how “each win matters.”

Through his journey to independence, Steve acknowledges improved family connections and deeper intentionality in everything he does. Instead of putting in face time at the office, his focus is now on the things that truly matter personally and professionally. One of the most important mindset shifts for Steve is that he now holds himself accountable, rather than allowing outside influences to impact where and how he invests his time throughout the day.

Earlier growth under the wirehouse model was very different than the way independent advisors grow their clientele. “Passion Prospecting” – coined by Shannon – is something that newly independent advisors often struggle with – not because they don’t want to explore it, but because it is so different than what they are used to doing. Now, Steve can lead with what he enjoys doing while seeking others who also share those interests. There is almost zero challenge in attracting the right clients when he hosts events that surround those activities. He has experienced incredible growth from this strategy. Steve recommend advisors make an effort to know where every client likes to eat out, what they like to do in their spare time, and make an effort to connect with them outside of the office. Building a true relationship is key to earning trust and delivering advice.

In conclusion, Steve shares his advice for both younger and more seasoned advisors. For experienced advisors like himself, Steve shares that it’s easy to keep your blinders on. It may feel like you have a multitude of resources at your disposal, but you should look beyond your existing toolset for other places that may offer better technology, deeper resources and more accessible support. The big custodial name on client statements matters a lot less to clients than advisors think. In fact, all of his clients came with him when he announced his transition, and that is a reflection that relationships and quality service are the two most important catalysts for client retention.

As for his advice for younger advisors considering independence, he shares that it really is true that most independent advisors say, “I should have done this sooner.”

Join the conversation to hear all about:

  • 04:30: Why independence after building a multi-billion wirehouse practice.
  • 07:55: Time management as an independent advisor.
  • 09:02: Impact of the transition on family.
  • 11:15: Building enterprise value on your personal balance sheet.
  • 15:05: Creating the ideal base of operations.
  • 17:30: Attracting the right clientele.
  • 20:00: Refining your story as an independent advisor.
  • 23:30: Advice for seasoned advisors considering independence
  • 24:40: Tackling fears in going independent
  • 25:55: Economic upside of going independent

Here are the three takeaways that will inspire you to embrace independence:

  1. Find professional and personal fulfillment. Your clients are your clients, and your business is yourbusiness. It’s a new level of excitement around what you can achieve. You set the bar, you hold yourself accountable, and you decide what matters. Time spent in the office takes on a very different meaning. You no longer have to impress your bosses or coworkers, and instead now you make intentional decisions on where to be and when to be there.
  2. Managing your personal balance sheet. Finding that higher personal motivation to do what matters is also important to “put in those good reps.” Steve creates his personal task list every day and feels his own pressure to accomplish those goals. You must push yourself to learn new ways to approach technology, time management, client service. The beginning of your independence journey will look different than it does one year later, as you remap your brain to think like a truly independent business owner.
  3. Refining Your Compelling Story: Steve spent a lot of time reflecting on what mattered in his personal story. Really embracing his values and sharing those activities and experiences with clients made a difference. His advice is to invite and attract people who have genuinely similar interests because it eliminates any feeling of “working” and instead it’s comfortable and enjoyable. Check out his videos, linked below, to hear his story, his why, and how this has impacted his family.

Referenced Materials

Ep. 17 Become Obsessed with Change with Bobby White and Navy SEAL Dom Raso

Welcome back to another episode of Become a Disruption Blueprint! A podcast that seeks to provide turnkey solutions, analyzing ​​actionable tactics, guidance, and the tools to survive and thrive during periods of uncertainty and disruption.

In this episode, Founder and CEO of RFG Advisory Bobby White and Navy SEAL Dom Raso discuss all things obsession, change, changing the generic way of thinking, and more. Through a customized curriculum, meant to stimulate critical thinking and quickly adapt to a new future, this podcast truly aspires to inspire and empower a new breed of advisors.

All of the heart-wrenching events that have shocked the world to its core have us thinking that there is only so much we can do. Or so you think. After two years of COVID, we are hopeful that everyone is coming out on the other side stronger and evolved. However, the bottom line is— nothing has changed. There are always going to be obstacles, adversity, and other circumstances that we cannot control. Bobby advises us that being able to adapt to certain situations while making a positive influence on peoples’ lives is the absolute right way to crush everything.

Adapting to certain situations is never easy, but not impossible. Bobby and Dom clearly identify what makes us human: the three pillars being mind, soul, and body. They advise us that progressing in these areas doesn’t happen without the forging. You can make gradual improvements without crushing metal, without sparks in the heat, without pain and adversity, to truly create leaps and bounds.

