Every year, we as a country trot out an elderly statesman to give a grandiose State of the Union address at the pace of a DMV queue about the state of the country. The speech runs a sentence at a time, punctuated by intermittent cheering or boos by the respective political parties. The news covers the speech in detail, the out-of-power party gives a pre-written rebuttal speech after the address, and 99% of us forget to watch or listen to it. In fact, we might not even be aware it happened, but for our politically active friends and relatives posting about it on social media for the next day or two.
This hopefully will not be a State of the Union address that leads to cheering or boos, but will preferably be one that instead leaves you a bit more informed about MY Wealth Planners®, our services and structure, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. Of course, we wouldn’t mind cheering, but has anyone ever been that excited about financial planning other than financial planners? So with that, and keeping in mind that brevity is the soul of wit, let’s get into it.
Where We Have Been
The practice turns 8 years old this summer (July 16th). I’d like to say that the practice has gone through two major phases: Pre-independence and post-independence. Pre-independence was the time spent with Waddell & Reed, and those of you who worked with me from 2015-2019 will recognize that name and context. That was the time in which not only did the foundations of the practice get established, but I also cut my teeth as a financial planner, learning from some of the best and the brightest. The second phase began at the end of 2019 when I took the practice fully independent and launched what we know today as MY Wealth Planners®.
The second phase has been a wild ride, full of its own learning and experiences, though vastly different than those of the first phase. As I took the practice independent, I commented to Kaitlyn that the worst possible thing that could happen would be a market crash or recession right after I went independent. “People might think it was really Waddell & Reed keeping things going and that without them I’m lost!” Two months later COVID struck and the market dropped 30%; perfect timing. Yet, we finished out 2020 with a market bang and boom, and carried onward into 2021 and beyond. 2021 also marked the start of the first full-time employee of MY Wealth Planners®, Samantha, as my associate planner. Along with growing the team by 100%, I also took on the task of a doctorate in financial planning at Kansas State University, where I’ve researched compensation for the past three years, and the part-time task of teaching Investment Planning and Retirement Planning for the University of Colorado. Suffice it to say, life and business look very different than they did at the start of the practice.
Where We Are Going
Today, MY Wealth Planners® serves 150 households and small businesses. Our clients entrust us with 329% more money than they did when we went independent four years ago, and we’ve pivoted from the a la carte offerings of financial planning and/or investment management to a blended model of both. We still occupy a small office in downtown Longmont today, but I’m excited to say that we’ll be moving upward to a bigger and literally brighter office this summer.
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On the personal front, I’m excited to achieve two major life goals this year, both the marriage of my fiancé Kaitlyn in September and the intended completion of my doctorate this fall. One is obviously more important than the other, but they’re both meaningful to accomplish as personal milestones, and neither could have been possible without the support of you as our friends and clients.
For those of you who were clients before COVID, you know that we traditionally celebrate the anniversary of the practice as a community of financial planners, clients, and friends in an annual appreciation event. I’m delighted to say that, after a four-year hiatus due to the plague, we will be returning to that proud tradition this year on July 14th, with the complete takeover of the rooftop patio of Flavor of India, dinner and open bar included. With that in mind, we will be sending out invitations and RSVP requests shortly, so keep an eye out! The event will also mark the beginning of the transition of MY Wealth Planners® from its second phase to its third phase.
The transition contains several important events that we want you to be aware of well in advance:
- We will begin our move to our new office location in July this year and expect to start having clients in the new space by the middle of August. With this in mind, we will not be taking in-person appointments at the old or new office beginning July 1st, until the move is complete. We will still be available for meetings via zoom, calls, and by email. We just don’t want to try to host a meeting in a construction zone!
- It is with both excitement and sadness that we must announce that Samantha will be moving with her partner, Miles, to Austin, TX! This means that Samantha will be parting ways from MY Wealth Planners® at the end of July, though we wish her the best and will miss her dearly. In turn, we will begin the search for a planning assistant in late June, with the expectation that they will start at the beginning of August. We’ll ask for your encouragement and support as our new team member gets their feet under them, and in the meantime, if you know someone who would love to get into the financial planning world, let us know!
- The Wedding! My wedding to Kaitlyn is on September 23rd. We will be getting married in Ben Lomond, CA, at the Waterfall Resort & Lodge. As part of preparing for the event and celebrating our honeymoon in New Zealand and Bora Bora, we will be waitlisting potential clients starting at the end of August, and will resume taking referrals and appointments for new clients in mid-October. With the wedding and honeymoon, we will not be taking any meetings between September 18th & October 13th. Our new assistant will be available for report or document requests and to schedule appointments before or after the “wedding leave”, and we will still be monitoring investment portfolios and be available to take requests to contribute or distribute funds as needed. However, we do ask for your patience and understanding in scheduling late Q3 or early Q4 meetings during this timeframe, that there are no “emergency meetings” or “quick calls” to be had during our wedding or honeymoon. If you have concerns about that, please let us know as soon as possible so we can ensure that your concerns are addressed.
Given the late Q3 disruption and the timeline it often requires for us to onboard new clients while still serving existing clients, we will be extremely selective in the acceptance of new clients through the end of this year, in order to ensure that we have the capacity to continue providing the high-quality service that you have come to expect from us. With this in mind, let’s talk about the third phase of MY Wealth Planners®.
The Third Phase
If the first phase of MY Wealth Planners® was Dan’s personal development, and the second phase was taking the practice independent, the third phase is best described as the confirmation of MY Wealth Planner’s value proposition for its clients, and the systemization and consistent delivery of that value proposition. When a firm starts, in the earliest days you take on every client and deliver a custom-tailored experience for everyone. While this might be an exciting and unique way to approach serving clients, you might question the value of this inventive approach were it your surgeon talking about taking an “exciting and unique approach” to your open heart surgery. With that in mind, our focus over the next few years will be on:
- Creating uniform client communication channels and setting expectations for timely response and service delivery.
- Enhancing our monthly investment reporting and quarterly financial planning process.
- Bringing on additional subject matter experts to increase the quality of specific service areas.
- Setting uniform client expectations and over-delivering on those expectations.
- Creating more client experiences outside of financial planning meetings and updates.
We want to get to a place where everyone has a consistent “wow” experience in working with us, as we ultimately aim to help our clients and community live their best financial lives. As you read this and consider your own response to it, we’d be delighted to hear your thoughts and feedback on the ideas we’re sharing here, and we’ll be looking for client input as we begin to develop and launch into the next phase of MY Wealth Planners®.
So There’s the State of the Union
Thank you for taking the time to read this “State of the Union” address. As always, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude for your trust and confidence. The journey thus far couldn’t be completed without you, and we look forward to working with you for many years to come.