Episode 46 - Announcing the Zebra Smash Conference Adventure Game on Your Amazon Alexa Device!

Tired of using your Alexa device just to check the weather and store your grocery list?  We have a solution: the brand new Zebra Smash Alexa Skill.

Our Alexa skill isn't another lame podcast app.  Nope.  Instead we built a turn by turn adventure game.  Collect items and encounter mythical creatures as you attempt to "win" a financial planning conference.

How do you enable the skill and then play the game?  Two steps:

Step 1: Say "Alexa, enable Zebra Smash"

Step 2: Say "Alexa, open Zebra Smash"

Ben learned the hard way that saying "Alexa, play Zebra Smash" gets you to a place you don't want to be, so be careful to follow the steps above to the letter.

Best of luck, and let us know what you think.


Wired - Inside the Alexa Prize

Develop an Alexa skill in 5 minutes or less

Episode 45 - Philanthropy Planning with Patrick Briaud from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors - [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

We visited with Patrick Briaud from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.  His firm works with mega donors from corporate entities, foundations, and ultra high net worth families, but it was clear from the conversation that the tools and frameworks they use can apply to clients of all sizes.  Have a listen as we go through the steps to build a solid philanthropy plan that reflects the clients true goals and values.

In this episode, we went through Rockefeller's excellent workbook: Your Philanthropy Roadmap.


Episode 42 - Financial Planning Unplugged (from Investments) with Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, (for NAPFA members listening, you know her as Holly Thomas), built her business as a plug and play operation.  Clients would go to her for financial planning, but with her help they could plug into whichever 3rd party investment manager they saw fit.  Why did she go that route, and how did it work out?  And what sorts of clients were drawn to her approach?

Episode 41 - Financial Planning and Senior Living, with Brad Breeding - [CFP CE Credit Eligible]

Fresh off of his presentation at the NAPFA 2017 Fall National Conference, Brad Breeding, CFP(R) of myLifeSite.net joins Ben and Roger to talk about aspects that planners need to consider when discussing aging plans/living arrangements with clients. 

Brad has a unique perspective in this area, having worked as an advisor for 14 years before launching myLifeSite.net. In that time, he fielded so many questions about Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) that that identified a need for resources and databases related to general questions about CCRCs, various contract types, the application process, and how to research specific communities. 

In this episode, Brad touches on:

  • The age/life phase when most folks need to seriously consider long-term aging plans
  • Pros and cons of "Aging in Place"
  • Considerations of defaulting to a family caregiver, and the limitations of direct home care providers
  • Defining elements of most Continuing Care Retirement Communities
  • Differences between the three primary CCRC contract types
  • Aspects to consider regarding refundable entry fees

While discussing home care providers, we stumbled on the right name for case managers who can help coordinate health and other care-related activities for older folks. The term we were looking for was "geriatric care managers." Brad wrote a great post about geriatric care managers at myLifeSite.net You can also find more information at the webpage of the Aging Life Care Association (formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers). 

Episode 40 - Linda Leitz PhD

On a cold January 2nd, 2018, we spoke with Linda Leitz over Skype about why she went back to school to get her PhD, and how that experience has shaped her as a practitioner and as someone who serves in leadership roles within the profession.  Linda has done great work for financial planners for years, so its no surprise that one of her motivations behind going back to school was to look for new ways to help the profession grow and improve.


Linda's Dissertation - She said it couldn't be found!  Google said otherwise.

Heat Pumps in Cold Weather - A lot of articles say they work fine, but we know better.

Episode 38 - Extreme Remote Working

One 2017 business story you might have caught was IBM's decision to eliminate all remote work.  They announced it during the spring, but basically if you want to work at IBM, you have to work in the office.  No more working from home.

No financial advisory firm has reached IBM's size and complexity just yet, but we grapple with the pros and cons of remote work just like they do.

In this episode, we chat with Bethany Griffith of the Abacus Planning Group, who continues to work for her South Carolina firm while living in Germany.


Bethany mentions two helpful systems that keep her connected to her firm, which we've linked to below:

  • Allworx phone systems
  • Yammer, an internal chat/social media solution

Episode 37 - Learning Never Stops: Studying After the CFP® Exam

Anyone who has taken the CFP® exam knows that it's a long, steady process, followed by what feels like incredible excesses in free time. But hardcore ZebraSmash listeners want to know how to fill that void with new reading materials, 'cause they're crazy like that. 

In this episode, Roger and Ben talk about the 5 books they recommend for folks who have just put away that insurance textbook and have Amazon gift card burning wholes in their pockets. Roger's list leans more on the managerial/enterpeneur side, while Ben's list touches on history, marketing,  psychology and communication. All in all, it's an impressive list. 


Roger's Books

Ben's Books