“Six years ago, we talked about pivoting, you know, we tore the house down and rebuilt RFG over a five-year period of time,” says Bobby. “And was that hard? Yes. It was hard. It was risky. People told us that we were absolutely nuts, that we were doing it too. We’re doing too much, doing it too quickly. And Shannon and Rick and I, we looked at each other and said, No, man, we’re obsessed with this, this is what we’re going to do. And look at us now.”

When you are faced with challenges, you have two options: grow from it, or give up. After all, humans were not made to be perfect. We will all fall, stumble, and be faced with adversity. But, it’s what you do with those stumbling blocks. Bobby tells us that after all, changing our past is not something we can fix. And by dwelling on it, that will do absolutely nothing. Dom advises us to use our failures as a forward path to becoming a strength. Ultimately, they become your character and an integral part of who you are. Take those failures and use that to your advantage.

Bobby tells us that being obsessed is simply committing to something with your whole being to make yourself better, and make the people around you better. When you think of the word “obsessed”, it often can have a negative context behind it. By turning that upside down, you can look at this a different way and have a positive outlook on life. With a servant’s heart and a warrior mindset, you can help to make this world a better place to live in. 

Here are the three takeaways that will leave you speechless:

  1. The unknown will transform your life for the better. Adversity, life challenges, War in Ukraine, COVID, and so on. With all of the heart-wrenching current events that have crushed the world over the past two years, ultimately, the unknown is a blessing in disguise. Morally, there is always going to be an “unknown”. Bobby advises that people need to continue to confront head-on. When these circumstances happen, he tells us that we have to have the fortitude to be able to respond in a way that makes the world a better place.
  2. Pivot your way to success. Be able to adapt to any situation. The hard truth to swallow is that eventually, everybody’s got a plan to get hit. By adapting, you’ve got to pivot depending on life’s circumstances. Refocus your mind on what you want to accomplish.
  3. One plus one equals 11. Yes, mathematically speaking, it equals two. Metaphorically speaking, you can switch this up. You’ve got to break the mold on the stereotypical way of thinking. Think outside the box, be creative and execute a game plan to transform yourself into a force multiplier.

Join the conversation to hear all about:

  • 07:15 Accept that the hard path will only make you stronger.
  • 10:14 What is fear? How do we clearly define that?
  • 13:45 Identify what you need to put your effort into.
  • 17:40 Build your path forward.
  • 24:08 Do not become complacent and get 1% better every day.
  • 27:52 Live your life with ultimate integrity and extreme accountability.
  • 30:14 Everything you do matters.
  • 33:47 Your “why” can change over time.
  • 41:05 Live life to the fullest.
  • 45:35 Show up when no one else is willing to do so.

Referenced Materials

Ep. 9 Take the Seat On A Rocket Ship ft. RFG Advisory CIO Rick Wedell

“If Someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask questions. You just sit down and get to work”

This Disruption Blueprint episode featuring Rick Wedell Chief Investment Officer at RFG Advisory dives into topics on building the future, navigating the succession planning process, why he prefers video content above all else, and the big answer to why choose RFG?

“If anyone ever offers you a seat on the rocket ship, you don’t argue about whether or not it’s an aisle or a window, you just take the seat,” Rick says.

Rick is a veteran investor and brings institutional street cred to RFG and its advisors as the Chief Investment Officer. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University, was named Henry Ford Scholar and spent 12 years at Bain Capital before joining RFG in 2016. He was recently recognized by ThinkAdvisor as a 2021 LUMINARY in the Thought Leadership & Education category. RFG Advisory was also named to the LUMINARIES Class of 2021, receiving firm-wide recognition in the same category for RIAs.

Rick hosts client events and in-person roadshows on average 15 days a month. Needless to say, he’s racking up the Delta miles. He’s wired as a thought-leadership machine, ready to go at a moment’s notice armed with an artillery of knowledge. There are few industry CIOs to come close to Rick’s herculean efforts. Find out more and listen to this incredible episode of the Disruption Blueprint podcast.

Join the conversation to hear about:

  • Welcome Rick to Disruption Blueprint (0:35)
  • Rick’s education and background (1:30)
  • If someone offers you a ride on a rocket ship, just take the seat (7:00)
  • Why choose RFG? (8:35)
  • Building the future: how RFG goes about the investment process (12:05)
  • The story of making it on the fridge (17:00)
  • The rewarding feeling of helping clients get from point A to point B (20:00)
  • Navigating the succession planning process (22:15)
  • Goodbye white papers, video content is the wave of the future (28:35)
  • Human emotion and why it’s important to have a financial advisor (33:30)

Succession Planning. Enterprise Value. Investment Management. This Disruption Blueprint episode featuring RFG Advisory Chief Investment Officer Rick Wedell dives into topics that will leave independent advisors furiously jotting down notes, ideas, and tips.

Rick is a veteran investor and brings institutional street cred to RFG and its advisors as the Chief Investment Officer. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Stanford University, was named Henry Ford Scholar, and spent 12 years at Bain Capital before joining RFG in 2016. He was recently recognized by ThinkAdvisor as a 2021 LUMINARY in the Thought Leadership & Education category. RFG Advisory was also named to the LUMINARIES Class of 2021, receiving firm-wide recognition in the same category for RIAs.

This is Rick’s current chapter, not where he began. Rick didn’t start his career as CIO, sailing to this moment thanks to a casual wind, he circumnavigated his entire route point by point. Rick has a unique, dynamic background that has influenced him throughout the years.

He was raised here in RFG territory in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated from Mountain Brook High School and then went on to Harvard University where he studied applied mathematics and graduated Magna Cum Laude. From there he joined Bain Capital as one of the first employees in what is now known as an international juggernaut in finance. “A $25 million portfolio, when you’re three years out of school is like the greatest thing in the world,” Rick says.

A couple of years later, Bain Capital sent him off to Stanford University, where he got his MBA. There he was named Henry Ford Scholar. He was number one in his MBA program at Stanford. After 12 years at Bain Capital, Rick was head of consumer fixed income and helped to run a very large portfolio for them. He missed the thrill and energy of being a part of an entrepreneurial company in the early days of its growth trajectory. Rick rejected several offers from Boston and Wall Street when he chose to go bold, switch things up, and join RFG.

“If anyone ever offers you a seat on the rocket ship, you don’t argue about whether or not it’s an aisle or a window, you just take the seat,” Rick says.

The world is changing fast, exploding with ideas. There’s no end to the possibilities. As an innovator in the wealth management industry, RFG Advisory’s fully integrated tech platform is designed to help advisors take their practice to the next level. It was an intentional decision to create the era of the future by building a platform dedicated to supporting independence, independent advisors, and their clients.

Rick’s superpower is that he’s a fantastic communicator on complex topics. He speaks in an engaging and understandable way that makes people feel welcome and heard. Rick is the face and voice behind RFG’s Market Commentary video series with over 60 videos and 13,000+ views on YouTube.

Rick hosts client events and in-person roadshows on average 15 days a month. Needless to say, he’s racking up the Delta miles. He’s wired as a thought-leadership machine, ready to go in a moment’s notice armed with an artillery of knowledge. There are few industry CIOs to come close to Rick’s herculean efforts.

We started the Disruption Blueprint podcast, so advisors can get a dose of inspiration, motivation, and actionable information. Huddle up. Join RFG.

Listen to this episode with Rick Wedell Chief Investment Officer at RFG Advisory to understand more about building the future, navigating the succession planning process, why he prefers video content above all else, and the big answer to why choose RFG? As an independent advisor, it’s important to regularly reflect and determine if what you’re doing is helping or hindering your business. Below are three epic tips from Rick that you’ll want to remember!

  1. Find something bigger than As Rick explains in this episode, one of the things that he loves about RFG is that it’s a group of really smart, really talented individuals building something bigger than themselves.
  2. Be diligent about building up enterprise value. Succession planning isn’t a miraculous process that arrives wrapped with a bow on your “You either build an enterprise so that you can subsequently sell it, or you run your practice until your boots fall off,” says Rick. If you can’t walk away from your business with minimal impact to the business, it severely limits the valuation that you will receive in a succession planning process.
  3. Add that personal touch. Integrating some type of personal interaction is very important to enhance your client’s entire experience. It builds trust and answers their After all, “this is their money,” as Rick says. “They’re interested in knowing who it is that manages those portfolios for them.” Connect with your clients. Let them know you care. They know you are proactive about managing their money—one of the most important things to them.

Referenced Materials

Tags

  1. Succession Planning
  2. Technology
  • Next Gen
  1. Practice Management
  2. Growth Strategies
  3. Social media/marketing
  • Work Life Balance

 

Ep. 8 The Impact of “The Golden Rule” ft. Mark Green

“I was scared to make the move just like anybody else was,” Mark says. “I was worried about my clients making the transition.” But ultimately it boiled down to one big reason. “RFG just fit in.”

Podcast Introduction

This Disruption Blueprint episode with guest Mark Green, CEO, Founder, and President at GFG Wealth Advisors, will leave you fired up and ready to take on the world. Based in College Station, Texas, Mark very intentionally made the decision to become independent.

After feeling restless with the decisions the CEOs were making, Mark chose to go independent with RFG Advisory instead because he wanted to “be my own person, be my own advisor.” He wanted to make his own decisions and have a partner rather than a boss. He wanted to be the CEO of his own practice, not the COO, with his wife Sherry right by his side.

Listen to this fearless episode with Mark Green, CEO, Founder, and President at GFG Wealth Advisors.

Join the conversation to hear about:

  • Mark’s origin story (3:04)
  • Why Mark was seeking independence (4:51)
  • Keeping relationships and family top of mind (6:54)
  • Building multigenerational relationships with clients (8:37)
  • Leveraging your resources (13:37)
  • Creating longevity and legacy that lasts (18:00)
  • Let’s go Aggies! Being a spotter for the stadium announcer (21:28)
  • The power of faith (27:39)
  • Discipline, gratitude, and intentionality (30:20)
  • What it’s like for Mark and Sherry to work together (32:33)
  • Empowering women to live financially fearless with StrongHer Money (35:16)

Podcast Overview

Mark started his career in an operation center with a major firm. He did that for four or five years, but when they shut down the service center in Dallas, Mark and his wife Sherry had to make a decision.

Mark and Sherry met at Merritt Merrill Lynch in 1985. Prior to working with Mark, Sherry had a tremendously successful career in television advertising sales and did amazingly well there. She joined Mark and together they’ve built a welcoming business. However, it wasn’t a quick, simple choice, it required discipline, gratitude, and intentionality.

“I was scared to make the move just like anybody else was,” Mark says. He had a decent sized book. “I was worried about my clients making the transition.” He was worried about having to move one more time and having to tell the story of why here, why now. But ultimately it boiled down to one big reason. “RFG just fit in.”

When you’re not independent, advisors tend to run into situations where they reach a tension point. They want to serve their clients in the way that they deserve to be served, whether that’s through their marketing and social media presence, whether it’s through the amount of planning they can do, whether it’s the ability to manage the grandchildren’s account and not being subject to artificial limitations.

Mark reached that boiling point as well, where the teasion pressure allowed him to shift completely. He wanted to bring his penchant for relationship building into the mix. “My focus is just taking care of my clients and meeting new people and treating them the way that I would want to be treated in the way that I want my mom and dad to be treated.”

“I love the relationships. I love being around people. I love helping,” Mark says. “And in this business, it’s a constant help, because there are people out there that really need us.”

Advisors get really busy in the day-to-day. The statistics are pretty shocking: about 41% of an advisor’s time is spent on non-revenue generating activities. Any minute not spent deepening one to one relationships or prospecting clients is a non-revenue generating activity and non revenue generating minute. That was a big turning point for Mark.

“The entire time, from 1994 until coming to RFG, I pretty much did stuff myself,” says Mark. “I really did portfolio management, new account forms, transferring money between accounts, sending checks out, R&D, you name it, I did it.”

It’s time to rethink, see things differently, step out of the box, and consider a wider range of possibilities. There are some days when you need to get in a huddle and talk through it. And that’s why we started the Disruption Blueprint, so advisors like you can get a dose of inspiration, motivation, and actionable information. Join the huddle, join RFG.

A wealth of Tips

Press play to listen to this episode with Mark Green, CEO, Founder, and President at GFG Wealth Advisors, to understand more about why he was seeking independence, the importance of building multigenerational relationships with clients, the power of faith, and so much more. We’ve shared three wise tips from Mark below that can inspire you to keep moving forward in your business, no matter how big or small of a step.

  1. Relationships mean everything. Mark builds genuine, lasting relationships with his clients and their families. He deeply believes in building multigenerational relationships with clients that last for years and years to come. It’s more than a business transaction, it’s a relationship. He gets to know them, their families, their names, their goals.
  2. Leverage your resources. You don’t always have to do things alone, even if that’s how you’ve always done it. Something’s gotta give, right? “When you leverage your resources, you become much more effective because you can do more,” says Mark. Consider the opportunities and resources around you. “I’ve leveraged all the resources RFG has.”
  3. Love God, love each other. “If I’m not going to do for a client what I would do for myself, then I don’t need to be in this business,” says Mark. Faith is a huge part of Mark’s life and it plays a big part in his decisions and client relationships. “I take my practice so far beyond managing their money.”

Referenced materials

Securities offered by Registered Representatives of Private Client Services (“PCS”). Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered by Investment Advisory Representatives of RFG Advisory, a registered investment advisor. Private Client Services and RFG Advisory are unaffiliated entities.